Dustin Lynch reflects on making ‘ends meet’ for his crew in height of pandemic: ‘It was a high-stress time’

Dustin Lynch’s album “Blue in the Sky” has finally dropped.

The country star announced the surprise follow-up to “Tullahoma” in a tweet on Jan. 19 – about a year after releasing the project that included a duo of No. 1 hits and one more record that saw its way onto the Billboard Country Airplay Top 5.

Lynch, 36, spoke to Fox News Digital about the release of his fifth studio album – a 12-track burner that opens with “Party Mode” and includes Lynch’s chart-topping hit, “Thinking ‘Bout You” with MacKenzie Porter.

The singer-songwriter said the project is primed for the radio, and he’s excited for others to enjoy its sounds. He’ll also be taking the party on the road beginning on March 17 when he kicks off the Party Mode Tour 2022 in New Braunfels, Texas, before wrapping on May 15 in Avila Beach, California.


Dustin Lynch said making "ends meet" for his crew during the global shutdown was a "high-stress" time.

Dustin Lynch said making “ends meet” for his crew during the global shutdown was a “high-stress” time.
(Jeremy Chan)

“Being on the radio is the coolest feeling ever,” Lynch exuded. “One of my dreams is to make music that as I’m out on the water, on my boat or something – another boat comes by playing it. It is the best endorsement ever, and it lets me know that we’re doing the right thing. So I hope this album finds its way to some boat speakers somewhere in the summer.”

In addition to his album, Lynch shared the effect the pandemic had on him and his crew as everything, including the music industry, shut down, and reflected on being a young country music fan “dressing up like Garth Brooks and George Strait.”

Fox News Digital: In the midst of the shutdown, what was something that you fell back on to really help you get through? Was it difficult or was it easier for you to enter into a creative groove? 

Dustin Lynch: It was difficult for me, just because it was unlike any other time in my life that I’ve had where I was forced to stay at home. Since I was 15, I’ve been playing shows pretty regularly – obviously not at this level. But for 10 years at this level, I’ve been gone most of the year. And so to be kind of told to stay at home and not know what was going to go on, but also to have to try and make ends meet for all my employees, all my touring crew and band members, it was a high-stress time, but I found some peace and I found some, I guess, relief and an escape through my songwriting. 


We started writing virtually, and also, I just kept telling myself that whenever this lets up, I want to be in tour shape, I want to be playing good, I want to be singing good, I want to be looking good. And then it was just a day-by-day battle for me. So creatively, it really was like, OK, we just put an album out, the world shut down all the momentum we had on this tour that was selling so great is now gone – but let’s not let that get us down. Let’s let it fuel the next. And so I just started chipping away at this next album, not knowing that’s what it would be, but that’s what it ended up being.

Fox News Digital: What makes a quintessential party anthem or party record, so to speak? What types of elements have to go into a record for you to say when it comes on – that’s going to get the house rocking?

Lynch: Man, it’s got to have energy that makes you want to move a little bit. It has to be something that people can participate in and not necessarily when they come to shows to watch us play, but can be a part of. I’ve had both songs, you know. I’ve had songs that are high-energy, but people can’t really participate just because it’s maybe too rocking, which is fine. 

But I’ve also had songs where it’s very easy to kind of move with and sing with. And I think we’ve got several of those on this next album. It’s something that was really focused on. I kind of had some intention of going, ‘Hey, let’s make a record that people can be a part of when they come to see us live.’ And so we’ve got a handful of those on this album, no doubt.


Dustin Lynch and MacKenzie Porter perform on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. 

Dustin Lynch and MacKenzie Porter perform on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. 
(Randy Holmes)

Fox News Digital: When you’re performing on a late-night show like “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” what is your thought process on how you prepare for an abbreviated performance?

Lynch: That’s a great question. Yeah, those are tough because, right when you get in the groove of what you feel like is the groove of the show, it’s over. We play one song for TV, sometimes two. And so really, for us – me and the band guys – it’s about being loose backstage and making sure that the party is started way before we hit that first song on TV. But Kimmel makes it easy. He’s got a great hang in the basement – there’s a full bar. I mean, last time we performed there Guillermo’s [Rodriguez] behind the bar, pouring drinks for everybody. [Laughs] 

So, it’s a very laid-back atmosphere and I feel like the band and I have done enough high-pressure performances like that for TV where it’s not that big of a deal anymore for us, you know. It feels very comfortable, and for us, it’s all about just connecting with those cameras and making sure we’re showing that we’re having a good time because we are, that’s for sure.

Fox News Digital: When you embarked on this journey to not only just become a country artist, but also a superstar, what was the bar you set for yourself? Did you just want to become successful, or was it to be on the level of the greatest entertainer of all time, which many deem to be Garth Brooks?


Dustin Lynch said he developed a penchant for performing as a child and has the "old VHS tapes" to prove it.

Dustin Lynch said he developed a penchant for performing as a child and has the “old VHS tapes” to prove it.
(Bryan Steffy)

Lynch: Well, for me, he’s one of my heroes. He was my superhero growing up. He’s like Spider-Man or, you know, Batman to me. I was dressing up like him, and I was dressing up like the Ninja Turtles growing up, you know? [Laughs] So, yeah, it would be such an honor to inspire a younger generation to want to move to Nashville or want to pick up a guitar, you know, and beg their parents to take him to a pawnshop so they can look at drums and microphones and just learn about all things music. 

