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Album Review: Dustin Lynch’s ‘Tullahoma’

Lynch's fourth album is the Tennessean's most dynamic and autobiographical to date.

Written by Lauren Tingle
Album Review: Dustin Lynch’s ‘Tullahoma’
Dustin Lynch; Photo credit: Connor Dwyer

Over the last decade, Dustin Lynch had to establish himself as a consistent hit-maker to get to a game-changing, career-affirming album like Tullahoma.

With seven No. 1s and eight Top 10s, time has proved to be Lynch’s friend because Tullahoma is his most dynamic and autobiographical contribution to date. His performances radiate confidence, and everything is arena-ready. Getting its title from Lynch’s hometown in Tennessee, the 11-track album features six songs co-written by Lynch and delivers flashes of well-orchestrated, electronic country-pop that gives way to instrumentation that embraces country music’s rich and timeless heritage. Throughout the album, Lynch waxes lyrical about being from Small Town, U.S.A., finding the love of your life and an earth-shattering breakup.

Dustin Lynch; Cover art courtesy of BBR Music Group
Dustin Lynch; Cover art courtesy of BBR Music Group

Album’s lone breakup song, “Momma’s House,” booms with a heart-wrenching tale about a character that fights the overwhelming feeling to want to torch his hometown after a relationship ends. At first, it sounds like he’s missing someone, but when the chorus cuts in, the audience gets surprised by the fact that he’s not missing that person at all.

In “Dirt Road,” a road-trip-ready cruiser, Lynch laments the growth spurt of his small town by eulogizing the backroads at home. However, no influx in the population could keep Lynch from coming back anyway.

He revisits wanting nothing more than what he has in “Little Town Livin’,” which has Lynch rapping at times to a backbeat of Gospel handclaps. In the chorus, he sings, “We’re just little town livin’/ When the sun goes down we’re going to ride / Turn the dirt into dust yeah that’s the ticket /We’re just little town livin’ it up tonight.”

The rest explores various themes of love in the country. The Lauren Alaina collaboration “Thinking ‘Bout You” preserves those epic, romantic dates that lead to memories that last a lifetime. His latest No. 1, “Ridin’ Roads,” is a dreamy, late-night escape. 

Then he transitions into the acoustic lead of “Old Country Songs,” which enchants with irresistible arrangements using mandolin, pedal steel and well-placed drops. Co-written by Josh Miller, Bryan Simpson and Josh Jenkins, the anthemic power ballad offers a “Fishin’ in the Dark” satisfaction that has Lynch singing about how lucky he is in love. In the chorus, he says, “I’m lucky like an old country song / All night long / Headlight slow dance over the moon / Slide in like a steel / Steal a kiss / Keep it real downhome like a Grand Ole Nashville tune.”

Lynch starts to lean into his super-sultry side by channeling his inner John Mayer on “The World Ain’t Yours and Mine.” The slow jam “Country Star” elaborates more on the idea that the country is the only appropriate venue for lovemaking. “Workin’ On You,” a song Lynch has been sitting on for years, encourages spoiling a lover rotten.

In “Red Dirt, Blue Eyes,” the main character believes that the only remedy needed for any relationship is time together in the sticks. For the finale, the album’s first No. 1 “Good Girl” has Lynch singing of finding someone who makes life the greatest.

Overall, as the man who broke through with “Cowboys and Angels,” Lynch sounds on Tullahoma like he’s even more focused on leaving a legacy that his legendary predecessors would want to know. It’s a continuation of his evolving signature sound that still clings to the country roots that raised him.