Dustin Lynch works hard to keep his private life private. But his new album, he says, is a “peek behind the curtain” – and he signals it with a welcome-to-my-reality title, Current Mood. works hard to keep his private life private.
Of the 13 tracks on the album, which debuts Friday, “there are a lot of songs that are spot-on something I’ve been a part of or a relationship I’ve been in or gone through,” says the 32-year-old Tennessean.
But don’t get your hopes up for many specifics. “I’m not naming names,” Lynch says. “But I think that’s exciting for me and fun for people, because I know I’m going to have some speculators out there.”
Fans have already heard Lynch’s steamy No. 1 “Seein’ Red” and seen the sexy video to “Small Town Boy,” which also just hit No. 1. Both music and video reflect a common thread on the new album: The rising star with the boy-next-door good looks definitely has a steamy side. Two other cuts, “Why We Call Each Other” (think hookup) and “Back On It,” are especially seductive, or as Lynch describes them, “intimate.”
That quality, Lynch says, has always been a part of who he is. So why is he just expressing it now? Working on a third album as an established artist, he explains, has finally given him the opportunity for “a little more creative freedom and just being real and honest.”
And if he’s being honest, Lynch says, he’s usually been the heartbreaker in his relationships.
“I’m so absolutely consumed by music,” he confesses. “Even in serious relationships in the past, there’s just that focus and something I can’t help but think about, and the wheels are spinning … The career kind of becomes the mistress that gets in the way.”
Not that the singer has any regrets. “I would hate to look back 20 years from now and be lonely because of it,” he says, “but right now, I’m where I want to be.”
Of course, Lynch is quick to point out the new album isn’t “all hooking up and heartbreaks.”
Another track that’s sure to draw attention – if not radio play – is “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone,” a gut-wrenching torcher that features Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild. She made the offer to be his duet partner while Lynch and LBT were on tour with Luke Bryan. All the artists gathered regularly to share new music with one another, and when Fairchild heard the song, she threatened Lynch with the loss of his manhood if she couldn’t record it with him – though Lynch leaves no doubt that Fairchild was more pointedly graphic.
“I would never think to ask Karen to be a part of my album,” Lynch says. “I don’t deserve Karen Fairchild on my album because I hold her so high. They’re superstars. On top of being superstar artists, they’re superstar people. So whenever she said this, I was like, oh my goodness, is she serious? And she was. … She takes the song to a total new level. The way our voices work together is just amazing.”
Lynch has wrapped up a summer that’s featured county fair appearances, where he’s discovered “Small Town Boy” is turning into a phenomenon. “We’re having record-setting crowds,” he says. “It’s crazy. … The timing couldn’t be better. The buzz and the electricity and the energy is just like it’s never been before.”
After touring with such powerhouse performers as Paisley, Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, Lynch knows he’s been tutored in stagecraft by the masters.
His most important lesson: “Confidence … Just be who you are. Be real. Don’t worry too much. Don’t calculate too much.”
And yes, he says, he enjoys being steamy on stage. “It’s so much fun to be on stage singing, especially as a single guy,” he says. “It’s not like I’m having to act. I’m living it. But it’s fun to watch people react to those types of songs and lyrics.”
“Women, yes,” he admits with his dimpled grin. “But … when I get the women reacting to me, all the guys in the crowd can take advantage of that, and that’s what’s great. Once you get a girl moving and swaying and you’re a single guy in the crowd, it’s not like can jump on stage and dance with me, so who’re they gonna dance with? So I’m the matchmaker.”