Dustin Lynch has a lot to be happy about lately. His latest single, “Small Town Boy,” just hit No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart — his fifth consecutive single to reach the top spot — and on Friday (Sept. 8), the country hitmaker released his third album, Current Mood. And as for his mood about the release, he’s never felt more self-assured.
“I just feel confident in myself in what I want to say, how I perform,” Lynch told Billboard backstage before his iHeartRadio Album Release in New York City, just hours before the album dropped. “I really just worked as hard as I can to get better at everything — writing, recording and producing, the whole deal. On top of this, I’m just in love with every song on this album.”
With a title like Current Mood, we couldn’t help trying a little wordplay with Lynch to discuss his latest album. So we gave the 32-year-old singer a list of moods, triggering funny stories from the making of the album or specific songs on it — and of course, he had some fun with it. Check out what moods Lynch is feeling — including his current mood — below.
Every day when I get to wake up and do this. I still can’t believe this is real life. You know, I’m in New York City getting to debut my third album to the world, and that is a blessing, if there ever was one. I’m a blessed man, you know. And my guys, my crew of guys, we’re all living and doing what we dream of.
MOOD: LOVED OR FLIRTY?
I think if I had to hang the word “loved” or “flirty” on the album, it’d go with this album as more flirty. A lot more flirty. A lot more casual. It’s flirty because I haven’t been in love for a long time. All these songs I’ve been through, I’ve lived — I’ve been scared to death to cross that line in a relationship. I don’t know why. I guess the time is not right. So flirty, up to a point, and then I get scared to death.
I’m surprised that Karen Fairchild thinks highly enough of me to sing on one of my songs. In the duet with Karen, we played “Love Me or Leave Me Alone” — just guitar and vocal — and she and everyone else really started waving the flag on that song, reminding me, “Hey, that’s a good song.” And it occurred to me to make sure I recorded it. For her to sing on the album, and take the song to another level… I was surprised that she held her word and came and sang.
I’m anxious because… you know, I’m not afraid of failure. That’s not what me being anxious is about, which has probably been the fear I had in the past. Because I know this album is exactly what I wanted to do, so to me it’s never going to be a failure and I’m proud of that. I’m anxious because I’m anxious to see what songs people talk about, to their friends. You know, we have tons of cool ways to listen to music now, so we can track all that stuff pretty quickly. That’s what I’m anxious about.
I’ve got a couple [of songs I’m proud of], but probably the top of those is “New Girl.” I had that idea for a long time, and I had the guys I wanted to write that with in mind, and we got together. What started it was all the stories I get to hear people tell me backstage, and at meet-and-greets, about a song helping them through a hard time or being a part of this event in their life. That’s inspiring stuff… those are songs that are fun for me to write.
“New Girl” was an idea that I just kept banging [songwriters] Zack [Crowell] and Ashley [Gorley] over the head about, saying “I know this is right.” It took us six whole days [over the course of] five months or six months or something like that — we kept coming back together to write. It’s definitely a song I’m proud of because it’s a reminder every time I sing it that the people in my life are the best for me.
Last week, there was a meet-and-greet at the show and there was this cougar in line. She got a big ol’ handful right in front of my mom! [Laughs.] Were you looking for something more molest-y?
You know what, I’m determined to continue to write, and perform, and make music at this level and above. My goal is to headline a whole tour and play arenas and amphitheaters and stadiums, just like the two tours that I’ve been on in the past few years. That’s a big goal. I’m determined to take my music places where country music’s never been in the world. With technology going the way it is, that’s becoming something that we can actually pull off.
“Why Not Tonight” is a good [drunk] song. “Why Not Tonight” on the album is a song that I live, and all my band and crew guys live too. A lot of our friends in Nashville, too. Really the whole music community. Our weekends are Mondays, so we’re the weirdos out at a bar going out to drink on Mondays. “Why Not Tonight” is like Sunday Funday on steroids — our drunk frat star anthem.
I think putting together the last track on the album, which was the last track I wrote, “Sun Don’t Go Down On That.” It just amazes me how magical songwriting is, because we went in on this particular day and had no ideas. We had nothing really going, we tried to write three or four different things. Because we were frustrated, Ross [Copperman], my producer, was like, “Dude, if you could buy a house somewhere, where would it be?” and I was like “Encinitas” [in California], and he was like “Man, I was just looking at that with my wife last night!” What are the odds of that?
I started describing the last time I had been through there and what I loved about it, and he’s like “Man, I’ve got this track that’s kind of oceany.” He played it, [along with] the first line, “Sun down in Encinitas, barefoot holding up white Adidas.” When that line came out and it was like, “Huh, here we go!”
I just love that song because it’s me writing about the way somebody made me feel that was a decade or more ago. That song to me… it’s exciting, but it’s kind of depressing, because I haven’t felt that way in a long time. But at the same time, it’s exciting because it’s like “Man, there’s someone else out there — hopefully born, because it’d be weird if they weren’t at my age [Laughs] — that is going to make me feel that way again. I can still flash back to how this particular person made me feel, and that’s the way I can’t wait to feel again. So that’s the last time I’ve been amused. I was amazed that we came up with that song out of the randomness of talking about Encinitas, California.
CURRENT MOOD: PUMPED
I am so pumped. I really am. I’m really looking forward to [these next] few weeks because I’m going to start seeing what new songs are the most that people are liking and that’s going to lead to my headlining tour this fall. That really will determine the setlist and will determine the production of the tour and all that good stuff. We’re going to have a bet, among me and my close friends, a little wager going to see which songs are gonna rise to the top.
I have a song that I have a feeling will turn some heads, “Back On It.” It’s so different for me. I hadn’t gotten close to doing that yet [until that song]. I’m excited to see all the hate that’s gonna come from some fans [laughs], but this one is also going to get love from fans. I just know.