Photo: William Basnett

Dylan Gossett

One of the newest golden boys in country music announces 'The Back 40 Tour,' and has new music coming soon to go with it

Not to be hyperbolic, but it’s safe to say the TikTok-to-stadium pipeline did not exist before Dylan Gossett, a 25-year-old singer-songwriter from Austin, TX came along with a song called “Coal.” Mere months after sharing a snippet of the song which was, at that time, unreleased, on the app, in a video now with over six million views, Gossett was added to the support lineup for Morgan’s Wallen’s Minute Maid Park show in Houston, TX.

Earlier this year, he supported Noah Kahan for the Australian leg of his “The Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever) Tour”, and, just a few weeks ago, was out on the road on his own headline tour in support of his new EP Songs In the Gravel, out now.

For His Mental Health 

We sat down in a swanky meeting room at one of Republic Records’ offices in NYC the morning after his first of two sold-out shows at the Mercury Lounge, the stillness and quiet of the room a welcome reprieve from the events of the night before with 250+ jammed into the landmark Houston St. venue.

All the hyperbole and “how does it feel???” of it all is thrown at Gossett at almost every instance these days, but the rising star, whether by his own admission or at the behest of some famous mentors, has quickly learned when to draw the line in the sand and prioritize his mental health.

“I’m very open,” he said. “I talk with my management every day… sometimes I get hyper-focused on things, and they’re very good at reading that. But I can also tell ‘em straight up, ‘Hey, today is just not the day. Unless it has to do directly with the show we have, please just don’t bring up anything about… anything.’” He credits his job in event operations and logistics for F1 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX (a job he landed by repeated attempts at nagging) for allowing him to develop intense problem-solving skills and the ability to manage personal stress levels. He has transferred both traits over to his career in the music industry.

Keeping his inner circle, specifically his family and band, which includes his brother Blake, as close as possible through the madness has been a large proprietor of what keeps him going. “The band is really, really close-knit,” he said. “Everyone is so happy to be with each other. My parents like to follow us around. My wife is always with me… that’s all massive for me. For my mental health.”

“They say pressure makes diamonds…” 

It’d be remiss to not discuss “Coal,” his breakout hit. The tune, like others written by his fellow on-the-rise contemporaries including “Straight and Narrow” by Sam Barber and “Boots in The Bleachers” by Conner Smith, is an impressive mix of vocal and musical rawness, well-crafted storytelling, and a genuine spewing of personal emotions that he was able to, in that moment, articulate in a way he had not done so before: “This game of lifeeeeee plays heavy on my heart/ And love is tough, but loneliness is twice as hard/ And I’ll carry that ‘bout everywhere I go/ And they say pressure makes diamonds/ How the hell am I still coal?”

Despite its success, he doesn’t overembellish the importance of the song or of himself for writing it. In fact, he seems to view it as a mundane experience that just happened to be exactly what he needed. I was kind of just going through a rough patch,” he said. “Of throwing stuff at the wall, nothing is sticking. That’s just how it was. It was easy to write. It kind of feels like a deeper song than what it was, but it really was just about random stuff in life.”

Songs In The Gravel 

His new EP Songs in the Gravel is an ode to the simple life back home… playing music with no expectation and no demand, surrounded by those closest to him. A song like “Somewhere Between,” the ground shakin’, foot-stompin’ acoustic guitar, and banjo-led banger of the project that, due to its vocal difficulty, has him fighting for his life while playing it live, showcases the communal aspect. The family affair of it all. Everything about “Bitter Winds” is more subtle… more insecure and more introspective. Perhaps it’s the song he plays alone down at the water’s edge during a night of restless sleep.

Gossett is now playing these songs on stages across the world. And he’s doing it for strangers who have made their own connections and have adopted the songs, and Gossett himself, into their lives. He is, in a way, bringing the gravel to each city he visits.

“They are both massively fulfilling to me,” he said, referring to both the stage and his at-home playing.“It’s the best experience when you’re with your family and everyone is having a good time and there’s no pressure. I love that. Then, you see the exact opposite side of it when you go play shows. You see all these smiling faces… it’s such a crazy feeling to see people singing your songs that are halfway across the world. It’s very different, but I love both.”

“Back 40” and “Baptized By Rain” 

Songs In The Gravel has barely gotten its sea legs, but there is already new music on the horizon. Just past the midway point of his Mercury Lounge set, Gossett played two new, unreleased songs called “Back 40” and “Baptized By Rain.” Both are sure to be certified standouts of his young catalog. The latter in particular is one to watch out for as it’s performed with the same urgency as “Coal,” but may just be an even more compelling story: “Cussin’ out my name/ Livin’ out your rage/ Make a fist, you start to shove/ I’ll call the sheriff, he’ll call the bluff/ Scared me half to death/ Got me holdin’ my breath/ But for now I’m in this range gettin’ baptized by rain.”

“I’m recording both of those currently,” he said. “I love em’ both. They’re both very different songs. ‘Baptized…’ is more of a story song. The verses are kind of split half in half of what this dude is dreaming of, and then what the reality is. He kind of has an enlightened, spiritual thing at the end.” “Back 40,” likely the more commercially viable of the two musically is a wholesome retelling of him and some old work buddies heading out in the woods after a hard day and simply getting lost in nature.

“The Back 40 Tour”

As Gossett acknowledges and embraces the insanity of the last year by quickly learning how he chooses to both lean into and pull back on the work and information overload of it all, he continues to set the bar higher for what he can accomplish. “I… you know, it’s tough for me. I-my-ok,” he stuttered with a laugh, attempting to express his vision board and his desire to not get too caught up in the regimented nature of the beast. “My goal for my entire life was to be a touring musician, and that’s my career. That was the dream. Everything else is just extra. Even doing these little shows that we’re doing is a dream come true. I am incredibly blessed to be able to do what I do.”

He has Red Rocks in his sights but, for now, the little shows are going to get just a bit bigger. Just this morning, he announced he will be heading back out on the road this fall for another headline run, this time called “The Back 40 Tour.” The 30-city trek includes NYC’s Irving Plaza, LA’s Fonda Theatre, and Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium.

See the dates here:

 

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