Interview: Dustin Lynch Knows ‘Current Mood’ Is ‘Very Risky’ … But He’s Ready
Dustin Lynch waited three years between the release of his sophomore record, Where It's At, and his third studio album, Current Mood, available Friday (Sept. 8). In a world where artists try to get music out as quickly as possible, even releasing EPs while they finish a full-length album as a way to remain in the forefront of fans' minds, Lynch purposefully waited until he knew Current Mood was exactly the way he wanted it to be.
Of course, Lynch didn't know when he began writing and gathering songs for Current Mood that the process would take so long -- but even if he did, the singer says, he wouldn't change a thing. Each of the 13 songs on Current Mood reflect different sides of Lynch, many which he is sharing with his fans for the first time.
"It’s a collection of the last three years of my life -- all the relationships, the travels," Lynch tells The Boot of Current Mood. "It’s been a crazy three years, in a good way; it’s been fun. I don’t put a lot of my personal life, personal time, on social media, so this was my way of giving everybody a peek behind that curtain."
Lynch co-wrote seven of the 13 songs on Current Mood, sharing credits with hit writers such as Ben Hayslip, Ross Copperman, Craig Wiseman, Rhett Akins, Zach Crowell and others. Every song is vital to the entire package of Current Mood, Lynch says.
"I think it’s cohesive because every song is something I’ve either written about or I’ve recorded of what I’ve been through the past three years," Lynch explains. "I think my natural progression of life is what’s kind of holding all of that together."
Still, while Lynch knew he wanted Current Mood to be representative of himself, he was pleasantly surprised to find outside songs that were true to his life. Some of those cuts are perhaps more accurate than something he could have written.
"The best songs will always win, and my songs I write have a worse shot of making it than outside songs," Lynch confesses. "The songs kind of chose me, to be honest ... The songs found me. I didn’t really set out to make an album like, ‘For the third album, it’s going to be this.’ It was more a song-by-song natural progression. The reason I think you hear some R&B, you hear some pop, you hear some country is, each song became kind of a passion project of mine."
I don’t put a lot of my personal life, personal time, on social media, so this was my way of giving everybody a peek behind that curtain.
Also proving he isn't afraid to break the mold of what is considered normal in country music, Lynch opted to use five different producers on Current Mood. Those names included Copperman and Crowell, as well as Mickey Jack Cones, Brent Anderson and Will Weatherly.
"It had become more of, ‘Hey, you have three weeks off, here’s the songs, get them done.' With touring as much as I do, that’s the way it has been, because that makes sense," Lynch says. "This became, 'We’re not recording until I’m excited about a song and everybody around me is excited about a song.' And then, the producer that I think should get a shot at it steps up and goes, ‘Holy crap, I want this.’ So, moving forward, that’s what I did. [It] took a while to happen, but each song became something that not only myself but my producers really believed in and really, really wanted."
It was Crowell who got behind Lynch's most recent single from Current Mood, "Small Town Boy," which inspired Lynch to implement his new production system.
"I always play songwriters some stuff I’m digging," explains Lynch. "I played him "Small Town Boy;" he goes ... 'Rarely will I ever produce a song I’m not part of writing; it’s just not what I do. But there’s something special about this. Please, please, please let me be a part of this song in some way.’ Whenever he said that, raised his hand on that song -- this is the passion. This is the excitement. This is the focus on every song moving forward."
While Lynch is immensely proud of every track on Current Mood, the one he likes most is "Love Me or Leave Me Alone," one of the six he didn't write, which features Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild. Lynch, who was selecting songs for Current Mood while he and LBT were serving as the opening acts on Luke Bryan's Kill the Lights Tour, didn't expect the reaction he got when he played the song for his tourmates.
"I don’t deserve to have Karen Fairchild be a part of anything I record, and somehow that happened," says Lynch. "That song came about in such a cool way: I played that song one night on Luke's bus. We were all sitting around playing demos one night. We made that a habit; we were all working on new albums. I played "Love Me or Leave Me Alone" one night, and instead of, ‘Hey, great song, that’s really cool,’ it was, ‘Play that again,’ and that never happened -- 'Play that again.’ I was like, 'Wow. This is really special.'
"And then [Fairchild] raised her hand and said, ‘I’m going to cut off your nuts if you don’t let me be a part of that.' I was like, ‘I’m keeping my nuts!'" Lynch adds with a laugh. "I would have never had the guts to ask her to sing on my album, and she threatened me.
"She took the song to the next level; she really did," Lynch continues. "The way our voices blend is just amazing. There’s sometimes when magic happens, and that’s one of those moments."
Lynch has been fortunate enough to open for Bryan on both his Kick the Dust Up Tour and his Kill the Lights Tour, as well as for other established artists, such as Keith Urban and Florida Georgia Line. Watching other performers captivate crowds also became an important part of the process of creating Current Mood.
"I’ve been on tours long enough -- on big tours long enough -- watching superstars perform and watching what songs connect," explains Lynch. "They all have hit songs, but there are hit songs that connect with an audience more. And as a songwriter, watching those night after night, I just can’t help but gear myself towards what that is. I write on the road a lot now. Most of the time on the road, I’m always gearing towards that thing, and I think that’s really what steered this album, is gearing towards the live show."
I don’t really see myself as a boss -- maybe just the quarterback of the team. I try to stay out of everyone’s way.
Lynch will have ample time to perform songs from Current Mood live: He's hitting the road on Nov. 3 to headline his own Ride or Die Tour. As his levels of success and fame continue to increase, Lynch finds it more important than ever to surround himself with good people, and to make sure that everyone feels important and that everyone's role matters.
"I don’t really see myself as a boss -- maybe just the quarterback of the team," explains Lynch. "I try to stay out of everyone’s way. I have a lot of talented guys, obviously, onstage with me, but behind the scenes, too, that have been doing this for a long, long time, and I’m confident in their skill level. So really it’s just about staying out of their way and letting their talent shine through. You can’t throw the pass and catch it, too. And so, that’s what I try to do."
Asked to sum up the process of making Current Mood, the Tennessee native admits it was "very risky," but even before fans have heard the album, he's grateful he was confident enough to take the chance.
"It all came together and worked," Lynch says. "I feel like every song is completely different than the last one, and it works. Somehow it works."
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