Dustin Lynch has received the country equivalent of a royal nod: the stamp of approval of Luke Bryan, who sees so much of himself in the young singer that he’s already invited him back on tour in 2016. Lynch hit the road with Bryan last summer, playing arenas and stadiums — always keeping one eye on his mentor.
“The main thing I took away from watching Luke as far as a performer goes, is he’s so comfortable with who he is onstage and carefree,” Lynch tells Rolling Stone Country. “As a young artist you’re so self aware and not confident with what you’re doing onstage in front of a crowd that big that I think you get caught up in the ‘How do I look when I go over here?’ or ‘Should I go here?’ And watching him has allowed me to not take myself so seriously. I’m having so much more fun onstage.”
To that end, Lynch has come up with an irreverent stage prop for his current headlining Hell of a Night Tour: the “Wheel of Karaoke.” Stacked with cover songs, the Tennessee native vows to sing whatever the wheel stops on. Even if it’s Beyoncé, like during his tour kickoff show in Richmond, Virginia.
“There’s certain slices of the pie we don’t want it to land on. Of course the crowd does want it to land on those,” he says. “It’s like watching a race, a NASCAR race. People watch NASCAR races to see the crashes. If the wheel lands on Beyoncé, it’s gonna be a terrible crash in turn three.”
Lynch will perform at sold-out concert tonight in Denver, one of a number of Hell of a Night Tour stops to sell out in advance. Demand in Anaheim, California — about as far from Lynch’s Tullahoma, Tennessee, hometown as possible — necessitated three shows at the House of Blues.
“I love concerts that feel like a party. Our set list is just rockin’. I think Luke plays two ballads in 90 minutes so I’ve taken that formula and gone, ‘OK, let’s keep the party rockin’,'” Lynch says. “That’s the kind of playlist, being a DJ, if you will, that I want to put together.”