By John Coffelt, Staff Writer
Staff photo by John Coffelt -- Country singer Dustin Lynch performs at the 41A Music Festival in Tullahoma.

To borrow the sentiment of one of local singer Dustin Lynch’s songs, the returning star had his name all over the final performance of the 41A Music Festival in Tullahoma. Playing Saturday to an audience crammed into the small, impromptu parking lot-arena, the returning artist put on a show that equaled the intensity of the crowd welcoming the returning son. Face aglow, Lynch told the crowd, “I took the people from the label to all the places we used to hangout.” Lynch is quite a showman, and Saturday’s show seemed to be the culmination of his hitherto musical career.  Lynch, in a large cowboy hat and trademark denim shirt, worked the crowd with songs from his self-titled album and covered other classics. One cover that especially thrilled the audience was his rendition of Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places,” which included a pause to urge everyone to drain his or her drinks. Many of Lynch’s songs gather material from the artist’s early life and his country state of mind. So with special relish, Lynch explained to the crowd the origins of many of his songs. This time to a crowd that knew just what it was to cruise around Sonic or to eat at the Blue Gill Grill that and the marina that inspired his song “Rock you Sweet.” Other fans were from farther away. One poster from the crowd said the fan had driven over seven hours to “cruise Jackson St.”

Lynch accepts the key to the city from Tullahoma Mayor Lane Curlee.

Lynch’s appearance was in support of the new Dustin Lynch album. The Tullahoma Kiwanis Club organized the free event. Opening for Lynch was local band Bad Monkey, featuring lead vocalist Jeff Banks, Mike Smotherman on drums, lead and rhythm guitarist Rob McMahan and bassist Stephen Scott. Saturday, lead guitarist Pike Saunders was missing from the lineup.