Dustin Lynch is bringing major party vibes with his new album, Blue in the Sky, which will be released on Feb. 11. The album’s lead single, “Thinking ‘Bout You,” featuring Mackenzie Porter, recently spent six weeks at No. 1. on the Billboard Country Airplay charts, and when the new record comes out, so will the follow-up single, “Party Mode.” The track is an upbeat song about hitting the down and “burning it down” after a breakup.
“There’s always pressure on choosing what’s next,” Dustin told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “It’s the most grueling decision. But that song came to me when I was that guy — and maybe I still am — who was embracing the party mode lifestyle through a breakup. It stinks, but it’s also fun as hell because you can go back out with your buddies and have fun. You’re free to just go wherever and do whatever. The song really just makes me want to pour a drink. Even though it’s a breakup song, it’s the perfect combination of disguising a breakup with a feel-good song.”
It’s a bit of a departure from “Thinking ‘Bout You,” which Dustin described as “a little more sugar-coated and sweet.” On the other hand, “Party Mode” is “a little more gritty and country.” Most of all, though, he’s excited to bring the energy of the track to his live show. Dustin is hitting the road on his Party Mode tour in March. The tour will continue through the spring before it wraps in May.
We caught up with Dustin about the new music, hitting the road, and much more! See more from our EXCLUSIVE interview below:
This album was a fairly quick turn-around from your last record [in 2020]. Why was now the right time? Thank God I was ahead of the ball! We saw “Thinking ‘Bout You” doing it’s thing, and luckily we had a bunch of songs already in the can. I think it was the fact that I wasn’t touring in 2020. We didn’t let that get us down in the dumps about getting creative and staying the course of what our routine is — and that’s constantly listening for outside songs that our friends are writing and also that we were writing. Whenever we hit something that just feels special, we just go ahead and record it. So we had been doing that along the way. When 2021 started and they just kept pushing back the start dates on the shows, I was like, ‘Screw it, let’s just start putting out music.’ And it was like — boom, we have a bunch of new music and a great start to what this album is.
The last album felt a bit more nostalgic and personal, while this one is more of a laid-back, party vibe. Was that intentional? I think it was a little bit of both. I think there was some intention there, but it was also not touring and just being home. I love being on the water, so a lot of us musicians and songwriters in town were like, ‘What the hell are we going to do?’ so we just decided to go party on the lake. And I have a farm outside of Nashville that constantly needs work. We made a lot of progress on it the last two years, but it’s constantly giving me anxiety to get that done. So I spent a lot of time there, taking advantage of getting it done. So those were the two spots I was doing most of my life, and I think this album has a little more of the outdoors and shines a little more on my lifestyle outside of music. I wanted to just embrace where I was. It just felt natural to me.
On how his breakup from Kelli Seymour also influenced the album: I was in a relationship, my girlfriend moves in with me, and that was new. During the start of the creative process, that was happening. Then we broke up and that was a phase of writing. So then we got through that and embraced the optimism of life’s new journey and those unknowns. So it was a few phases of my personal life all wrapped in one there, too.
You fought really hard to make “Thinking ‘Bout You” a single. How did you know it would connect with people the way it did? Deep down inside, since the day we wrote this song and got the demo back, it felt special. It was that special kind of song and feeling that I had. I was fighting hard for it early on to be the single behind “Ridin’ Roads,” and it didn’t time out with [original collaborator] Lauren [Alaina]’s release schedule. So I was patient with her and I waited about a year for that to run its course. And I got the news that we weren’t going to be able to do it with Lauren.
So, I could’ve moved on, but something told me this song was worth the fight and I just went back to fighting for it. There were so many conversations over and over again. I think it works because everyone can relate to it. We all go through life and very rarely do you end up spending forever with the first person you date. I think those relationships along the way help us. At least for myself, they helped me figure out what I want out of a partner in life and who I am as a man and what makes me tick. Even if they don’t work out, we carry those people through life and you can’t help but think about them. Most people I’ve dated, I wish them the best and have no problem staying in contact with them and having a conversation. And it’s just a really damn hooky chorus!
How will you put together a set list for the tour with a whole new album and so many hits under your belt? This is the first time I think we’ve struggled as a band being like…what do we cut out? It’s a great spot to be in. We’re just going to have to see what feels best. I think trial and error will be what it is. We’ll have a really confident set list going into the first few shows, and as always, once you get them in front of a crowd, we can feel what needs to be switched around. Or maybe we’ll have an audible spot where we switch it up every week just to keep it fun.
I really an kind of pulled to play some newer songs, but also, I got a bit of something in me to go back to older material, too. Maybe do a song that I wanted to be a single but never was, or something like that. But I do know we’re going to embrace the party mode of this tour as much as we can and make the crowd feel as much a part of the show as we are.
Which songs do you anticipate being fan favorites on the album? My crowds love to party, so I do think they’re going to love “Party Mode.” I can tell “Stars Like Confetti” is going to be a song they’ll embrace. It’s the lifestyle I love to live. I think these two are really the two that will be the fan favorites in the live show. And I’ll tell you, just from rehearsals, “Tennessee Trouble” is going to be something special. That song came in right at the last minute. Playing it at rehearsals full blast, it just hit special. I think that might take on a life of its own.