Customers who visit the iconic Nashville club The Bluebird Cafe 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.
Dustin 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," he 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 Dustin. In late 2011 he signed with Broken Bow Records and released his debut album in 2012, which contained his first single, "Cowboys and Angels."
But it all goes back to The Bluebird for Dustin, a native of Tullahoma, Tenn. Influenced in his youth by country singers including Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and Clint Black, Dustin 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. Dustin 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 Dustin had a publishing deal. 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 could."
Dustin made his Grand Ole Opry debut March 2, 2012. "The Opry is one of the most hallowed stages in the world of music because of its history and tradition," he said. "Growing up I watched my idols grace the stage and I dreamed of playing that stage and dreamed of becoming a member of the Opry one day."
"The Opry is one of the most hallowed stages in the world of music because of its history and tradition. Growing up I watched my idols grace the stage and I dreamed of playing that stage."