AP NEWS

Carmichael brings small-town groove to country

April 5, 2019

Country star Justin Moore is returning to Huntington on Saturday, May 4, touring in support of the upcoming release in late July of his acclaimed new album Late Nights and Longnecks. His show at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena will also feature the up-and-coming country roots artist Dillon Carmichael.

Moore is staying true to the Tri-state area by returning for another show while other more high profile acts may pass over our smaller market. One reason he is coming back is the positive and fun response he received when he last performed here two years ago.

Another reason is that Moore grew up in the small town of Poyen, Arkansas, went to Nashville to establish his career and then moved back to the same small town he grew up in. He appreciates small town life, small town shows and small town people.

The same is true for opening act Dillon Carmichael, who grew up in Burgin, KY, located near the hamlets of Gravel Switch and Texas on the southwestern side of Lexington. He hails from a family of musicians, some of which have made their own mark in the country music world. His grandfather led a gospel group in Cincinnati called The Carmichaels, his mother is a singer who has performed in the Bluegrass State, and his two uncles are country music stars John Michael Montgomery and Eddie Montgomery (of Montgomery Gentry).

The good news is that Carmichael is an artist who does things his own way, determined to create his own niche in a crowded musical field. A non-conformist his whole life and not a part of the current cookie cutter Bro-Country music scene, his music is real and down-to-earth while still being modern and stout.

The Justin Moore-Dillon Carmichael concert will take place Saturday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena. Tickets are $30 and $50 and more information can be found at bigsandyarena.com and 304-696-5990, ext. 3503.

Dillon Carmichael’s new album is called “Hell On An Angel” and it features seven songs written or co-written by the singer. The project is produced by David Cobb, who has also done great work in the studio with Chris Stapleton and the Zac Brown Band.

Carmichael is one of many recent Kentucky artists who have made an impact on the country and Americana music scenes, the others being the aforementioned Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers.

“I would say that I reached out to my uncles a couple of times about some very tough situations and asked for advice, as in ‘What would you do in this situation?’” said Dillon Carmichael. “They would give me their input and help me out with that. But, honestly, my family and a lot of folks where I come from, we are a proud people. We pride ourselves on hard work and earning everything ourselves. My family could have straight talked any producer in Nashville, saying, ‘Hey, here is my nephew,’ and this and that, but they didn’t do it. The truth is, they didn’t want to do that and I didn’t want them to do it. I moved to Nashville at a young age and it was drilled into my head my whole life by my family and relatives that it is not easy to make it there, and it is not going to happen immediately.”

After moving to Nashville at 18 years old, Carmichael worked as a security guard at the newer Grand Ole Opry complex, yet never stepped in the famous circle of wood that is on the stage there from the original Ryman Auditorium, where the Opry originated. It was a matter of respect and of earning that privilege.

After walking the streets of Music City USA and finally getting a record deal, Carmichael was asked to make his Grand Ole Opry debut last August. That is when Carmichael first stepped into the famed wooden circle that legends have stood on for 90 years.

“There are two things that have never changed throughout my whole life,” said Carmichael. “One of them is that nothing has ever happened fast for me. I’ve had a great life and I got to play on the Opry now and I have had a successful music career, and in the grand scheme of things it does seem like it happened fast. But truly, it was a long road. And, the other thing is that I just never fit in. I didn’t fit in while in school. I don’t sing the same kind of country music that a lot of people sing. So, I just accepted my situation for what it was and said, ‘This is going to take a while. I don’t expect anything to happen right now. It is going to be hard work, there will be ups and downs and it will take a minute.’ But, I have patience, and I’ve always have had that, and the truth is; I don’t want to fit in.”

Carmichael is looking forward to performing in the Mountain State.

“West Virginia is beautiful,” said Carmichael. “I’ve been through there quite a bit over the last couple of years and I’ll tell you, it is beautiful country out there. I grew up in a small town so I feel like I can relate to those folks, and I think they can relate to me. I am looking forward to coming to Huntington. It is going to be a good time and we are going to raise the roof. We have something to prove out there. We want to prove that we can rock your socks off. It is going to be a good time and I cannot wait to go back there. It is going to be so much fun.”