The writers of Dustin Lynch's "Small Town Boy" are an eclectic bunch: Rhett Akins, a songwriter and recording artist who released a handful of charting singles in the '90s (and is Thomas Rhett's father); storied country songwriter Ben Hayslip; and up-and-coming songwriter and "track guy" Kyle Fishman span generations, backgrounds and styles. The trio wrote Lynch's No. 1 single in the back of a tour bus while out on Luke Bryan's ninth annual Farm Tour.
"Small Town Boy" spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Country Airplay charts in 2017; to say that the song is well-known is an understatement. However, it may surprise many fans to learn just how the song was written and recorded.
"This song was written on a day when we had hung out in Knoxville until about four in the morning, and I wrote most of my part from the bunk," Akins recalls. "Ben and Kyle were in the back.
"I sang the vocal in one pass, and it was terrible," he continues. "I told Kyle that when we got home, I would come back in and do a real vocal. Before we had time to do that, though, it was already pitched to Dustin."
Akins was mortified: "I had said, 'Don't pitch that! It's terrible,'" he explains.
However, the song's producer, Zach Crowell, liked the laid-back vocals, and he "tried his hardest," according to Akins," to get Lynch to replicate the sound.
"There was something about that vocal he liked, even though I thought it was terrible," Akins says. "They actually made Dustin lay on the couch. So, what you hear on the radio is actually him lying on the couch singing, trying to sound hungover.
"They wanted it to be less perfect than it could be: slow, laid-back and Southern," Akins adds. "He was trying to sound not so perfect. I guess he was trying to sound like a small-town boy."
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