Dustin Lynch’s new album ‘Current Mood’ addresses the more carnal side of country music. Credit: Mike Pont/GettyImages
“There’s not a whole lot of church on here,” says Dustin Lynch, sitting in a Nashville studio and flipping through his forthcoming third album, Current Mood, on a laptop. He’s just finished playing a track called “Back on It” that he jokingly refers to as “the cocaine song” – where love is the drug he’s hooked on, not lines of blow. And even though the lyric is “baby, I ain’t never done cocaine” (emphasis on “never”), a few eyebrows in the room still rise when those words ring out, since it’s now pretty clear: the cowboy-hatted singer who made his entrance with “Cowboys and Angels” in 2012 is intent on getting a little devilish these days.
“I think that song will piss off a lot of people, I really do,” Lynch says, today sporting a baseball hat in place of his signature 10-gallon. “But the album is just real, and it’s me. It makes me feel something and makes me want to feel something with someone else. And I didn’t set out to make a record for a certain type of country music fan. I just set out to make the best possible album I could, and that’s what every song reflects.”
After experimenting with more pop and rock-forward sounds like programmed drums and heavy guitars on his second album, Where It’s At, Lynch started slowly and deliberately compiling the material for Current Mood, eventually enlisting five producers to work on the 13 tracks in different studios and from different perspectives. Part of this was a necessity – touring nonstop, often supporting Luke Bryan, Lynch had to mold to a new recording lifestyle that didn’t have him in one place at a time for luxuriously long stretches. And part of this was tapping into a sort of natural flow that kept things both centered and spontaneous.
“There wasn’t really a moment where I went, ‘OK, I want to do this type of record,'” Lynch says. “It came organically. Each song was a moment of passion between myself and whatever producer we recorded it with. Every song came together slowly and with purpose.”
Those producers – Brent Anderson, Mickey Jack Cones, Ross Copperman, Zach Crowell and Will Weatherly – all worked separately on Current Mood’s palette, which is mostly, as Lynch puts it, “party and sexy,” with the exception of a few songs. Namely, “Love Me or Leave Me Alone,” a gorgeous soulful country ballad that showcases Lynch’s vocal range and skillful inflections: he played the track on the tour bus for Bryan and Little Big Town, and knew it hit the mark when they asked to hear it three or four times in a row, singing the chorus back to him. Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild eventually entered the studio to lend vocals to the track. Lynch says the album also has a “message song,” about helping someone find their way out of an unhealthy relationship.