The Before and After of Devin Dawson

Slum Touring Helped Pay His Dues

Devin Dawson has paid his dues. Not necessarily in country music, but they are paid nonetheless.

His are paid in full, thanks to years of what he calls slum touring, for 300 nights a year, for five years (That is 1,500 shows, if anyone is counting.).

“We were literally playing heavy metal, screaming, super-fast, technical death metal,” Dawson told People of his life before he committed to country music. His road life was made up of making $150 a night, 13-hour drives and sleeping in a van with a bunch of dudes.

“I wouldn’t trade it for the world — it helped me find my perspective — but I grew up listening to country and that’s how I learned how to write songs. I had always done that on the side, just to please my own heart and mind, and eventually that took over more of my heart than the band,” he said.

And at first, he said he just wanted to write for others artists, because Dawson was tired of being all about Dawson. “I needed a break from that kind of artist, like, ‘Listen to me. Watch me. Share me. Buy me. Me, me, me, me,'” he explained, saying that for him, songwriting was a way to stay creative but also stay stationary.

But not so stationary that he couldn’t go on the road when Tim McGraw and Faith Hill asked him to be part of their current Soul2Soul tour. Watch the video of Dawson’s “All on Me” that first piqued McGraw and Hill’s curiosity.

All On Me (Official Video) by Devin Dawson on VEVO.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.