Sounds Like: Southern country-rock, sung with a honeyed croon rather than a piss-and-vinegar bark
For Fans of: Randy Travis' baritone, Sturgill Simpson's accent, Blackberry Smoke's swampy stomp
Why You Should Pay Attention: Raised in small-town Kentucky, Carmichael cut his teeth fronting the house band at Austin City Saloon, the Lexington-area honky-tonk where his two uncles – Montgomery Gentry's Eddie Montgomery and solo artist John Michael Montgomery – kicked off their own careers. He kept himself busy offstage, too, landing a publishing deal while still in high school and moving to Nashville shortly after graduation. Produced by Dave Cobb, his solo debut, due this summer, is stocked with songs that nod to Outlaw country while still making room for Carmichael's stunning, standout voice.
He Says: "This album lives somewhere between outlaw country and Southern rock. I'm looking to guys like Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd and David Allan Coe. That's the kind of music I'll sing for the rest of my life."
Hear for Yourself: With help from pedal-steel legend Robby Turner, Carmichael sings about life's uncomplicated pleasures in his first single, "It's Simple." R.C.