The note on the Bluebird Café’s Facebook page says it all: customers who visit the Nashville songwriters club are expected to keep quiet and listen to the words from some of Music City’s most influential composers. Listening has an added benefit – it gives the listener a chance to learn, and that is exactly how singer-songwriter Dustin Lynch used the Bluebird. Lynch rented an apartment behind the venue’s back parking lot and literally walked to the Bluebird several times a week to listen and learn about the mysterious art of creating songs from some of Nashville’s most important writers. “I was soaking it in, trying to be a sponge,” Lynch says. “I was mainly trying to hear the story behind the song, how it came about, what it’s really about. There’s something about understanding the songwriter’s realm. You get a little more grip on the way it was written and why it was written and how they got to the finished product.”
That education paid off in a big way for Lynch. In late 2011, he signed with Broken Bow Records and is working with producer Brett Beavers (known for his work with Dierks Bentley) and engineer Luke Wooten (Brad Paisley, Sunny Sweeney) on his debut album with a backlog of his own songs. In January 2012, Lynch released his debut single “Cowboys and Angels”.
But it all goes back to the Bluebird for Lynch, a native of Tullahoma, Tennessee. Influenced in his youth by country singers such as Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and Clint Black, Lynch knew the importance of the Bluebird, and he chose his college – David Lipscomb University – in part because it was less than two miles from the club. Lynch auditioned on a Saturday morning for a chance to play its open-mic night the following day. He passed the audition and impressed host Barbara Cloyd so much that she chased him into the parking lot and offered to help him get some footing in the community.
As he began to establish himself at the Bluebird, within weeks Lynch had a publishing deal, and he made the most of it, writing over 200 songs in less than two years. “I’m a workaholic,” he says. “I was getting paid to write songs, so that’s what I did. That’s just the guy I am, if I’m not doing something I get bored, so I was trying to write the best record possible and decided to just get after it as hard as I can.”
It is his studious approach to songwriting combined with his fascination with words and melodies, and concert skills he developed through high-school and playing the southeastern club circuit, that makes Dustin Lynch one of country music’s artists to watch.