Concert Review: Dustin Lynch, Chris Lane and Tyler Rich Bring a “Hell of a Night” to San Jose, California

Without a doubt, I can say that this night had just about everything. A marriage proposal. An emotional sendoff for KRTY’s Danika Gurley (who’s moving to Nashville to work for Cam. How awesome is that???) And finally, three solid country music acts who literally brought the house down!

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It’s always a fun trip for me to the Bay Area when there’s a concert scheduled at the Rodeo Club. I won’t lie, I usually plan a number of my business trips around the various shows that KRTY puts on. Nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out. But for a sold out show featuring Dustin Lynch, Chris Lane and Tyler Rich, there was no way I was missing this one!

The night started just after 8 p.m. with local boy Tyler Rich. Tyler hails from Northern California (Yuba City area) but currently resides in the home of country music, Nashville, Tennessee. During the show, he told us a great story about how it was a Garth Brooks show at Arco Arena in Sacramento that cemented his love for country music. Then, three months before his 14th birthday, his grandparents surprised him with a guitar for Christmas, and that, as they say, was that. Tyler never looked back.

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After countless hours working on his craft, and spending years on the road touring across the U.S. with multiple bands, Tyler decided it was time to pursue his career as a solo artist. This turned out to be a great choice as he’s taken the stage with some of the country music’s top artists including, Cole Swindell, Sam Hunt, Dan + Shay, Gloriana, Canaan Smith, Maddie & Tae, and a whole lot more (including Dustin Lynch who he’s touring with as we speak). Tyler’s first single “Radio”, landed on iTunes in mid-2015 and is getting airplay on a number of radio stations across the country, including iHeartRadio.

What I loved about Tyler’s performance was his stage presence. You could tell by watching him play that it is what he was born to do…and he loves doing it. The passion is there. From songs like “California Grown“, a song about growing up in California (which I can DEFINITELY relate to being born and raised in the small town of Petaluma) and “Turn it Up” to his first single, “Radio”, Tyler grabbed the attention of the audience right from the start and didn’t look back. I had the privilege of catching up with him after the show, nearly 3 hours after he first took the stage, and he was filled with the same energy and love for his fans that he demonstrated earlier in the evening. I even picked up his EP which has been worn out already. Definitely check it out when you have the chance.

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Make sure to check out Tyler on Facebook and definitely follow him on Twitter at @TylerRichMusic. His YouTube channel also has a few good clips.

After a brief intermission for a “refreshment break”, it was time for Chris Lane to take the stage.

Growing up in Kernersville, North Carolina, Chris made it clear that he listened to all of the country music greats including Alan Jackson, George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks. But as a child of the 90s, he was also shaped by the sounds of artists such as Justin Timberlake, Usher and the Backstreet Boys. Not your typical influencers for a country music artist, right? But Chris makes it work as he has drawn upon those influences to create music for what can only be described as the “modern” country fan.

Chris is certainly making a name in country music. With more than 500 shows to date, He’s shared the stage with leading acts including Florida Georgia Line, Jerrod Niemann, Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett. He’s also out on the road on Dustin Lynch’s 35-plus cities Hell of a Night Tour. Not a bad group of guys to be sharing the stage with, right?

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So let’s get to the music. His latest single “Fix” showcases his natural, carefree singing style. Written by Sarah Buxton, Jesse Frasure and Abe Stoklasa, “Fix” is an upbeat song about finding that one person who gives you exactly what you need. OK. That sounds like a country song, right? Heck, I dig it. I actually have it ranked at #71 on my Top 100 Country Music songs of 2015 (and since it came out late in the year, it’ll probably end up on the list for 2016 as well as it picks up additional airplay in the coming months).

