Album Spotlight: Dustin Lynch, ‘Where It’s At’ – ToC Critic’s Pick
Dustin Lynch’s ‘Where It’s At’ album establishes a Dustin Lynch sound. Where his debut was satisfying but a little scattershot, this project finds a sexy groove to lean into from start to finish.
Not every song is meant to melt the clothes off two lovers staying in on a Friday night, but there are enough like ‘Mind Reader’ and ‘Sing It to Me’ to qualify the Tennessee native as an emerging Cupid. The album is soaked in thick R&B grooves and lyrics aimed arrow-straight at the cutie with the smile staring at you.
“Baby, when you start, you make my heart beat like an 808,” Lynch sings during ‘Sing It to Me.’
“Your touch is like a song, sing it to me,” he begs.
Even a rowdy rocker like ‘To the Sky’ comes with an attitude missing on country radio. Track No. 2 is heavily produced, and Lynch’s voice is soaked in reverb. It’s very modern, and a few others like 'Halo' follow close behind. Conversely, songs like ‘She Wants a Cowboy’ and 'American Prayer' couldn’t be more traditional. Sonically, Lynch and his production team do a nice job of creating variety without confusion.
Thematically, there are a few that step away from love or party song storylines. ‘World to Me’ defends small towns everywhere. “A little buckshot dot on a map it might be / But it’s the world to me,” Lynch sings on the 12th of 15 tracks on the project.
‘Your Daddy’s Boots’ is more effective. The simple ballad is a vocal showcase for Lynch, and he doesn’t waste it. Add this to your wedding song playlist immediately.
“He was the first to hold your hand / The first to dry your tears / We had a man-to-man and now I’m taking it from here,” Lynch sings. “I made him a promise / Girl, I promise you / I’ll always do the best that I can do / But I’m gonna have a hell of a time trying to fill your daddy’s boots.”
The singles will determine who he is. If songs like 'Sing It to Me' never make radio, then those who don't own 'Where It's At' will continue to know Lynch only as a talented, traditional country vocalist. He's shown his influences go much deeper than George Strait and Garth Brooks, however. The album is a fitting mix that should establish him as a rising star without turning away those who've followed him this far.
Key Tracks: 'Halo,' 'She Wants a Cowboy,' 'Sing It to Me,' 'Your Daddy's Boots'
Daddy's Boots: Lynch says he built the entire album around 'Your Daddy's Boots.' In fact, he says that song is his favorite that he's ever written. Tim Nichols and Josh Leo helped and teamed up with him again on 'She Wants a Cowboy.'
Did You Know?: Lynch's first band was an Incubus cover band. He had long hair and wore no shirt, but decided against getting tattoos. In a small town (Tullahoma, Tenn.), you join whatever band needs a singer, he says, and his bandmates hated country but liked his voice, so he took the gig.
Watch the Best of Country 2014