We didn’t know what to expect from Broken Bow artist Dustin Lynch’s sophomore effort Where It’s At, with the previous singles, impressive-ranged ballad “Cowboys and Angels,” uptempo and uninteresting “She Cranks My Tractor,” and the radio-safe “Wild in Your Smile.” But Lynch delivers a solid album that engages throughout, has some moments where it seriously shines, and doesn’t have any lemons, a feat in itself for a 15-song release.
Much like its single of the same name (a Cary Barlowe, Zach Crowell, and Matt Jenkins co-write that hit #1 this week), Where It’s At is a solid, engaging, and radio-friendly release that hits just the right spots. The album as a whole isn’t particularly groundbreaking, nor does it seek to stretch genre boundaries the way that some recent releases have (think Aldean’s “Burnin’ It Down” or some of the production on Eric Church’s Outsiders). Instead, it focuses on a well-crafted balance between showcasing Lynch’s vocals and creating a cohesive, upbeat vibe that’s fun on a casual listen and impressive on further exploration.
Tracks like “World to Me,” which sports a Fly-Over-States-esque love for the undervalued small town life, or “To the Sky,” a lyrically expected but expertly executed party anthem showcase what the album in many ways does best: touch on standard, radio-friendly themes with pristine production and performance, touching on bro-country themes without any of the cheese or overindulgence (i.e. Jerrod Niemann’s “Donkey”) required.
For all its uptempo strength, however, Where It’s At has some somber moments, and it’s those that we’re particularly taken with. “Your Daddy’s Boots,” written by Lynch, Josh Leo, and Tim Nichols, is an absolute masterpiece, capturing a man’s attempt to live up to the strength and support his new wife’s father has provided her. “He was the first to hold your hand / the first to dry your tears / we had a man to man and now I’m taking it from here / I made him a promise, and girl I promise you / I’ll always do the best that I can do / but I’m gonna have a helluva time trying to fill your daddy’s boots,” Lynch sings, applying his platinum “Cowboys and Angels” performance to the track. “American Prayer” and “She Wants A Cowboy” also showcase Lynch’s more heartfelt side, and round out the album nicely.