Our third show this week at the Tennessee Valley Fair and it was a great one! Dustin Lynch!
We got to the fair about 6:50 because we had a meet and greet with Dustin! It was our first time to meet Dustin. We’ve seen him several times opening for other artists but this show was going to be our first show with him headlining.
The meet and greet line was huge because there were fair meet and greets (like we had) then Dustin’s fan club was doing a meet and greet so yeah, that line was long. We stood in line for about ten minutes and then it started moving. While watching others go up to Dustin we could hear him introducing himself to them and asking their name. Sure enough, when it was my turn to meet him, he stuck his hand out and said “Hi I’m Dustin, what’s your name?” I told him and he said “Nice to meet you, I like your shirt”. (It was a shirt of his, with his face on it) I said “Me too”. I had him sign tonight’s ticket and I asked him if “Sing It To Me” was on the setlist for tonight. He said “yes it is, do you love it?” I said, “I do”! The photographer then took our picture and he said “thanks for coming”. Ed was next and Dustin introduced himself to him as well. I don’t think we’ve ever had an artist do that. That was really impressive and said a lot about him.
While the meet and greet was happening we could hear the first opener on stage, Tyler Barham. He did a lot of covers and sounded okay. He was playing acoustic with a guitarist. He did Garth Brooks’ “That Summer” and John Michael Montgomery’s “Sold” that we heard very clearly. By the time we got out to our seats he had already left the stage.
The second opener was Tyler Rich. He was also playing acoustic. Just him and his guitar. When he started playing and singing, honestly I wasn’t holding out much hope of him sounding that good. Wow, was I surprised. Not only did he look good, he sounded great! I really started paying attention at this point. It’s hard for an opener, playing acoustic to get and keep the crowd’s attention but he did a very good job of doing just that.
We learned that Tyler is from Northern California (Yuba City) and he will be going out on tour in November opening for Dustin. He was very personable on stage without being annoying. He told little stories before some of his songs that were funny, got the crowds attention but he kept his set moving along. He had done a couple of his songs and then he said the next one he wrote, about hitting on a girl at a bar when the girl was with someone else. It was called “Southern Comfort”.
His next story was about a song called “I Can Teach Ya”, cause he dated a Russian girl in LA who had no idea about country. His guitar cut out during this song, but he played it off well, while they brought out Dustin’s guitar and he finished his set playing it. He said he used to play George Strait’s “Cross My Heart” for his future wife but now that he’s played it for about eight different girls he’s decided he should start doing “Check Yes or No” and he proceeded to do that cover. The next story he told was really funny. He said the next song he was doing was the I hate “God Gave Me You” song. He said he was dating a girl and they broke up and he was always hearing Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You” and he didn’t like it. So he wrote the song “Radio”.
The next song he said is his single that he hopes everyone is hearing out there called “California Grown”. The last song of his set was Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That”. We love hearing new artists that we’ve never heard before and Tyler Rich is one that I hope we hear again. We may just have to start tweeting SiriusXM The Highway about playing him on their new artists show On The Horizon.
Dustin’s intro music started about 8:22 and he ran out on stage saying “Hello Knoxville” about 8:30. First song was the up tempo “Up to the Sky”. Everyone was on their feet and most people were singing along. Dustin was wearing a Broseph E. Lee shirt, which we had no idea what that was, but apparently it’s a country/folk/rock band from Illinois.
Next songs for Dustin were “She Cranks My Tractor”, “Halo” and “All Night”. He did a medley of “John Deere Green”/”Meet in the Middle”/”Boot Scoot and Boogie. Next was the song he told me he was going to do “Sing It To Me” then he asked where the after party was going to be and went right into “After Party”. He did “Middle of Nowhere” and “Hell of a Night”. The crowd just went wild singing along with “Hell of a Night”. Dustin went from side to side on stage and at the end thanked everyone for making that a #1 song recently.
At this point the band left the stage and he grabbed a guitar. He said he first played in Knoxville in 2005 on campus at a Crawfish boil. He said he was going to do a song for us that he did back in 2005 by a guy who was one of the best concerts he’d ever been to and he started singing Eric Church’s “These Boots”. A lot of people who had obviously heard/seen Eric do this song took off a boot and held it up. He said fast forward to last year when he did the Foothills Festival in Maryville with this guy who is his hero and he did Tim McGraw’s “Red Rag Top”. This was a first for us. We’ve never heard anyone do a cover of this song. He then said fast forward to tomorrow. He isn’t going to be doing anything except maybe be at the lake fishing. He said he loves to fish and hunt with his dad and they have a playlist they listen to when they are driving to where they are hunting and fishing and this song is on that play list. It was Travis Tritt’s “Great Day to be Alive”. The band came back up and joined him in the middle of this song.
He said the next song is his new single “Mind Reader”. “Cowboys and Angels” was next and he explained he wrote it for his grandparents who have been married 60 years, this year. He did “Name on It” then he surprised us by jumping up on one of the risers and doing a little bit of Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home”. He introduced the band throughout this song and the drum solo was very cool. A Garth Brooks’ cover of “Rodeo” was next on the set list. This cover was great! At the end of this song Dustin grabbed an electric guitar and him and the band jammed! It was bad ass! The last song he did was “Where It’s At”.
When the last song ended we expected Dustin to leave the stage followed by the band like most artists but that’s not what happened. Dustin stayed on stage standing in front of the drums and one by one each band member joined him, they linked arms and took a bow. The drummer threw his drum sticks out to the crowd, they threw guitar picks out and then Dustin did something else I’ve never seen any other artist do, he signed the set lists they had used, wadded them up and threw those out into the crowd and then he just started signing whatever people at the stage were holding up for him to sign; tickets, pictures, cell phones, boots, there was a variety of items he was signing. We left since I already had my ticket signed at the meet and greet.
We left extremely impressed with this show, probably one of the best at the fair we’ve ever seen; Dustin was incredible. I mentioned a few things he did that we’d never seen other artists do, another was the way he would start some of the songs. On “Up to the Sky” “Hell of a Night” and “Cowboys and Angels” he did the chorus first, then he would go in to the song. Really a different way to start out the song. Another thing he did most of the artists we’ve seen at the fair always says “thanks for having me Knoxville” or “How are you doing, Tennessee’? Dustin actually mentioned the Tennessee Valley Fair twice. He thanked them for having him here a couple different times.
Dustin played for 90 minutes and really showed why he really could break out big with a traditional voice and a rocking, fun, modern sound. Was very impressive.
Check out our YouTube channel for videos from tonight’s show at www.youtube.com/ourcountryconcerts and keep reading our blogs. Tomorrow night we are headed back to the fair to hear Mo Pitney.