In Independent Lens: Introducing Dustin Lynch, we sat down with "Cowboys and Angels" singer Dustin Lynch in Nashville to discuss his career, where he came from, his influences, his upcoming album and much more.
Dustin Lynch's debut single "Cowboys And Angels" (Listen Here) is nearing the Top 40 at Billboard with only a couple of short weeks on the radio (as of this article's writing). Read on as we sat down to talk with Dustin at the Broken Bow Records offices in Nashville. We discussed things like where he's from, who his influences are, his upcoming album and more.
Matt Bjorke: Where are you from?
Dustin Lynch: Tullahoma, Tennessee. It’s about an hour and a half south of Nashville. Of course we’re known for whiskey and baseball bats there.
Matt: What artists influenced you as you were growing up?
Dustin: Garth Brooks is my hero. Alan Jackson. I like to say the class of 1989. Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, and Tracy Lawrence. Those guys were the crew that I grew up listening to. So many timeless songs from those guys that are still around and I was asked to do a playlist for Spotify recently; it was cool to see my list holding all stuff that came from the early to mid 1990s.
Matt: I know some fans who will love to hear that and that’s certainly the same group of artists that I grew up liking, particularly Garth and Collin Raye.
Matt: When did you know that you would like to be a singer?
Dustin: I was surrounded by music growing up, my mom and sister took music lessons and I would hang around the music store as a little kid and then I was part of church choirs and middle school choirs. You know, growing up so close to Nashville, doing music wasn’t such a far-fetched thing for me. It wasn’t like I was coming from some far-away place. It always represented an excited experience for me, because it representing country music.
You know, what’s really cool about this business is you’re always looking for a “thumbs up” from somebody. Alan Jackson still lookin’ for a “thumbs up” from radio and that’s fun to me. It keeps you working and excited and coming up through town, I was always looking for where the next “thumbs up” was going to come from.
Like I said earlier, I’ve always wanted to be like Garth Brooks, ever since I heard his stuff. There are pictures of me in red sweat suits with a black cowboy hat at a young age singing “Rodeo” when I was tiny. So I’ve always wanted to be like Garth! (laughs)
Matt: What made signing with Broken Bow Records the right decision for you as an artist?
Dustin: Well, they’re obviously very successful and had a huge 2011 but what really stands out the most is they treat you like family and you don’t get that everywhere else. I know that because I have friends in a similar situation and they don’t feel what I feel about Broken Bow and that goes a long way. You can feel the passion they have for me and my music and they’re giving me the opportunity to chase that dream.
Matt: You recently did some stuff with Yahoo!’s Ram Country series. How much fun was it for you to be a part of that series?
Dustin: It was crazy because it was my first time in California and it was for only about 4 hours. So literally we land, smell the air, and pull up to Yahoo! Studios and it went quickly. It’s really cool that you asked that question because a few of days ago, the editors, they featured me on their home page. So for a small town boy from Tennessee to see my face on their home page was just crazy!
Matt: You sang a cover of Bruno Mars “Just The Way You Are” there. Is that a song that’s gonna be on the upcoming album?
Dustin: You know, we’re talking about it. No decision’s been made yet. It’s funny how this song came to be because we were at KUPL in Portland, Oregon and they’re like “we’re gonna ask you to do a song that would shock people if you did it” and we cut into the song, without much preparation, and half way through it, I messed up the lyrics, because I didn’t know it yet. So it’s amazing to me to see that video take off at YouTube. So Jon Loba (of Broken Bow) suggested that we do the song for Ram Country!
How would you describe the sound on your upcoming record?
Dustin: I’m working with Brett Beavers. What I love about Brett is that I remember where I was when I heard (the song he produced) “What Was I Thinkin’” from Dierks Bentley. And I can literally remember I was in a truck…
Matt: I remember where I was too, I was working and heard it on KMPS…
Dustin: Yes, I was on the road in my hometown. From that moment, I followed Brett and his work and he was my dream guy to work with. It was a simple phone call and breakfast and we hit it off and started writing songs. It’s cool that you asked about the sound because we’ve been working on developing over the past few years and the album will have some edge to it but as a fan of the 1990s country, it’s going to have some sounds like that on it too.
I want my album to take the listener on a trip, a ride of sorts. I want it to take them somewhere. I want them to be able to dance to them, there’s gonna be songs for them to fall in love to, there’s gonna be songs for them to attach a memory to. You know, as a songwriter if I don’t write songs that do that, I’m not really doing my job.
Getting back to folks like Garth and Alan and they have songs that will be around forever. I hope to have a few songs that people consider great, songs that will be around for ever. They have songs that still get played on the radio that are 20 years old…
Matt: “Chattahoochee” comes to mind…
Dustin: yeah, it’s a great song. So my hope is to have a few great songs. You can’t have a ton of great songs but you can have a few.
Matt: I also think of Remember When.” Two bars in you know what you’re listening to…
Dustin: Yeah, it’s a masterpiece.
If you had to describe country music in one word, what would it be? Feel free to explain.
Dustin: Real. You know, I’m first and foremost a country fan and the reason I like it is that it talks about my life, I can connect with the songs and the lyrics tell stories that take pieces of real life. It’s real life put to simple lyrics and melody.
What would you like to say to fans that are just getting to know you as an artist?
Dustin: The best landing page is www.dustinlynchmusic.com. It has all of the links to Facebook, Twitter and stuff. And there’s a blog there chronicling my radio tour. I’d also say they could contact me on Facebook and twitter. I try to respond to as many people as possible and still am able to do a pretty good job of it still. They’re my friends more than anything. Meeting new faces and going new places is what I love about this job and I’m not going to ignore it.
Matt: Sounds like an album or a song title…
Dustin: New faces and new places? I like it!
Independent Lens is a new bi-weekly feature at Roughstock.com that focuses on independent artists and/or artists recording for independent record labels in the country music industry.