Dustin Lynch is a forced to be reckoned with. The Tennessee native spent years living in a small apartment behind the Bluebird Cafe, listening intently to songwriters, developing a sense for the craft on his own. He wanted to understand the stories and what made them appeal to an audience at large. There’s no doubt this helped his songwriting in amazing ways. He quickly signed a publishing deal and began cranking out songs, before eventually finding his home at Broken Bow Records and writing his hit single “Cowboys and Angels.” The romantic song launched him onto the music scene, putting him in front of audiences across the country, where he’d lament about the sweet story of his grandparents that inspired the hit single. What impresses me most about Dustin Lynch is his constant growth. We saw him just over a year ago at the Party for a Cause Festival during ACM Award weekend. He was charming and had a beautiful voice, not to mention he told great stories on stage, but there was something lacking. He was teetering on the edge of a Luke Bryan-style performance but not quite giving in to it. Overall, he didn’t leave that much of an impression on me as I walked away.
All of that changed at Stagecoach. It’s as if Dustin truly spent this past year studying the acts he was opening for, taking notes, putting those notes into action. He exploded onto the stage with an intense energy, all smiles as he moved from one side to the other, taking command of what would be his for that hour long set. Gone was the uncertainty, replaced instead by a man who has become comfortable with the spotlight and his place on the stage. He had everyone going during his hit single “She Cranks My Tractor,” even with the sun still up and shining bright, everyone in our section was partying like he was the headliner with their eyes glued to the stage as he did a little dance for all the ladies in the audience. And I can guarantee that they appreciated it. His knack for storytelling hasn’t been sacrificed, he still told everyone the sweet story of his grandparents before “Cowboys and Angels” and gave an antidote about an ex-girlfriend that his mother still hates to this day before “Sitting Pretty.” His cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” was enthralling and on point, a sweet surprise in the midst of a weekend full of country music.
The thing about Dustin Lynch is that he’s allowed the songwriter in him to find a place as a performer. They’re not always one in the same, some performers are forever one and not the other, at least not successfully. But Dustin has it down, he has an understanding of the two facets of himself and seamlessly weaves them together. To say that I walked away from Stagecoach a fan of Dustin Lynch would be an understatement. My eyes and ears can’t wait to see what’s next for this rising star.
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