The rest of the setlist was filled with a mix of his own songs including “Saturday Night”, “For Her”, and “Cool” as well as some flashbacks to the 90s. Dare I say The Backstreet Boys and N’Sync made an appearance? OK, maybe not the ACTUAL bands, but Chris did get the crowd fired up with renditions of “I Want it That Way” and “Bye Bye Bye”. Not songs that I typically assimilate with a show at the Rodeo Club, but hey, he pulled it off judging by the reactions of the people around me!

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If I have one negative to say, it is a little disappointment that he didn’t play my favorite song of his “Broken Windshield View“. Totally understand though, with so many other songs he performed. Maybe we’ll get this on an album in the future?

I’ll say this, Chris is one to watch. I caught him before opening for Florida Georgia Line and I think that he’s well on his way to making a name for himself in the industry. Make sure to check out Chris on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at @iamchrislane.

Around 9:45 p.m., it was time for the main event: Dustin Lynch.

I was lucky enough to catch Dustin a few years back at the Rodeo Club for his first appearance and have seen him twice since. I’ll admit, I don’t know if there is a more down-to-earth guy in the industry. Talk about someone who loves what he’s doing and doing what he loves. Dustin is the epitome of this saying.

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Back in 2012, Dustin’s self-titled debut hit the number one spot on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, making him the only new male artist to achieve that distinction that year. The album’s lead single, “Cowboys and Angels,” exceeded platinum sales status while earning Dustin a legion of devoted fans. I’m proud to say that I was, and am, one of them. I have to consider “Cowboys and Angels” a modern day country classic, and that same year, it finished as one of Billboard’s Top 5 Country Songs of 2012.

Since releasing “Cowboys and Angels,” Dustin has catapulted on to the country music scene, racking up more than 25 million views on YouTube/VEVO and selling well over two million digital singles. What I love, first and foremost about him is that he brings a fresh combination of traditional influences and edgy intensity to the country music genre. A great mix of both which is what it takes to make it these days. Safe to say…Dustin has made it!

Here’s a clip of “Cowboys and Angels” from the show.

Here’s a clip of “Where It’s At” from the show.

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On this night, as always, Dustin didn’t disappoint. The audience was treated to a selection of his own music, including “Where It’s At”, “She Cranks My Tractor”, “Wild in Your Smile”, “Middle of Nowhere”, “After Party”, “Halo” and his new single, “Mind Reader”, complemented by an assortment of covers including Diamond Rio’s “Meet in the Middle”, “John Deere Green” and an all time classic, “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”. The night culminated with a stirring rendition of “Hell of a Night”, which proved to be the theme of the evening.

I’ll be perfectly clear here: Dustin Lynch is one of the best, up-and-coming male artists in the business today. Heck, I’m not even sure I can call him “up-and-coming” anymore. More like one of the best, established country music artists today. From beginning to end, his shows make you want to come back for more every time and I suggest if he’s coming to your area any time soon, that you check him out.

Also, be sure to look him up on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at @dustinlynch.

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I alluded to it earlier, but one of the best moments of the evening took place when Dustin invited a gentlemen during the opening riff of “Cowboys and Angels”. Here I was thinking that the guy was going to talk about his grandparents (hence the theme of the song) because he mentioned them when he first took the stage. Naturally, I was wrong. He soon invited his girlfriend up to the stage and it was pretty clear that we were going to see a marriage proposal. Thankfully, she said yes. Congrats to the two of you (whoever you are) 🙂

As I sit here reminiscing on another great night of country music, I have to give thanks to KRTY. As always, thank you to Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson, Gary Scott Thomas, Randy Jones, Indiana Al, Jamie Jackson, Danika Gurley, Jenna Johnson etc…for once again bringing the best in up-and-coming talent to the South Bay. I’d love to see any other so called “local country station” in the Bay Area try to do that!

BTW…raising a glass to Danika on her last night with KRTY. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and best of luck in Nashville!

Were you at the show? Have you seen Dustin Lynch, Chris Lane or Tyler Rich live? Let me know your thoughts on these guys in the comments section below.

 

 

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