Though not self-written, this Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Kyle Fishman penned rocker is biographical. At the chorus it becomes a love song.
She's my with-me-to-the-end girl, my turn-it-up-to-10 girl
She can have anybody that she wants or be anywhere she wants to be
She loves a small town boy like me
Lynch said: "I grew up in the small town of Tullahoma, Tennessee, and that town made me who I am. It's somewhere I long to always go back to and visit … my family is still there. So this song reminds me of my hometown and what true love really is - and that's being in love with the real in somebody and not the fake."
Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip are lifelong friends who along with Dallas Davidson form the Peach Pickers. Kyle Fishman is a young writer in Nashville who works primarily in building audio tracks. Fishman is signed to a deal with Dallas Davidson, who introduced him to his Peach Pickers colleagues hoping they would click.
It was Hayslip who had the original idea for a song titled "Small Town Boy Like Me," and he started singing the bones of his idea over Fishman's contemporary sounding track. Hayslip told Taste of Country
that he and Akins drew the "Small Town Boy" lyrics straight from their own experiences and within a couple of hours they'd completed the song and come up with a demo.
"It's kinda two worlds meeting," Hayslip reflected. "Kyle's a young, 20-something kid from California, and me and Rhett grew up in South Georgia. We've been that kid in that song. We've been a small town boy. So it's just two worlds coming together to make something really cool."
Dustin Lynch's love interest in the video is played by Australian actress Claire Holt. She is best known for her role of Rebekah Mikaelson on The CW series The Vampire Diaries and its spin-off series The Originals.
"She taught me a lot of things about being on cameras. We had a great day. It was a one-day shoot out there - beautiful day... It's all about being in the moment," Lynch he told reporters. "It's all about that moment, it's all about that feeling, just being with that person you truly love and adore, and that's why I fell in love with the song."
As soon as he'd heard the demo, Dustin Lynch decided to record the Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Kyle Fishman penned tune. He recalled to reporters:
"It's a song that I heard rolling down the road … I heard 'Small Town Boy' right after Thanksgiving or Christmas break a couple years ago. I'll say, I heard it then because Rhett, Ben and Kyle wrote it on the Farm Tour - the Luke Bryan Tour - which is usually October-ish. So, probably, I think it was November they sent it to me.
I was actually going to deer hunt. I remember hearing it and then getting to my hunting lease, and the whole time I'm sitting in the tree stand, I'm like, 'Man, I can't wait to get back and listen to that song again.' On the way home, I was playing it over and over, and I was like, 'Man, this is really special and cool.'"
The song was written by Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Kyle Fishman on a day when they had hung out in Knoxville until around four in the morning. Akins recorded his demo vocals from the bunk. "I sang the vocal in one pass, and it was terrible," he recalled to The Boot. "I told Kyle that when we got home, I would come back in and do a real vocal. Before we had time to do that, though, it was already pitched to Dustin."
Producer Zach Crowell, liked the laid-back vocals, and tried to get Lynch to replicate the sound. "There was something about that vocal he liked, even though I thought it was terrible," Akins said. "They actually made Dustin lay on the couch. So, what you hear on the radio is actually him lying on the couch singing, trying to sound hungover."
"They wanted it to be less perfect than it could be: slow, laid-back and Southern," he added. "He was trying to sound not so perfect. I guess he was trying to sound like a small-town boy."