HomeEF CountryDustin Lynch - 'Killed the Cowboy' album review

Dustin Lynch – ‘Killed the Cowboy’ album review

Dustin Lynch is a standout figure in modern country music, known for crafting an exceptionally consistent recording career for well over a decade now. With a remarkable track record of eight chart-topping hits, four albums that have reached the Top 5, and an impressive roster of 10 gold and platinum certified singles, he has firmly established himself as a force in the industry. His music has resonated with audiences worldwide, amassing an astonishing 5.4 billion cumulative global streams and that’s only going to continue with new album, ‘Killed the Cowboy,’ which is his strongest body of work since 2014’s ‘Where It’s At.’

Lynch’s journey in the country music scene took flight with breakout single ‘Cowboys and Angels’ in 2012. Since then, he has consistently headlined packed venues and shared stages with some of the genre’s biggest names, including Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Brad Paisley, and Kane Brown. His impact on the industry has been recognized through his prestigious membership in the Grand Ole Opry and garnered him high-profile nominations at the Academy of Country Music Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, iHeartRadio Music Awards, and CMT Music Awards.

‘Killed the Cowboy’ serves as a compelling follow-up to ‘Blue In The Sky,’ a record that achieved the remarkable feat of delivering the platinum-certified, six-week #1 hit, ‘Thinking ‘Bout You’ (featuring MacKenzie Porter). This track emerged as the most-played song at Country radio in 2022 and secured its place at #1 on the Mediabase charts, with an impressive #2 ranking on the Billboard Year-End Country Airplay charts. Notably, ‘Blue In The Sky’ also features the current Top 5-and-rising single ‘Stars Like Confetti,’ meaning that Lynch is now promoting a Top 5 hit from a previous album as his new body of work is released, something that is quite unique in the music industry!

Latest offering, ‘Killed the Cowboy’ rides in on a wave of big, dramatic soundscapes, setting the stage for a thrilling musical journey. The opening track, also the title track, kicks things off with a bang, delivering a powerful warning as Lynch sings, “It was supposed to be me riding away, but I’m dying in the bed she made.” The song unfolds as a slow and steady anthem, punctuated by a searing fiddle solo—a clear callback to Lynch’s classic work. It’s an impressive start that sets the bar high for the rest of the album.

‘Honky Tonk Heartbreaker’ takes a lighter approach, infusing Country Rock ‘n’ Roll vibes that are both infectious and smile-inducing. With a catchy chorus that barrels along, Lynch explores the theme of a heartbreaker with a honky-tonk heart, conjuring images of classic Blake Shelton with a touch of ’90s country. It’s a radio-ready hit with its infectious cadence. Similarly, ‘Trouble With This Truck’ continues the album’s commercial appeal with a radio-friendly vibe. The concept of a truck carrying memories of a past love is relatable, and the chorus is undeniably catchy.whilst the album plays out with ‘Long Way Home,’ the last of the trio of lighter, ’90s-inspired commercial tracks. It showcases a different side of Lynch, exuding a laid-back, sing-along style with a touch of beachy charm. This mid-tempo, melodic tune is a pleasant surprise that showcases Lynch’s versatility as it closes down ‘Killed the Cowboy’ with an almost Kenny Chesney-esque charm!

Elsewhere drama is the order of the day. ‘If I Stop Drinkin’ continues in classic Dustin Lynch style, delving into post-relationship emotions and the solace found in a drink. The song boasts a snappy, melodic chorus and signature Lynch-esque storytelling whilst ‘Blue Lights’ is a powerful, dramatic ballad that builds to a grand chorus filled with memorable lines. Lynch’s delivery keeps you engaged as he races to escape a girl’s memory. The expansive production adds to the song’s overall intensity which will be fun to see live, but he’ll need to take a deep breath before he gets to each of the action-packed choruses!

No Dustin Lynch album is complete without a little modern experimentation and nightclub-esque production vibes. ‘Only Girl in this Town’ takes a modern turn with its drumbeat and production choices. Lynch pays homage to a girl who seems to be everywhere, promising her the world on this mid-tempo, dramatic track. A well-executed guitar solo adds depth to the song too whilst ‘George Straight JR’ brings a nice blend of classic early Lynch country elements and modern R&B vibes. The chorus is reminiscent of Sam Hunt, with an upbeat and catchy cadence that leaves you feeling, like the narrator of the song, on top of the world. The mix of twangy guitar and modern production elements creates a song that’s poised for radio success should it be the one that the label choose to send out there at some point.

Speaking of radio, let’s talk ‘Chevrolet.’ A clever reworking of the chorus of Dobie Gray’s 1973 hit ‘Drift Away’ is the standout feature here. This song is all about good times, good women, and the nostalgia of dirt roads and trucks. The inclusion of zeitgeist grabbing artist Jelly Roll adds a fresh touch to this laid-back, sing-along track that makes you want to raise your glasses in the air and holler out the chorus alongside the two singers! It’s now de rigueur in the Country world of 2023 to sample or rework classic songs. Blame Cole Swindell! We wrote an article about it recently (read here if you missed it) and even Kane Brown has followed suit on his new song ‘I Can Feel It’. Lynch brings something pretty weighty to the party that might well prove to be his 10th number one once ‘Stars Like Confetti’ has got there in a few weeks.

At 38 years old Dustin Lynch was faced with some big personal questions when it came to making ‘Killed the Cowboy.’ “When I’m off the road and working on my farm, I have a lot of inner dialogue. It’s a boxing match inside of me, between living in the moment and enjoying where I am, versus what’s the best version of me five, 10, or 20 years down the road,” he explains. “What do I want to be? What do I want life to look like? Who do I want to be around? Killed The Cowboy is that back-and-forth. It’s me asking myself, ‘Am I okay? Or am I weird for not having found my person yet? And is she even out there?’ It’s interesting because alongside Chase Rice, another artist who came up through the ranks with Lynch, he has made the most mature album of his career this year. There are at least five potential hit singles on ‘Killed the Cowboy’ which is damn good going. The party boys of Country are growing up at last and whilst Lynch is not yet ready to leave the limelight and razzmatazz behind for a comfy pair of slippers just yet, he is, at least, asking himself some pertinent and soul-searching questions and using that reflection to spur on his creativity.

Dustin Lynch
BMG / Broken Bow

Tracklisting: 1. Killed the Cowboy 2. Honky Tonk Heartbreaker 3. George Strait JR 4. Chevrolet 5. If I Stop Drinkin’ 6. Only Girl in Town 7. Breaking Up Down 8. Trouble With this Truck 9. Blue Lights 10. Lonestar 11. Listen to the Radio 12. Long Way Home Record Label: BMG / Broken Bow Records Release Date: 29th September Buy ‘Killed the Cowboy’ here

This article contains an affiliate link. Purchases through this link may result in us earning a commission.

Must Read

Dustin Lynch is a standout figure in modern country music, known for crafting an exceptionally consistent recording career for well over a decade now. With a remarkable track record of eight chart-topping hits, four albums that have reached the Top 5, and an impressive...Dustin Lynch - 'Killed the Cowboy' album review