IF YOU GO
■ What: Dustin Lynch in concert.
■ When: 9 p.m. today, April 17; doors open at 8 p.m.
■ Where: Track 29, 1400 Market St.
■ Admission: $20 day of show; must be 18 or older to attend, photo ID required.
■ Phone: 423-521-2929.
■ Website: www.track29.co.
Just two days after Dustin Lynch's new single, "Where It's At," was released to iTunes, country music fans can hear the star perform it live at Track 29.
Fresh off opening Keith Urban's Light The Fuse tour, Lynch will play Track 29 tonight, April 17. The local gig is one event in what's shaping up to be a big month for Lynch.
■ Lynch is featured on two tracks of "Working Man's Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard," which was released April 1.
"Just to be a part of something Garth Brooks is on, my hero, is absolutely crazy! Ten years ago I moved to Nashville and just dreamed of getting into a bar to play -- and now I'm on an album with Garth Brooks!" said Lynch in a phone interview.
"Some of us guys on (record label) Broken Bow got it together, and it started growing and growing and shaped up to be a big thing. Everybody in Nashville wanted in," he says of the collaboration.
Indeed, some of Nashville's biggest names are attached to the CD's 19 tracks: Brooks, Jason Aldean, Randy Houser, Joe Nichols, Jake Owen, Toby Keith, Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley. Lynch sings "That's the Way Love Goes" and "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink."
■ Also April 1, "Where It's At" was released to radio stations. Lynch isn't joking when he says he believes it's going to be his "biggest release to date."
The single opens with a guitar groove that Lynch says appealed to him because "the lick seemed really fresh and hadn't been done before."
Although the songwriter didn't pen this one, he says he picked it because he liked its summertime appeal. "I wanted it to feel like a warm summer day with the windows down."
■ Fans of ABC's hit drama "Nashville" witnessed a Lynch hit in the making if they were tuned in March 26. That was Lynch's honky-tonkin' "It's On Tonight," with which characters Luke Wheeler (Will Chase), Deacon Claybourne (Chip Esten) and Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) brought down the Bridgestone Arena house. Lynch said he missed the episode, but his family recorded it.
"They ('Nashville' producers) came to me and said they were looking for a song talking about 'tonight,'" says Lynch. "David Lee Murphy, Brett Beavers and I wrote that song two years ago -- so it was a no-brainer."
It's not the first time Lynch has served as inspiration for "Nashville." The singer says when the drama was being developed he "heard some rumblings" that the storyline borrows from his personal experiences at The Bluebird Cafe. Aspects of characters Gunnar Scott (Sam Palladio) and Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson)-- songwriters at the Bluebird looking for their big break -- are based loosely on him.
When the Tullahoma, Tenn., singer moved to Nashville, he rented an apartment behind The Bluebird, he says. He'd walk over to spend several nights a week in the Music City landmark, listening and learning the songwriting craft. That self-education paid off with two hits off his self-titled debut CD -- "She Cranks My Tractor" and "Cowboys and Angels" -- and opened the door for him to write with a who's who of Nashville songwriters.
"I moved to town to be a songwriter. I just dreamed of having another artist cut my songs," Lynch explains.
■ After eight months opening for Urban, Lynch trades stadiums for the small stage at Track 29. But he says he's looking forward to having the crowd "all over me."
"I love the club stuff because the energy is so incredible. I feel like I can touch everybody in the room."
He promises fans will hear new music from his sophomore CD, which will be released this fall.
"I'm trying them out, seeing what people post on Twitter and Facebook, see if I've got anything. It's always a good gauge to see how the crowd reacts."
Monica Kinsey, owner and general manager of Track 29, hopes Lynch's popularity will broaden ticket sales.
"We always draw a lot of UTC students, so we're hoping to pull other country fans around the city and maybe pull in some people from Tullahoma where's he from," she says.
Contact Susan Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6284.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...