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Dillon Carmichael

Dillon Carmichael

A proud adherent of country music traditions, singer and songwriter Dillon Carmichael is blessed with a rich, deep voice and a talent for finding new wrinkles in the tropes of classic country music. Carmichael's style strikes a sweet spot between the Bakersfield sound of the '60s (embraced by Merle Haggard and Buck Owens) and the outlaw style of the '70s (think Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings), with a dash of Southern rock folded in. The product of a Kentucky family with deep roots in Southern music, Carmichael was performing professionally before he finished high school, and moved to Nashville as a songwriter after he graduated. After releasing his first single in 2017, Carmichael won the attention of fans and critics with his debut album, Hell on an Angel, in October 2018, while the 2020 single, "I Do for You," and his 2021 sophomore effort, Son of A, confirmed his status as a rising country star.

Dillon Carmichael was born in Burgin, a small town in Kentucky, and grew up with a family that was passionate about music. Both of his grandfathers, Harold Carmichael and Harold Montgomery, were professional musicians (the former was a gospel singer and the latter a country picker who appeared on the Grand Ole Opry). Both of Dillon's parents had been singers who often performed in public. And he also had two uncles who rose to fame in country music; John Michael Montgomery enjoyed a handful of hits in the '90s, while Eddie Montgomery was a co-founder of the rowdy, Southern rock-inspired act Montgomery Gentry. Dillon got his first guitar from his father when he was 11 years old, and he taught himself to play. Once he became comfortable with the instrument, teenaged Dillon put together a band with his friends, and they played talent shows and informal gigs around town. The band broke up, and Carmichael struck out on his own, writing songs and playing solo shows at bars throughout Kentucky.

When he was 18, Carmichael's talent came to the attention of a representative of a Nashville publishing house, who offered to strike a deal with Dillon once he graduated from high school. Four days after he got his diploma, Carmichael packed his bags and moved to Nashville, where he signed that publishing contract and began making his way into the Music City music community. As Carmichael honed his talent, his style began to reflect his early influences, which included the home truths of Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings and the outlaw rock of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Eventually, Carmichael found a sympathetic collaborator in producer Dave Cobb, who had developed a reputation for his work with Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, and Chris Stapleton. Working together in the studio, Cobb helped Carmichael cut his debut single, an homage to classic country titled "Old Songs Like That," which was released in October 2017. A second single, "Made to Be a Country Boy," followed in February 2018. The two songs received positive notice in the country music press, as did Carmichael's first full-length album, Hell on an Angel, which was released by Riser House Records in October 2018. The album soon rose to number 12 on the Heatseakers chart (for up-and-coming artists), and peaked at 37 on the independent charts. Two songs from the album, "Dancing Away with My Heart" and "It's Simple," attracted attention on radio and at streaming services, and a non-LP single, 2020's "I Do for You," was an even bigger hit, breaking into the country airplay survey at number 40. As Carmichael's career momentum was on the upswing, he released his 2021 sophomore long-player Son of A, which included two more fan favorites, "Sawin' Logs" and "Hot Beer." ~ Mark Deming

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