Dustin Lynch jokes that he took a page from Taylor Swift’s playbook when writing for his new album “Blue in the Sky.” He and a few songwriting buddies were at a songwriting retreat on the beach with the singer’s girlfriend, and he took the opportunity to break up with her.
Lynch had already decided he was done, and he didn’t want to send her home after the trip and then fly her back to Nashville two weeks later to end their relationship. So, he just told her there – and then he wrote “Break It On A Beach” with Ashley Gorley, Hunter Phelps and Zach Crowell about the situation.
“There was like a switch that flipped for me,” Lynch said. “I don’t know; I got hit with a wave of inspiration. I think that a lot of songwriters probably do. That’s why Taylor Swift breaks up with all her boys when she needs a new album. Right? You gotta dig deep. You gotta split up.”
Lynch wasn’t lacking in inspiration for “Blue in the Sky,” which is available now. He co-wrote five of the 12 songs on the album, including his six-week No. 1 duet with MacKenzie Porter, “Thinking ‘Bout You.” Penned with Andy Albert, Hunter Phelps and Will Weatherly at another of Lynch’s upscale writer retreats, the song is Lynch’s eighth No. 1 on Billboard’s country airplay chart and originally featured Lauren Alaina. The Tullahoma, Tennessee, native wasn’t initially convinced “Thinking ‘Bout You” was a hit. The melody wasn’t quite right before he made the song a duet; Lynch found it lacking. However, he made a couple of adjustments, and when they added a female voice, he said, “I knew something was special.”
“Thank God (the songwriters) have wives because their girls at the house were jumping up and down over this thing,” Lynch said. “That’s not normal. Those guys write five songs a week, at least. To get a reaction like that from their girls at the house was rare.”
When Alaina couldn’t get permission from her record label to let Lynch release “Thinking ‘Bout You” as a single, the song almost died again. Lynch said he waited more than a year for the green light, and when it didn’t come, he had to figure out the next steps. He and his team held blind auditions for a voice to replace Alaina’s, but given her range, he wasn’t sure he could find someone. Porter stunned them with her “big notes” and ability to sing octaves over Lynch in the chorus.
“My gut fought so hard for that thing,” he said. “Now that we see this success of it, it’s like, ‘Okay, whenever you get a hold of a song like that, it’s worth the fight, and it’s worth being patient for, too.’ The timing of all that was just a blessing.”
Lynch explained that if everything had happened the way he wanted it to, the song would have come out a year earlier when COVID-19 forced him off the road. He couldn’t have promoted “Thinking ‘Bout You” in the same way, which might have impacted the song’s success.
“I’m still embracing hearing it every time on the radio,” Lynch said. “I’m sure some people are tired of hearing it, but I’m sure not.”
Lynch switched things up a bit with his new single “Party Mode,” which was written by Jerry Flowers, Ryan Beaver, Roman Alexander, Jared Keim and Matt McGinn. The laidback up-tempo about having a good time arrived at country radio in February bolstered by a video that the singer believes is the best he’s ever recorded.
The clip stars two of his best friends – Kentucky farmers Cornbread and Corbin Wilson, who Lynch said are the reason he knows how to run his farm. There are no tractors in sight on the video when the men hop on a private plane for a guys’ trip that loosely follows a modified “Ocean’s Eleven” theme. Lynch and his friends up with a suitcase of money and some thugs want it back.
“The rest is history,” Lynch said. “It was a lot of fun. And we’ll have that video and those memories to look back on the rest of our lives. It’s a fun video.”
Lynch said he focused on songwriting, his farm and his health when he was home during the pandemic. But now, he is gearing up to make additional “Party Mode” memories. His Party Mode Tour will launch March 17 in Texas and run through mid-May.
“I’m a go-getter,” Lynch said. “You wake up every day, and it’s like, ‘Okay, we got a choice here. We can chill out and enjoy life, or we can work a little bit and then enjoy life.’ I’d much rather be touring (than at home). That’s what I was put on this earth to do.”