Exclusive: Dustin Lynch on Jelly Roll’s “Rocket Ship Ride to Superstardom” and What Led to Their New Collaboration “Chevrolet”

With his new album Killed the Cowboy, country artist Dustin Lynch sought to craft a project that pushed him further creatively than ever before. Released in September, his sixth record features a mix of personal co-writes and tracks penned by some of Nashville’s most accomplished songsmiths.

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Lynch’s latest single from the project, “Chevrolet,” is an upbeat collaboration with Jelly Roll, one of country music’s biggest breakout artists of 2023. Initially penned by Mentor Williams and transformed by Jessi Alexander, Hunter Phelps, and Chase McGill, “Chevrolet” is a countrified reimagining of the soulful classic “Drift Away,” made famous by Dobie Gray. 

During a recent in-depth interview with American Songwriter, Lynch opened up about what led him to recruit his labelmate and longtime friend for the track.

“Jelly Roll and I connecting is a little silver lining of not getting to tour for a couple of years because of the pandemic,” Lynch explained. “I was paying attention to what he was doing on social media, and the connection he was having with his fan base was huge. We have a mutual friend, Zach Crowell, who’s our producer, and we were all talking about the same stuff. ‘How do we continue to engage?’ ‘Are we going back in to make music?’

“Jelly and I were just in the kitchen at the same time cooking, and this song came across,” he added. “I’m so honored to carry the torch further with the original version of ‘Drift Away’ with Jelly and I’s new interpretation of a new lyric with such a classic melody.”

[RELATED: Jelly Roll Reveals How Time as Independent Rapper Was Catalyst for Country Music Success]

The track, which debuted on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart on Saturday (December 23), came together just as Jelly Roll broke into the mainstream with his genre-bending seventh album, Whitsitt Chapel. That record went to No. 1 on the Rock and Independent Albums charts and No. 2 on the Country Albums chart earlier this year and has unexpectedly made the longtime rapper and vocalist a household name. 

For Lynch, who’s gearing up for an extensive 2024 headlining tour of his own, the creation of “Chevrolet” feels serendipitous.

“This all happened before Jelly really hit the ground running with his country album, and now he’s on a rocket ship ride to superstardom,” said Lynch. “I’m just so blessed to have a song with a friend that I like to party with and who is doing great things for Nashville.”

Dustin Lynch (L) photo by John Medina/Getty Images, Jelly Roll (R) photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

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