Lynch returns to West Michigan to play the Local Spins Wednesdays series at SpeakEZ Lounge in Grand Rapids tonight. Check out a Local Spins video of a new Lynch song.
THE ARTIST: Kari Lynch
THE MUSIC: Modern country with a twist
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HER: 8 p.m. Wednesday (Aug. 24) at SpeakEZ Lounge in Grand Rapids, with Shiny, Shiny Black; 7 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 25) at Music in the Park in Grand Ledge; 5 p.m. Friday at Coral Gables in Saugatuck
For many singer-songwriters, leaving the safety of a supportive music community behind to plunge into the maelstrom of Nashville’s music scene would be a daunting, nerve-wracking experience.
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For Grand Rapids’ Kari Lynch, it’s been a “refreshing” adventure that’s bolstered her resolve to work harder on her songs and her career.
“It’s super-inspiring,” insists Lynch, who formally made the move from West Michigan to Nashville last September. “You get down there and everyone’s just working really hard and there’s just such an air about Nashville. I think it makes you work harder and it makes me want to write better songs. All around, it’s kind of a good, refreshing vibe.”
Lynch, long considered one of the rising stars of West Michigan’s country scene, actually has been making monthly trips to Nashville for three years, making connections and trying to “immerse” herself in that gargantuan music scene that’s filled with ultra-talented musicians and writers.
“You go and watch someone (play in Nashville) and you say, well, I either want to go home and practice 13 hours straight, or quit and never play again,” she joked in an interview earlier this year. “That’s what the city does to you. If you look at that as a positive thing and look at it as a way of making your work ethic better, that’s why you move there – to get better, to sort of be a little fish in a big sea and make your way.”
For an emerging artist, Lynch has made her way quite well, evidenced by the opportunities she’s landed to open shows for major country stars, including opening earlier this year (Jan. 28) at Kalamazoo’s State Theatre for country singer and past “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery.
‘GREAT EXPERIENCE’ OPENING FOR NATIONAL COUNTRY STARS
“It’s such a great experience. It puts you in front of new listeners who maybe haven’t heard your music before but came for the headliner, obviously,” she says, noting that despite the move to Music City, West Michigan will always be her home base. “It’s nice to be part of a bigger show like that.”
The McCreery concert came as Lynch put the finishing touches on a new studio album she’s recording with producer Andy Sheridan (Hunter Hayes, Whosoever South) at Sound Emporium in Nashville – a project that includes several songs co-written with other artists. It also features some of the West Michigan musicians she’s played with for years, including guitarist Ryder Jones with whom she also collaborated on some tracks for the new album. (The album, “Little Games,” has since been released.)
PODCAST: Local Spins Live with Kari Lynch
On Wednesday, Lynch debuted one of those new songs, “Sweetheart,” (co-written with Nashville’s Brian Donkers) during Local Spins Live on News Talk 1340 AM (WJRW). Listen to the entire radio podcast here, with a video of her exclusive Local Spins performance below.
Subscribing to the notion that co-writing “makes you a better writer,” Lynch believes her music is “always evolving because I’m always allowing myself to learn from other people. … There are songs when it’s good to bring another brain to the table and bounce ideas off of each other.”
Consequently, the new album incorporates some changes in approach and represents a step forward for Lynch, who insists it still will reflect the sound that fans have come to love.
“We’ve always had this rock edge to our music and it’s always been a little different, not totally modern country, but sort of fits modern country,” she says, adding that she told Sheridan she’s aiming for an album where “traditional country meets Western meets ‘70s rock meets singer-songwriter.”
Lynch hopes to release the album after she and Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Matt Gabriel complete a joint U.S. tour in April – travels that will take them from Michigan through the Midwest out to California.
Rather than thinking so much about what might make the next radio single, the singer says she’s instead tried to focus on producing “good songs” for the new album regardless of trends.
The idea, Lynch says, is to “just make an album that’s really honest and I feel really good about the songwriting and the music that’s on it.”
Find more information about Lynch and her upcoming tour schedule at karilynch.com.
VIDEO: Kari Lynch, “Sweetheart” (Local Spins Live)
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