In 2017, Dustin Lynch had a career-making hit with "Small Town Boy," a platinum-selling single that sat atop Billboard's Country Airplay chart for a month. The song and another chart-topping single, "Seein' Red," were released in advance of Lynch's third album, Current Mood.

  The album hit No. 2 on the Billboard Country Album chart when it was released last September and stayed on the charts for a year after its release. Lynch's latest single, the non-album "Good Girl," has been steadily climbing the airplay chart since its release in May (it recently hit its highest mark yet on Billboard's Country Music charts, ranking No. 8) and he has been playing to more people than ever on the road.

  What's more, this past September, Lynch was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

  "It's been a great year, no doubt about it," Lynch says. "It comes from working hard and setting goals, meeting goals. But I think it's also (about) putting out the right music at the right time."

  After landing the main support slots on tours headlined by Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban and Florida Georgia Line, Lynch spent the summer playing festivals and doing headlining dates. He co-headed a run with Cole Swindell. And his Very Hot Summer Tour with Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins and Russell Dickerson begins in late May, finding its way to Atlanta in August.

  The "co-headlining" status meant Lynch has more time on stage than the 45-minute slots he does as a support act. While getting the chance to introduce himself to fans of a bigger act was a great opportunity for Lynch, the shorter sets somewhat limited the amount of songs he could fit into those shows.

"We've had enough hits that the majority of the time we're up there is playing hits," he says of the support slots. "We (could) introduce a couple new songs, but you've got to play the hits."

  On the current tour dates, Lynch should be able to incorporate at least a couple of album tracks from Current Mood and his two previous studio albums into his show. The songs on the album have been almost universally seen as the best Lynch has recorded, connecting with listeners more directly and personally than his previous efforts.

  "That comes with my growth as a songwriter, my growth even as a person, living a little bit," says Lynch, who has seven co-writing credits on Current Mood. "Life has changed, relationships have happened and I've gotten more comfortable as an artist. One thing I finally figured out is, if I've felt it, if I've lived it, there's no reason to be afraid to talk about it - everybody else has, too.

  "'What I've learned is when I've let somebody in too much, too close, that's where the magic happens. That (realization) opened me up as a songwriter."

  Lynch's progression as a songwriter has been just one aspect of his overall professional growth spurt, as he's gone from promising upstart to consistent hitmaker.