Devin Dawson is set to release his first major-label studio album, Dark Horse, in early January. While the singer-songwriter has made big waves with his single "All on Me," the rest of the album holds just as much promise.

Dawson's upbringing near Folsom State Prison in California led to a lifelong attachment to Johnny Cash and the country music world; the singer cites Credence Clearwater Revival and Alan Jackson among his musical inspirations. Dawson spent his first few years in Nashville writing music for other artists, but the witty lyricist and talented musician brings all of his skills to the table for Dark Horse, which showcases his musical diversity and style.

Read on to learn more about Dawson's debut disc.

The Title

Dawson's debut album is titled Dark Horse.

"When it came time to choose a title, nobody talked about other options -- we knew immediately it should share the same name as the track "Dark Horse,"" Dawson reveals in a press release. "Despite being written after the album was ‘finished,’ I felt it was absolutely necessary to include this song. "Dark Horse" captures every corner of my heart, everything I am and everything I believe in.”

The Release Date

Dark Horse is set for release on Jan. 19. It is available now for pre-order.

The Record Label

Dawson's Dark Horse album will be released on the Atlantic Records / Warner Music Nashville label, which he signed with in 2016.

The Album Cover

Warner Music Nashville
Warner Music Nashville

The album cover for Dark Horse is a black-and-white drawing of Dawson surrounded by icons of his art and inspiration. The cover uses 1960s mosaic-style imagery.

The Producer

Dawson enlisted the help of Nashville heavy-hitter Jay Joyce to produce his Dark Horse album. Joyce has worked with country superstars including Eric Church, Little Big Town and Brothers Osborne in the past.

The Single

"All on Me" went to country radio in April of 2017. Upbeat and sentimental, it offers a glimpse of Dawson's songwriting ability and lyrical ingenuity without some of the darker tones of his other songs.

"You've got my number, you can call on me / If you’re in trouble, put the fall on me / When you’re mad, you can take it out on me / When it don’t add up, you can count on me," Dawson sings in the chorus of "All on Me." "When you're low, come get high on me / Make it slow, take your time on me / Say, ‘I need to let it out, come lay on me’ / When it gets heavy, put the weight on me / Baby, put it all on me ..."

"I'm such a lyric dude," Dawson tells Taste of Country, "I usually go more raw, vulnerable, but to have a positive, awesome, sunny song like that and still satisfy my lyrical heart -- I'm glad we came out of the gate with it."

The Songs

Dawson takes a melancholy turn from the happy-go-lucky "All on Me" in another track from Dark Horse, "Secondhand Hurt." That song takes the same lyrical genius and applies it to a self-inflicted heartache.

"If I was the one who broke your heart / Why am I so torn apart?" Dawson sings in "Secondhand Hurt." "If i was the one who lit our love and let it burn / Why am I breathing in this secondhand hurt?"

The title track of Dark Horse is another introspective glimpse into Dawson's inner world. In the mellow and mid-tempo tune, he sings, "People always ask  / Why I wear black / Where I get my style / And why I never smile in pictures ... No, it ain't that I'm self-conscious / I'm just conscious of myself ... No, I ain't no white knight / I'm a little more dark horse."

"Asking for a Friend," meanwhile, is a slow and sensual request to a girl, in which Dawson references himself in the third person. His classic rock and traditional country influences shine through in the sound and style of this song.

Watch Devin Dawson Sing "Asking for a Friend" in Nashville

Devin Dawson, Dark Horse Track Listing:

1. “Dip” (Devin Dawson / Barry Dean / Luke Laird)
2. “All on Me” (Devin Dawson / Jacob Durrett / Austin Smith)
3. “Asking for a Friend” (Devin Dawson / Connie Harrington / Brett Beavers)
4. “Second to Last” (Devin Dawson / Laura Veltz / Mark Trussell)
5. “Symptoms” (Devin Dawson / Austin Smith)
6. “I Don't Care Who Sees” (Devin Dawson / Austin Smith / Jake Mitchell / Jacob Durrett)
7. “Secondhand Hurt” (Devin Dawson / Will Bowen)
8. “Placebo” (Devin Dawson / Jordan Reynolds / David Hodges)
9. “War Paint” (Devin Dawson / Clint Lagerberg / Chris DuBois)
10. “I Can’t Trust Myself” (Devin Dawson / Jillian Jacqueline / Brad Warren / Brett Warren)
11. “Prison” (Devin Dawson / Seth Ennis / Josh Kerr)
12. “Dark Horse” (Devin Dawson / Andy Albert / Andrew DeRoberts)

The Tour

Dawson's upcoming tour dates can be found on his website.

What Other Albums Are Coming Out in 2018?

Who Is Devin Dawson?

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