The first single, “Where It’s At” (written by Cary Barlowe, Zach Crowell and Matt Jenkins), from Dustin Lynch’s anticipated sophomore album, started off with a bang, being added by 79 radio stations the first week out the gate. The tune is indicative of the new direction Lynch took for his second release. “We have some moments on this album where we just go for it and try something new,” Lynch said. “I’m excited to see how people take it. I love it. There’s one song, ‘She Wants a Cowboy’ (written by Lynch, Tim Nichols and Josh Leo) that is a tip of the hat to one of my heroes, George Strait, in the whole sound of it. I love those throwback sounds. It’s got the big string section behind us. I’m excited to see what people think of that song.”

Dustin Lynch performs at the HGTV Lodge in Fan Alley on Friday, June 6 during the 2014 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville. Photo: Donn Jones / CMA

Dustin Lynch performs at the HGTV Lodge in Fan Alley on Friday, June 6 during the 2014 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville. Photo: Donn Jones / CMA

Another tune the “Cowboys and Angels” singer is anxious for fans to hear is “Middle of Nowhere” (Lynch, Crowell and Ashley Gorley), which tackles the topic of the “friend-zone.”

“It’s a song that came to me on a dance floor in Texas,” he recalled. “I was trying to two-step, like I always do when I’m in Texas, and this girl was being pretty flirtatious but I couldn’t tell what her intentions were. I was working with a song title, ‘Middle of Nowhere,’ but I just didn’t know how to write it. We’re dancing around, taking my hat, laughing and then pushing me away, then coming back. I couldn’t tell if she was into me or what the deal was. In that moment, the title ‘Middle of Nowhere’ and the song idea married each other. I wrote that song a couple weeks later.”

“Your Daddy’s Boots” (Lynch, Leo and Nichols) is another favorite and a possible forthcoming single. “I wrote that song with the same guys I wrote ‘Cowboys and Angels’ with,” Lynch explains. “That day, we were trying to write a song that had some impact. It was another special moment. I don’t know where we came up with the concept; it just fell out. That’s what I love about songwriting.”

Energy was also essential to the project, as Lynch wrote and searched for songs that work translate well to his live show.

“That’s something I’ve learned while being on tour with Keith Urban,” Lynch says. “That energy really showed up on this album. You need songs that get people fired up. There’s ‘Hell of a Night,’ (Jaron Boyer, Crowell and Adam Sanders) ‘After Party’ (Steve Bogard, Jonathan Edwards and Jason Sever) and a few more. They have that ‘thing’ that is going to get people on their feet. What’s cool is that I’ve been playing these songs out live and you can see and feel the difference in the energy.”

If you haven’t been lucky enough to hear some of these new tunes out on the road, keep an eye out for Lynch’s sophomore album, which will be available this fall.

CMA members: The Aug/Sept 2014 issue of CMA Close Up explores Dustin Lynch’s ongoing commitment to education.

Watch Lynch’s “Where It’s At” video here: