Over the past couple of years country music has seen a few new artists experience breakthrough years right out of the gates. Artists like The Band Perry and Thompson Square have become overnight country music sensations. Now, Broken Bow Records hopes they found another one of those breakthrough artists in their new male vocalist, Dustin Lynch. His debut single, “Cowboys and Angels,” is currently being played on radio stations around the country, but is the song the correct choice to introduce him to country fans?
I, personally, am going to answer my own question with a no.
Simply put, “Cowboys and Angels” doesn’t offer country listeners enough to be excited about. The ballad’s production is painfully boring with the lackluster blend of acoustic and steel guitars that could easily put someone to sleep. It tries to become slightly dramatic during the chorus and the song’s bridge with the addition of electric guitars and fiddle, but even then it still isn’t enough to generate any sort of buzz. I’m not exactly sure what Lynch’s artistic style and preference is, but I think this song’s production is too “safe” to be able to make any sort of splash at country radio.
Dustin evidently focused more on being a songwriter than a performing artist early on in his budding career. So it comes as no surprise that he, along with Tim Nichols and Josh Leo, wrote the lyrics for this song. Once again, though, words like “boring,” “mediocre,” “average” come to mind simply because there is nothing new presented here. We’ve heard the theme about how a bad guy (in this case, cowboys) and a good girl (“angels”) seemingly find a way to come together despite the opposite personalities. Here, the theme and message is simply restated in a different way with absolutely nothing new added to the mix. Even the metaphor of “cowboys” and “angels” has been used before.
It’s one thing for a song’s production and lyrics to be boring, but once an artist delivers a vocal performance to match, then the song is pretty much doomed. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Dustin does here. He delivers the song without the slightest hint of emotion or soul that makes the listener believe what he’s singing about. This is the type of vocal performance a songwriter would deliver on a demo recording that they pitch to artists. It’s a shame because I think Dustin has a pretty strong country voice and tone, but he doesn’t show it to its full potential here.
This is a frustrating single to review because as an artist Dustin Lynch should have everything going for him. He has a decent voice that is perfect for country music and he is clearly a relatively good looking guy which allows him to be easily marketable. Unfortunately for Lynch it takes more than good looks and a good voice to become a country music star. You also need to release strong music to back up any potential you may have to become a star, and “Cowboys and Angels” clearly misses the mark.