Just when you thought the market was saturated with young, handsome country music heartthrobs—apparently there is room for one more. Or maybe Dustin Lynch is just pushing past the pack.
If you listen to country radio, chances are you’ve already heard Dustin Lynch. “Cowboys and Angels”, the heartwarming first single off his self-titled debut album, is currently set to break the Top Ten on the Billboard country charts. And it’s obvious that fans are eating it up: since the album dropped yesterday, Dustin Lynch is already in the Top 10 for iTunes album downloads, and sitting at Number 1 in the country genre—a trend which points to a comfortable debut on the Billboard 200 when the charts come out next week.
There’s admittedly no new ground broken on this album, either music-wise or lyrically. Most of the songs are about girls, and Lynch seems to fluctuate between borderline risqué flirtation (“She Cranks My Tractor,” “Wild In Your Smile”) and pure romantic sentiment (“Cowboys and Angels,” “Hurricane”). Combine these themes with his good looks, it’s quite apparent who Lynch’s target market is.
However, that being said, there are two things in particular about this album that I really, really like. First of all, even though the record covers well-trodden ground, Dustin Lynch handles it with a relaxed attitude that gives the impression that he’s a veteran, rather than a rookie. It’s rare for a debut album not to come across like the artist is trying too hard; in the case of Lynch, he wears this cloak with complete comfort, like he has been doing it for years. Natural-born star quality seems to emanate from the performances on the record (comparisons are already being made to George Strait, to give you an idea). I haven’t seen Lynch perform live yet, but if his live shows carry the same natural swagger that the album does, I’d predict that we’re looking at a huge country star in the making.
Secondly—although the record contains the compulsory pop/rock elements designed to make it compete on the modern country market, the needle swings more toward country than rock. In other words, less electric guitar, more fiddle and steel. Yes, the electric guitar solos are there, and the big rock & roll finishes (starting with the opening track “She Cranks My Tractor”)—and there are even some Sugarland-esque “whoa-ohs” to be found in the track “Last Lap”—but the record still carries a decidedly country vibe (another reason to compare Lynch to Strait). In my opinion, this positions Lynch to be a potential influencer on the future of the genre, right along with acts like The Band Perry.
All told, Dustin Lynch has put out one of the best debut country albums I’ve heard in some time. I could easily see this one going right to the top of the charts and staying there for awhile—and I hope I’m right. I don’t say this about many acts, but Lynch has made me an instant fan.