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Rising country musician Dustin Lynch just wants to make you dance

"Seein' Red," the latest single from Dustin Lynch, captures the current state of its hot-blooded singer-songwriter as his star rises in country music.

"I'm talking red-hot red dress hanging on your hips / I'm talking backseat heartbeat, pounding in my chest," Lynch sings over a slinking groove and a driving guitar riff.

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It's safe to say the 31-year-old from a tiny town in Tennessee is enjoying the ride.

"Right now, I'm just having a blast on the road, enjoying doing what I do for a living," Lynch said on the phone recently from a tour stop in Phoenix, Ariz. "I'm single, and just living in the moment."

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Since introducing himself to mainstream country music in early 2012 with his single "Cowboys and Angels," Lynch has steadily won over fans with his versatility and knack for earworm choruses. He's found success straddling the genre's increasingly blurry lines of the conventional Nashville sound ("She Cranks My Tractor") and the more recent trend of pop- and R&B-influenced radio hits ("Mind Reader").

His next album, due sometime next year, will build on that duality, said Lynch, who plays Merriweather Post Pavilion on Sunday as a part of WPOC's Weekend in the Country. He's "right in the middle" of recording it, and said he hopes to finish by February.

"It's been fun going in and knowing we can paint between those two lines that are a long ways apart," Lynch said. "It's going to be a very diverse album."

On Friday night in Baltimore, Luke Bryan performed a lean set at Royal Farms Arena that leaned heavily on his party anthems.

The forthcoming release will be Lynch's third album in a career that began in 2003, when he moved from his hometown of Tullahoma, Tenn., (population less than 20,000) to Nashville to attend Lipscomb University. He honed his skills as a songwriter and performer the way so many did before him — playing gigs all over the city and surrounding areas.

Lynch eventually signed a deal with Broken Bow Records, and released the opposites-attract ballad "Cowboys and Angels" to positive reviews. His 2012 self-titled debut album and its 2014 follow-up, "Where It's At," both reached the top 15 of the Billboard 200 album chart.

Lynch has noticed his singing abilities have grown as his audiences have, too.

"We've been on tour for years now, and I think as a band, we're gelling a lot better than we ever have," he said. "I'm a lot stronger singer. A lot more comfortable."

Opening on the road for country superstars — including Luke Bryan, most recently — has taught Lynch to have confidence as a performer, he said. He has embraced "not being too calculated."

"I really have become a lot more comfortable with who I am on stage, and that allows me to have a better connection with the crowd that's in front of me," Lynch said, "and not be so caught up in the calculations of what I'm supposed to say when or how I'm supposed to move where."

That confidence applies to the songs he's been writing and what he's chosen by other songwriters. He's keeping most concrete details to himself, but said "Seein' Red," which was released in June, is indicative of the next record's direction.

"It's a very sexy album, and I think 'Seein' Red' has that very infectious, kind of sexy groove and lyrics," he said. "It's about a girl you can't get out of your head and just makes you want to dance on somebody. I think if I can continue that trend with the rest of the album, we'll be in good shape."

There's still time for the album to head in various ways, but one thing is certain, Lynch said: His only concern is putting out the music he wants to hear and play, which includes pulling from Top 40 influences. If that makes country's old guard bristle, this self-described "huge fan of Drake" won't lose any sleep over it.

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"I really don't care if somebody tells me I'm not country," Lynch said. "Hate me if you'd like, but my goal is to make music that I love. Let people label it what they want. I just want you to dig it. I just want you to turn it up and dance to it."

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