Dustin Lynch has made his bones on songs depicting small town life. It's only fitting that he would eventually make an album devoted solely to what he knows best. He calls "Tullahoma" a concept album. If you're thinking in the vein of "The Wall" or "Tommy," you're in for a disappointment. It's really an exercise in Country 101.
He said, "The concept was, 'Let's write songs, let's record songs that the fictional small-town boy would write, sing, or play in his truck and to impress his girl.
Chances are you may already know some of the material on "Tullahoma." Three of the songs," Ridin' Roads," Red Dirt, Blue Eyes" and "Little Town Livin" made up the 2019 "Ridin' Roads" EP and "Good Girl" was a number one in a concurrent pre-release. Lynch has a writing credit on each of those songs. The other seven tracks feel like they were in the on deck circle for this full-length effort.
Stylistically, it is interesting. "Old Country Songs" is aptly laden with traditional instrumentation where the pedal steel, mandolin and fiddle are at the forefront while the breezy duet with Lauren Alaina, "Thinkin' 'Bout You," is a pleasing contemporary number cleverly written as a phone conversation. There's a Colt Ford rap vibe on "Dirt Road," and much irony to go around.
There is much irony to go around. Don't be fooled by the seemingly sentimental title "Momma's House." It's an angry, electric guitar driven scorched earth break up number with strong imagery. "I'd burn this old town down/if it wasn't for my momma's house" Sonically, "Old Country Songs" is aptly laden with traditional instrumentation where the pedal steel, mandolin and fiddle are at the forefront while the duet with Lauren Alaina, "Thinkin' 'Bout You" is a breezy contemporary number cleverly written as a phone conversation. Lynch employs Florida Georgia Line's Brian Kelly and the late Busbee on "Country Star" and Workin' on You" respectively. What's a small-town effort without a road trip anthem? "Dirt Road" has a rap vibe, which draws an immediate comparison to Cold Ford.
It's a stretch to call this a concept album, unless you call the concept sticking to your core competency.