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Up-and-comer Lynch delights in new work

Dustin Lynch (Justin Nolan Key)
Dustin Lynch (Justin Nolan Key)

Country artist brings enthusiasm, fresh songs to North Idaho Fair

Looking at country artist Dustin Lynch’s recorded output, you’d think he was a success right out of the gate.

His first single, called “Cowboys and Angels,” was released in early 2012 and became a sizable radio hit, and his self-titled debut record went on to top Billboard’s country albums chart later that year. In 2013, Lynch supported Keith Urban on part of his North American tour, and the latest single from his upcoming sophomore album, “Where It’s At,” is already getting significant airplay.

On the phone from St. Louis, Lynch, 29, is preparing for an album preview party, where he’ll premiere some of his newest tracks for press and fans, and his excitement is palpable.

“This, honestly, is the most fun I’ve ever had doing this,” Lynch said. “Getting the music out there is one of my favorite parts of doing this. It’s almost like waiting on Christmas morning. I can’t wait for people to hear these songs, so they get to shake the presents a little bit today.”

The last year has been a whirlwind for Lynch, but he’s actually been warming up for his big break since 2003, when he moved to Nashville at 18 to become a country artist. He attended college while writing and performing around town on the side, and his ascent to platinum-selling country star was a slow and steady one.

“You realize there are 5,000 other people that just moved to Nashville with you that month,” Lynch said, “so it’s pretty daunting. I was just in honkytonks and songwriter bars trying to do my own thing, and because of that I’ve kind of made my own path and become a better performer.

“But even after you land a record deal, it’s not all buses and mansions. For some people, it happens instantly, but for me it took a little longer. And I’m glad it did. I’m a much better artist because of it.”

Lynch grew up in Tennessee surrounded by country music. “As long as I can remember, I’ve had some sort of fire inside of me that has wanted to write and sing and perform,” he said. “I don’t know where that came from. It’s always just been there.”

He taught himself to play the guitar and started writing songs as a teenager, emulating his heroes George Strait and Garth Brooks.

“When you complete your first song and it’s halfway decent, it’s the coolest feeling in the world. And 15 years later, it’s still the coolest feeling in the world to complete a song. It’s just like inventing a new thing every day.”

Immediately following his stint supporting Urban, Lynch experienced a sudden burst in popularity, and he says that performing for stadium audiences helped shape the more rock-oriented sound of “Where It’s At,” which is set for release on Sept. 9. This album was easier to write than its predecessor, Lynch said, because so much was going on around him at the time.

“There are so many new places I’ve been and so many relationships I’ve formed that all those experiences were just pouring out of me when I was writing,” he said. “It’s one of those things you’re addicted to. I’m ready to make a third album, and this one’s not even out.”