Taking a cue from his most recent release, Dustin Lynch’s current mood could be described as equal parts grateful and eager to take on the opportunities ahead of him, perhaps mixed with a dash of awe at the speed in which his career has skyrocketed following the success of his recent hit “Small Town Boy.”
“Small Town Boy” is the latest in a string of five consecutive chart-topping singles for the Broken Bow artist, following hits including “Where It’s At (Yep, Yep)” and “Seein’ Red.” “Small Town Boy” is also his biggest chart-topper yet, crowning the Billboard Country Airplay chart for four weeks last year, becoming the longest-running No. 1 track of 2017.
“In this day and age that is rare, so I think it just speaks to the power of a song, and how many people were hearing it and wanted to keep hearing it,” Lynch tells MusicRow of the song’s chart-topping run. The singer-songwriter is settled into a small North Nashville studio where he had recently completed filming his portion of an upcoming Bluebird Café documentary.
“It’s an honor, especially when you look at the roster, and an honor to be talking about the place that was really my launching pad, where I figured out how to write and deliver a song.”
Though the Tullahoma, Tennessee native has long since progressed to being nominated for honors including ACMs, CMT Music Awards, and American Country Awards, the relatable “Small Town Boy” elevated his career status from consistent chart-topper to an artist capable of commanding the pinnacle of the music chart for multiple weeks.
“One of the biggest compliments I received was from one of the top guys at one of the big [radio] conglomerates. He said, ‘Congrats, we are going to be playing this song 10 years from now. There is no doubt about it.’ That’s great to know we made something that is going to be around, potentially. Hopefully at that point we will be headlining and adding on to that list of songs.”
Lynch says Peach Pickers writers Ben Hayslip and Rhett Akins penned “Small Town Boy” along with Kyle Fishman, reportedly after a night of partying during Luke Bryan’s annual Crash My Playa event.
Lynch first heard “Small Town Boy” while traveling to a farm he leases south of Nashville.
“I listened to a few songs people had emailed me, and when I got to ‘Small Town Boy’ I thought it sounded so cool,” Lynch recalls. “I got out to the farm and I couldn’t wait to get back into my truck and listen to it again.”
The realization that he found a song he loved also sent the singer-songwriter into a panic. “I got the email a week or two before I opened it, so I thought, ‘I bet someone has already heard this, put it on hold, or maybe even already recorded it.’ So I started dialing everyone involved and luckily it was still available.”
Lynch brought in Zach Crowell to produce the song. “The worktape that Kyle had allowed me to hear what Zach could do with it,” he says. “We just gave it a shot of adrenaline and a little bit more energy. I tried to keep the vocal laid back and cool, and hungover like Rhett was [laughs]. But the worktape really was the blueprint.”
If the down-to-earth “Small Town Boy” Lynch sings about seems bewildered that his girl could have any guy she wants—but chooses to be with him—that feeling turns to unabashed pride on the follow-up single “I’d Be Jealous Too,” which Lynch co-wrote with Ross Copperman and Jon Nite.
Lynch joined Copperman and Nite to pen the track after he finished a red eye flight back to Nashville following the video shoot for “Small Town Boy.”
“We shot the video in Malibu and I got on a red eye flight home,” Lynch recalls. “I land in Nashville and I’m dead tired, but I have two days scheduled to write. My gut is saying, ‘Go write, you don’t know what could happen.’ My brain is saying, ‘You’re freakin’ tired, call in sick. They know you were flying all night, just go write another day with them.’ I went with my gut.”
The trio discussed Lynch’s video shoot for “Small Town Boy,” which featured The Vampire Diaries actress Claire Holt.
“We were just gushing over how awesome the setting was, it was on this beach. It got us in this West Coast mood, and Jon threw out the title ‘I’d Be Jealous Too.’ Immediately, I connected with that. To me, there is no better compliment than another guy checking your girl out. When he said that title, we started talking about how good it feels to be confident knowing that you are with this person and it’s like, ‘Yeah, dude, she’s with me.’ And all of us guys and girls feel that when we are with someone else and we are confident with that person.”
Lynch and his writing cohorts are hoping the song continues the solid streak of successes that have come on the heels of a musical fireball like “Small Town Boy.” The song’s success expanded Lynch’s fanbase as he visited city after city on tour with Brad Paisley in mid-2017, leading up to the release of Current Mood, followed by a performance slot on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Lynch starts out 2018 with an iHeartRadio Music Award nomination with “Small Town Boy” in the final nominees for Country Song of the Year.
“It really caught fire going into the CMT Music Awards, which then spun into the CMA Music Fest performance. That was a big moment for me. I like to set goals and one of my goals was to perform at the big stage at CMA fest. So boom! Goal met.”
In March, Lynch will make his first trip to Australia, to perform at CMC Rocks QLD Festival, and for opening slots in Sydney and Melborne as part of Luke Bryan’s What Makes You Country Tour.
“It will be a great introduction to Australia, for me as a tourist and as an artist,” Lynch says. “It’s fun interviewing over there because it takes me back to 2011 and 2012 when I was doing my first interviews in the States. It’s a crowd that will be very receptive but I’ll also have to win them over with new music. Every person I’ve talked to says it is a great place.
“All these goals we set as a team, ‘Small Town Boy’ allowed us to meet them, and also brought us things we never even dreamed of. For the first time in my career, a song has been like rocket fuel.”
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