There is so much that goes into putting a show on outside of just the guitar and microphone. But to be an artist that a younger generation looks up to and they want to move to Nashville too and pursue a career in music, whether that be a songwriter or somebody in the business or just any sort of inspiration to a young kid, man – I think that’s the goal.

Every night we show up and set our show up, I know we’re giving them a world-class environment and show, and so I just want to continue to grow our fan base and those venues to where we can – it’s just a challenge, right? It’s like, how big can we get this thing? And that’s the challenge I think that Garth still is driven by. He’s played everything he can play, but he’s finding out ways to continue to do it bigger and better. And even at his level, he’s showing that that’s possible. So I think it’s definitely possible for us too.

Fox News Digital: Your hunger for performing – was it something you had in you growing up or was it something that you just developed over time?

Lynch: It was something I had in me as a kid, and I know that just by looking back at videos, old VHS tapes and pictures of myself. You know, dressing up like Garth Brooks and George Strait, literally trying to mimic their exact shirts and riding horses. And once I started performing, it’s those butterflies you get addicted to, and then it’s the attention from the girls that you get addicted to early on. [Laughs] 

Whatever you’re in middle school and high school, and all of a sudden all the attention at a house party is on you, that’s a good feeling, especially whenever you’re not on the football team, you’re not a football player, but after the football game, everybody’s coming to watch you perform and sing – that’s addicting. And I think that’s really what carries a lot of guys through those years, and maybe, maybe helps some go, ‘Yeah, I actually want to give this a shot.’

“Everybody’s kind of realizing that life is short, let’s enjoy it. You can’t enjoy the catalog 70 years from now, let’s enjoy it now and get that money…”

— Dustin Lynch on trend of artists selling their music catalogs

Lynch: I like the attention. I still think we feed off of that. It’s not a selfish thing anymore as much as it is a connection thing now. I think with me and the guys not touring as much as we have in these past several months, man we’re missing and longing for a connection with people in general. It’s literally a connection and an energy that I think is a drug that we are addicted to after doing it for decades here. And we need it. So that’s what’s going to keep us driving for more decades down the road, hopefully.

Fox News Digital: Country music is blowing up right now. Are you satisfied and happy with the direction the genre is taking?

Lynch: I am, man. I’ve never been more excited for where we’re headed. Just knowing what creative juices are flowing here in Nashville, just because that’s where I’m based. Getting to collaborate with who’s become one of my best buddies, Lathan Warlick – a guy who is just an incredible lyricist and rapper out of Memphis who worked for the railroad for forever. He comes in and starts working with myself and Tyler Hubbard and a bunch of other my buddies here in Nashville and putting out a really awesome record I’m proud of. That was something fresh I’d never been a part of, and I think it’s what’s going to continue to happen because it blends two of my favorite things. I mean, my most-listened-to artist year in and year out is Drake, so I just love all sorts of music, and seeing Lathan be able to kind of combine a little bit of the hip-hop world with some country hook and lifestyle is really cool to me. 

But at the same time, we’ve got some super country and rootsy stuff happening, and then we’ve got this classic Texas swing stuff going on, and I don’t know where it’s going to go – it’s probably going to go all places, but I love it, and it’s awesome that you’ve noticed, and of course, we’ve noticed too. The West Coast has always been one of my best markets. But it seems like the L.A. kids really started embracing country lifestyles three or four years ago and having those nights, and I’m starting to see some events pop out regularly in that scene in Hollywood each week or at least once a month at some clubs. 

Dustin Lynch performs at The Listening Room Cafe on Feb. 3, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dustin Lynch performs at The Listening Room Cafe on Feb. 3, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.
(Jason Kempin)

And man, I’m excited for it out there [in Hollywood]. God, if the country market could get a little bit bigger out there and maybe the writing community for country music keeps growing out there, that’s going to be a lot of fun if we can, we can jump back and forth. But to answer your question, I’m excited about where it is. I think there are a lot of different fingers that are coming off of this genre right now. And with where streaming allows the listener to go and dive into and explore, man – I think we’re going to see a lot of new young flavors come to town and really blow us away. 

So I’m pumped. I’m going to keep doing me. I really feel confident with where my music is and my songwriting and who I am and what I want to say, and hopefully, I get to collaborate with some of these newer flavors that are coming to town.


Fox News Digital: We’re seeing so much happen with artists’ catalogs being sold for millions of dollars by the artists themselves – is this a growing goal, or do you see the opportunity to sell as something that will naturally come with the game over time?

Lynch: For me, you know, I started before streaming ever existed. These artists that have sold, and maybe those right around the corner are going to sell, it’s something that I think we are discovering the market for these catalogs is hotter than ever.

I think the catalyst here was 2020. And it’s the same thing why we’re seeing so many family farms pop up is artists are realizing just like everybody else in the world is going, ‘You know what? I don’t want to live in the city for 10 more years. I’m going to go ahead and jump out and get me some acres,’ because we’ve realized that we’re not promised another year, you know. Life is too short. And I think everybody’s kind of realizing that life is short, let’s enjoy it. We got it. 


You can’t enjoy the catalog 70 years from now, let’s enjoy it now and get that money and maybe invest it in other avenues or play with it now – whatever they’re doing, I’m not sure, but I hope to continue to stack those bricks. 

I’m a long way from where some of my peers that are looking to sell here are, but we’re definitely well on our way and a lot farther than we were three or four years ago. So I’m really proud of what my team and I are building, and it’s a new world. That’s a fun, exciting world. It’s kind of one of those things I don’t know that we ever pictured happening, but it is. And that’s inspiring, and it makes me want to go in and write more songs, that’s for sure.

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