Hometown Whisky Tour With Dustin Lynch Chatting Small Town Roots And Big City Dreams
Thanks to the George Dickel Whisky team, I headed down to Tullahoma, TN for an intimate tour of their distillery and a sweet porch concert with country star and Tullahoma native, Dustin Lynch.
The Whisky Tour
I'll be honest, I don't know much about whisky, so the entire tour was really interesting. The distillery was built in 1957, and has remained unchanged since then. It's the largest non-computer controlled distillery in the United States, and they remain true to their roots having someone at every step of the whisky process. Something that stood out throughout the tour was the way the employees took such pride in their work, and their attention to detail. In fact, that level of detail and passion to stay true to making the best tasting whisky is what lead their decision in not switching to a hefty computerized process. They employ 5 times more people than a similarly sized distillery that's running on computer machinery. Their slogan, "handmade the hard way," reigns true as you walk through the distillery and observe each step in making the perfect George Dickel whisky.
"We have to build that process, and then trust that we got that right," our tour guide said as we wrapped up the tour. He referenced 'we know how to make the best George Dickel whisky, so that's what they do.' They don't imitate anything, they just stay in their lane of making the best Dickel whisky they know how to. I actually had him repeat the phrase when referencing to the process, because it was so simple, yet so true in life and in chasing your dreams.
"We have to build that process, and then trust that we got that right."
You have to build the process, do the work, and then trust that it's right. You just have to just keep showing up for the process, knowing and believing that it's right, true, and good. Good whisky takes years, similar to the time it takes for some dreams to come true. No one quite sees all the steps that are apart of the process, it's grueling, there's a lot of heat, some refining involved, heck and a whole lot of patience, but you've got to trust the process. Sometimes we get caught in insecurity or fear in wanting to change things, wanting to not be patient, wanting things to happen in just a year, or instantaneously. However, we've got to trust the process and know that what we have to offer is good, better than good, great.
Dustin Lynch recalled when he first came to Nashville, "When you’re a newly signed artist, you think you’re the bomb,” but then Lynch joked, "you wake up and realize there are 100 other bombs out there, and you’re left with the crumbs at the bottom of the barrel..."
Lynch has risen to the top though, touring with artists like Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, and Brad Paisley. He's come a long way from sweet, small town Tullahoma, Tennessee. In fact, on the red carpet of the 50th CMA awards, Lynch brought his mom as a date. I asked her what it meant to see her son achieving his dreams, and the moment actually brought Lynch to tears. (Don't worry Lynch isn't the only one who cries in interviews, I made Garth Brooks cry the week before this in an interview about recording The Dance.) Watch that clip below:
Mrs. Lynch told me on the carpet for Womanista, "He's living his dream, and that's all a parent can ask for."
There's something so special that happens when you set out to achieve these crazy, big, outlandish dreams, and you see them come true. There's nothing quite like it, and there's also nothing quite like returning back to your hometown in the midst of it all. No matter how far you travel, or the dreams you get to achieve, there's just nothing like that feeling of returning home to the ones who have seen your dream from the start. #MamaIMadeIt
In fact, the country star told the tiny crowd, 'man this is fun. I never get to play shows like this.'
The 32-year-old kicked the night off by playing, "Cowboys and Angels," and talked about how this one song really catapulted his career.
"My grandparents are highschool sweethearts, my parents are highschool sweethearts, my sister and brother-in-law are highschool sweethearts, and I'm currently single. I'm not kidding, I don't think I'm going to end up with a highschool sweetheart, so I broke that train. Sorry, mom. This is a song about their love stories"
"When I wrote this one, I thought this one feels different. I don't know what it is about it, but this one feels special. Fast forward years later, and it's our first single that went to country radio, and it ends up being the song that changed my life."
Lynch took requests from the audience, and even played one of his brand new songs that hasn't been released yet, "Love Me Or Leave Me Alone," which brought the room to a silence with his heartfelt lyrics.
The night was a sweet one, thanks George Dickel for the hospitality, and Dustin Lynch for the tunes, proving no matter what stage you play there's just something about returning to your roots. An attribute that George Dickel and Dustin Lynch both know well.
Check Out Dustin Lynch's Small Town Boy: Here
George Dickel Whiskey: Here