With a surprising musical background, Devin Dawson has taken country music by storm, much like the Dark Horse for which his debut album is named. The up-and-comer is everything that country music never knew it was missing.

Twenty-eight years old and from Orangevale, Calif., Dawson cites Credence Clearwater Revival and Alan Jackson among his musical inspirations. He spent his first few years in Nashville writing music for other artists, but in January, he released his first major-label studio album. Scroll through the photo gallery below to find out five reasons why Dawson is one of The Boot's artists to watch in 2018.

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