Naming your newest album “Current Mood” invites plentiful wordplay, but that’s just fine with Dustin Lynch. A featured Sunday performer at Red, White & Boom, the singer is more than ready to explain just how jubilant he is as the record awaits its release next week.
So with that out of the way, let’s have at it. What’s the current mood about “Current Mood?”
“The current mood is excited,” he said.
The Tennessee-born singer has reason for jubilance. The album has scored two major hits without even hitting stores, including the current “Small Town Boy.” The single currently sits at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country charts, topped only by “Body Like a Back Road” by Saturday’s Red, White and Boom headliner Sam Hunt.
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Then again, reaching the top of the charts has become second nature for Lynch. He made a major introduction to audiences and, especially, country radio, in 2012 with the platinum-selling “Cowboys and Angels.” But having such huge success with a debut record presents an inevitable question: how to you follow that up? Lynch answered with three radio hits off his sophomore album, “Where It’s At.” So: Did proving to the country music world that he was no one-hit-wonder lighten his mood when its came time to record “Current Mood?”
“Well, I wasn’t scared to death this time. Making the second album, I was pretty nervous because there was the whole ‘Can I do this again?’ thing. Now, with the second album welcomed by everyone and having such great support at country radio, ‘Current Mood’ became a much easier album to make. There wasn’t this fear of, ‘Am I doing this right?’ I felt a lot better as a singer. I felt I’m a much better songwriter, just because I’ve played so many shows on such great tours. I think I’ve really figured out what I want to say, who I’m talking to and what kind of songs I need in order to make our shows go the way I like them to.”
Raised on the popular country hits of Garth Brooks, George Strait and Kenny Chesney (“Those guys were like superheroes to me”) Lynch moved to Nashville to establish a career while in his teens. It wasn’t a large leap geographically, having grown up in nearby Tullahoma. But personally and professionally, it was massive.
“I might as well have been from Australia,” Lynch said. “I grew up an hour and a half away. But Nashville wasn’t where we lived. It just wasn’t. I went there straight out of high school without knowing a person in town. It was a giant jump and a scary jump.
“It took me years to figure out all the inner workings of the industry. I didn’t have a family member there, so I was the one knocking on the doors. It was a long process figuring out what I needed to do and where I needed to be. But every day was another day at my craft. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade that for the world.”
Now an established country star at age 32, Lynch sought almost every Nashville inspiration he could find for “Current Mood.” The record enlisted five producers and was recorded at eight studios.
“It was got to be like, ‘How do we glue all this together?’ Each song had a completely different sound because every song was recorded in a different way, so it was a challenge to make it sonically cohesive. For whatever reason, it worked. It’s the subject matter, I guess. All 13 songs are songs that I’ve lived. If I didn’t write the songs, I’m definitely the guy who has lived them. I think that’s what really brings it all together.”
Indicative of that subject matter is “Love Me or Leave Me Alone,” a ballad that teamed Lynch with singer Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town.
“That happened from being in the right place and the right time. Mary was so sweet to step up. I mean, I never would have thought to ask her. But she added her touch and really took the song to the next level. Her vocal has so many different layers to it. It has such great texture.
“Having the confidence of our first two singles already going gold before the album coming out was a great boost. But to get the rest of the album out for everybody to hear and really see what songs everybody gravitates toward is going to be exciting. What happens from that pretty much determines the next few years of our lives.”