Updated: Jul 6, 2022
I have a special place in my heart for singer/songwriters and greatly respect independent artists. I understand the work that goes into scheduling shows, answering emails, returning calls, exploring new venues, introducing yourself to managers, and trying to keep up on social media posts. Of course, there's also making time to write and record music. It's a juggling act at times.
I recently got a chance to talk with Dustin Herring about his career, show schedule, and of course his new album released on May 10th titled ACQUIRED TASTE. After releasing several singles in between albums, the excitement of a full album release was quite apparent in our conversation. Dustin said if he “had one chance to make a real record, what would be me? ....this would be it.” He worked with three producers on this project starting with Dave Smith, whom Dustin has a good history with and favors more of a ’90s country sound, and adds his talent into Alabama Clay. Another producer Dustin used on this album is guitarist, producer, and longtime friend, Jake Curry, (who also plays guitar and produces for Priscilla Block). Curry helped bridge the traditional country base to a modern sound for this record. Robbie Artress was the third producer lending his talent to complete Acquired Taste. That trio of talent sounds like a hit in itself.
Dustin is an Alabama native and an Auburn graduate, which is where he discovered an interest in playing guitar and eventually writing songs. He graduated with a degree in agricultural business economics and a Masters's Degree in plant pathology. After teaching in graduate school, he left to go to the Mississippi Delta where he began working for a research company. Herring continued in a career there and grew deeper into writing songs and getting songs cut by other artists. Dustin moved to Nashville about ten years ago to pursue a music career full-time and is making that busy touring life a success. I wondered if he missed that old lifestyle, his answer was genuine and heartfelt, "I used to sit on that tractor and think about writing songs I don't hardly ever sit on a stage and miss a tractor."
The lyrical inspiration and the base of most of these songs are real-life situations and were easy for Dustin to write with a great level of authenticity to the storytelling side of the songs. I immediately heard some familiar traditional sounds that I would compare to Mark Chesnutt, Tracy Lawrence, and Kenny Chesney ringing through the chords and vocal style of this record. I like to guess which artists are in the listening catalogs of other artists. He confirmed that the artists I thought of were in his catalog, among other favorites like Jamey Johnson, who is understandably a cowrite goal for Dustin, especially after opening shows for him and experiencing his style and stage presence.
Acquired Taste has 10 songs included with the bookends featuring (his) Paw Paw in the introduction and conclusion. The song selection for this record has a good variety of storytelling options for a listener to enjoy. There are edgy stories coming through which bring me to Same Devil Different Demon and then Half a Heart resonated with me immediately upon listening and I think that it will with many people. There are break-up, lost-love songs, and deep thinking songs (It's Me Again Jesus), and fun ones including one with a song giving a nod to none other than Willie Nelson in Myself Willie.
Thank you Dustin for taking the time to chat with me about your life and album, I thoroughly enjoy listening to it!
until next time,
In a country minute
Acquired Taste's full tracklist (available on all streaming platforms, click buttons below)
Alabama Clay Captain Morgan Monday Morning
Half a Heart It's Me Again Jesus
Same Devil Different Demon Myself Willie
Calls for a Drink What I Always Knew
Horseshoes and Hand Grenades Take the Bad with the Good
Dustin Herring has tour dates set through the year through the south and southwest.