Dustin Lynch may have moved to Nashville to chase his dreams, but home is still where his heart is. The 27-year-old says he learned to write at the famous Bluebird Cafe, but learned to dream along the back roads and open country of Tullahoma, Tenn. 

"I still love going down there and riding the same roads that I did growing up," Lynch tells Taste of Country, sharing that it's there that he tests out new music. Many of the songs on his self-titled debut album sound best with the windows rolled down, and maybe someone sweet at your side. Lynch is single, but even after his share of breakups -- more often than not he's the dumped, not dumper -- he's optimistic about love in the future.

One hears hope on songs like 'Rock You Sweet' and 'Dancing in the Headlights,' a song that almost wrote itself after a show when he went out back to find a few country cuties doing just that. Lynch wrote or co-wrote 10 of the 14 cuts on 'Dustin Lynch,' an album that showcases his strong country voice and a proclivity to move between modern and traditional country music.

"I think I've stretched a little bit more contemporary these last three years," he says, comparing his current style to older music he goes back and listens to on occasion. A song called 'The Solitude' is one he's still proud of, even though it was written before he moved to Nashville. "I've had three years to dial in the sound we've got."

Before signing with Broken Bow Records (home to Jason Aldean), Lynch lived behind the Bluebird Cafe and frequently walked over to soak up tips from pros and amateurs like himself. “I was mainly trying to hear the story behind the song, how it came about, what it’s really about," he says in his online biography. "There’s something about understanding the songwriter’s realm. You get a little more grip on the way it was written and why it was written and how they got to the finished product.”

"The guy that lived across the street from me was Evan Farmer, who does the countdown on CMT," Lynch tells ToC. "I wouldn't tell him who I was just in fear that he would catch me partying one night or something. I had two roommates that loved to party, so I was like, 'Man, I don't wanna tell Evan who I am in case down the road I piss on his mailbox or something' [laughs]."

Lynch's eventual manager discovered his songs on MySpace and convinced him to audition for the Valory Music company, home to Justin Moore and sister label to Taylor Swift. "Man, I walked in there and played and they said 'We're in, let's do this,'" he recalls.

One of the executives left the label, however, taking a job with Broken Bow. Lynch followed, a move that he's more than thankful he made. "I'm a loyal guy and something told me that the right spot for me was with Broken Bow."

Lynch was a good student in school, even making the honor roll. He did the things most country boys do growing up, all while playing in a rock cover band. Unlike his friends, though, he knew his true calling early. The dusty roads of Tullahoma were where he'd go to find his creative spirit.

"Some people out there were chasing a living, I was too but at the same time I'm always dreaming of going to Nashville and singing music."

With an album, a gold single that's about to crack the Top 10 and pure country voice that's easy to fall for, Lynch has indeed made it. He'll still tour relentlessly -- his calendar is packed tighter than pigs in a pen until Christmas. Between gigs, look for him driving through rural Tullahoma with the windows down and his ears open, listening for a few good stories or searching for a few lost memories.

Preview all the songs on 'Dustin Lynch' at his Facebook page.

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