MATTHEW HAYDEN Niche Editor
Dustin Lynch is a name you’ve probably heard a thousand times on the radio.
He’s an artist who feels synonymous with the modern country hit with knockout hits from ‘Cowboys and Angels’, ‘Where It’s At’, ‘Small Town Boy’ and more, but a lot of people don’t know big -thing about him.
So the Arizona Daily Sun reached out to him ahead of his Sept. 9 show at the Pepsi Amphitheater to see if he’d be interested in chatting, and despite his busy schedule, he agreed.
Since you released “Cowboys and Angels” in 2012, mainstream country music has slowly accumulated a more pop/hip-hop edge. In my eyes, there are few artists who have truly handled this shift as gracefully as you, so I’m curious how you stay true to your country roots while blending those pop elements.
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I love it, and thank you for that.
It’s evolved, rapidly, and the way people consume music has evolved so rapidly since “Cowboys and Angels” came out. You know, how I can answer that is that I’ve surrounded myself with amazing people and amazing talent, so I don’t really want to take credit for that. My production team right now is one of the most talented bands on this earth, and it allows them to help steer the music to where it feels – I don’t know what to call it – current, but also remains true to the kind of place I started: this thread of traditional country lyrics, sounds and tales. They find a way to make it interesting and fresh in different ways with – honestly – different sounds that we probably haven’t heard yet.
That’s what we’re proud of. We really work on these songs for months to bring them to the finished product, which our fans finally hear.
Your new album “Blue in the Sky” contains many wonderful collaborations with Chris Lane, Riley Green and MacKenzie Porter. I was looking at your old albums, and out of all of them, this one has the most collaborative songs. So, I was curious, what did you learn about yourself as an artist from these collaborative efforts?
That collaborations are really difficult!
There’s a lot of work to do to find the right artists to collaborate with in terms of timing, because we all have our own schedules when it comes to releasing music, and you don’t want to overload or hang out with that collaboration if you I have a single coming by yourself or you know, another artist or another album or something like that.
So that’s the tricky part that we learned, but I think the song is really what drives us to find those combos. It’s not like we randomly drop someone on a song. It’s a song-based decision, I think, and I hope to do more.
We already have a few things in the works with other artists right now. You never know if they’ll see the light of day, but we’re starting to manifest a few more collaborations because it’s just fun making art with other friends. And, you know, with the success that MacKenzie and I have with “Thinkin’ Bout You” – when you get to that level with the song – it’s a lot more fun to tour and do interviews and celebrate the highs and the life cycle downs a song every time someone is there with you in this battle.
I also thought about how over the last two years we’ve all come to terms with this new idea of unity, and the tour you’re doing right now – I think I remember reading that it was the first tour you’ve been on since the pandemic began – is a true celebration of what it’s like to be back together, so what’s it like to be back with your fans after so much.
The energy level is really high, and I haven’t gotten used to it yet.
It’s a very interactive show, and the crowds are part of the show. We keep them on their toes all the time, so it’s just an overwhelming experience this year when we take the stage.
Honestly, it was before when we weren’t allowed to tour there for a year or two, so we started this year with high expectations and our fans don’t let us down at all.
How do you think this experience will influence your work in the future?
I think over the years – really by trial and error – you find out what works, and as creative people we’re always going to try different things and over the years I think we’ve realized that this kind of song, those kind of lyrics fit better with what we do on stage than this one or that one.
I think the target as an artist becomes a little smaller and a little more refined, but knowing that allows us to be more effective when listening to songs or writing them.
You know, I’m ten years old and I feel like I’m just getting started because I feel like I’m comfortable with the direction I’m making music. I found this team with which I am very comfortable but also with which I have a lot of fun.
There have been years in the past where there has been a lot of pressure and attraction from outside opinions, which usually happens when there are so many people involved in the music, but I think we have gained a some trust and some respect over the years and now it’s become a lot more fun because we can create without limits and find that magic as we go.
If you could say one thing to the people of Flagstaff, what would it be?
I’m really excited to come back to Flagstaff. It’s been too long. I’m excited for this time. It will be perfect for the Party Mode tour. I remember seeing the Pepsi Amphitheater the last time I was in town up there, and man, it’s a dream come true to play in that venue.
I guess, just to warn everyone, there will be a lot of dancing, so wear comfortable shoes. We’ll be having lots of parties together and our goal is to create a fun keepsake that lasts a lifetime.
Dustin Lynch will perform live at the Pepsi Amphitheater on September 9. If you go, the doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. But, if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, go to pepsiamp.com to secure them now.