Dylan Scott can’t tell a lie, even when it might serve him to do so. The 16 songs on his new Livin’ My Best Life album were either inspired by his life or — if he wasn’t the primary songwriter — describe his life.
“I can’t record or write a song that’s not me. I just couldn’t go on stage and sing it every night if it wasn’t me,” he says.
Track No. 7 is “Boy I Was Back Then,” a story song from the perspective of a guy whose life turned around once he met the woman of his dreams. Scott co-wrote this one, but there’s a problem: His wife, Blair, has been with him since both were about 15, so she definitely knew the boy he was back then. But also …
“I was a good kid. I was a really good kid,” the 31-year-old “New Truck” singer insists, laughing. Sure, he got detention once or twice for oversleeping, but that’s about it. That lyric about the cops knowing his name?
“The cops did know my name. We were all friends,” he confesses.
Let’s call it a songwriter’s truth. Others on the album are much more personal and real — “Lay Down With You” is an example. Watch Scott’s acoustic performance of the love ballad as you listen to this interview. It’s a tender approach that might surprise anyone who just knows him from radio singles like “New Truck” and “My Girl.”
Scott talked to Taste of Country Nights host Evan Paul ahead of the release of the Livin’ My Best Life album, which is available for purchase and streaming now. Questions were edited for clarity.
What’s been your best and worst day in this business since you moved to Nashville 12 years ago?
Man, I’m living my best days right now. No doubt I’m living my best days. Worst day was … there was a time early on, before “My Girl” and the success we had. I literally … I questioned myself, like, “Man, am I really supposed to be in this town doing this?” My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, was like, “You’re supposed to be there. Stay there. Do your thing.”
“My dad worked for the company, so I think it was one of them deals where my dad’s like, ‘Put him to work so he’ll quit and go to Nashville and do something with his life.'”
Did you ever consider reality TV?
No. There was a point early on where I was like, “Maybe I should go try American Idol or something.” But I never did it. I just stayed the course. I stayed in town writing music and recording and getting out on the road and playing shows.
If people only knew you from your radio singles and they heard “Lay Down With You,” they might be stunned. Would you have been able to record something like that five or 10 years ago?
Yeah, I was probably more apt to do that five or 10 years ago. I grew up, my dad played with Freddy Fender back in the day. So I grew up listening to old school country music. Keith Whitley is my hero. But I found out real quick at the time I moved to Nashville, that was not the sound. So I had to weave through that and find out who I was.
We got “My Girl” and “Hooked” and “Nobody” and all that stuff. I think it’s really cool now to be at a spot to where I can showcase that and show people that, “Hey, I grew up on country music. This is it.” “Lay Down With You,” that’s straight up country music in my opinion.
Country music has shifted back to that ’90s sound. Do you think we’ll ever get to, like, the pop ’90s sound?
I hope not (laughs). I think that was a weird point, but you know what, you never know.
You used to work construction back in the day. Do you ever go back to see the boys?
No. Not really. I mean I do run across them from time to time and I say, ‘What’s up?” but no, that’s (sigh) I wouldn’t say I’d never do it again, but that was something else.
What was your job?
I worked in paper mills. They had me on a jackhammer busting concrete. My dad worked for the company, so I think it was one of them deals where my dad’s like, “Put him to work so he’ll quit and go to Nashville and do something with his life.”
What’s that like running a jackhammer?
It sucks. And you would think … let the thing do the work. But I’m telling my hands — I can still feel it right now. All the tendons in your hands and the muscles in your hands. I did it for two days, they were so sore I could barely squeeze my hands together.
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Today’s country music stars owe a debt of gratitude to the legends who formed and cultivated the genre, starting in the early 20th century. These 50 classic country artists remain relevant today. Some developed a style that’s emulated on today’s country radio. Others set a bar for vocal talent or songwriting skill.