At his best, Dustin Lynch falls in line with the George Strait tradition of good, solid country music sung with enviable ease. The newcomer doesn't have a dynamic voice, but he's certainly not a hum-drum bore. Highlights from his self-titled debut album are melodic and in control. 

The Top 10 single (close enough) 'Cowboys and Angels' is an example of what the Tennessee native does well. His more pensive, thought-provoking lyrics stand out above the party songs.

"Not sure why her path crossed mine / Accident or grand design," he sings on the single. "This is my white flag wave / This is me handin' you the reins," he adds on the bonus track, a conversation with God called 'Your Plan.'

'Waiting,' 'Rock You Sweet' and 'Dancing in the Headlights' are three others that find Lynch's sweet spot. The last two are a warm cup of coffee at sunrise, a cold beer at sunset or whatever other comforting metaphor one feels like embracing. He's capable of that friendly arm across the shoulder, bringing you in with a smile in his voice.

'Last Lap,' 'Sittin' Pretty' -- and to a lesser extent, 'Yeah Yeah Yeah' -- feel like Jason Aldean leftovers. Despite Lynch's ability to look deep within for inspiration, he doesn't do nostalgia with much conviction. To be fair, not many 27-year-olds do nostalgia well without irony. He gets credit for approaching a range of subjects, and the effort will no doubt be better for it next time.

Lynch's sturdy voice could hold up the album from start to finish, but it's not showcased enough. That's a result of song choice, though -- not production. Aside from a few pop flavors, Brett Beavers and Luke Wooten prove themselves once again to be worth the name recognition. There are more highlights than lowlights on 'Dustin Lynch,' an album which shows tremendous potential and at least two more hit singles with 'Waiting' and 'Dancing in the Headlights.'

3.5 Stars

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