When country collides with hard rock, heartbreak, John Mayer and California smoke, you get Devin Dawson. The newest Taste of Country RISER embraced our 17-question questionnaire — he even tells a joke!

To appreciate who Dawson is you need to know he's from Orangevale, Calif., just a few miles from Folsom Prison where Johnny Cash recorded his famous live album. Also, he's unlikely to ever be seen in anything other than the color black. His Dark Horse album blends his influences to create a dynamic collection of sonically and lyrically satisfying songs about love and life. "Asking for a Friend" is our favorite. Watch above.

Name: Devin Dawson

Occupation: Artist / songwriter

My first memory: Breaking a Tim McGraw cassette from playing "Indian Outlaw" over and over and being afraid my mom was going to be livid.

My favorite artist when I was 15: Metallica

What my high school teachers would say about me: I was an academic with a creative soul and a mayor’s networking mindset.

What my exes would say about me: He’s a hopeless romantic who couldn’t tell me how he felt to my face, but could hide behind a song and say it.

Worst job I ever had: Baling hay

My dorkiest obsession: Lord of the Rings

The most country thing about me: My addiction to lyrics and storytelling and growing up in a rural pocket of country.

My worst/nastiest habit: California Smoke

Situation that makes me the most nervous: Putting my money back in my wallet after paying while there’s people waiting in line behind me.

I wish I could sing like: Chris Stapleton

My go-to makeout album: Continuum by John Mayer

Adult beverage that I will never, ever drink again: Jägermeister

True or false: I know how to use SnapChat Big false

Phrase or saying I use way too much: You know what I mean?

My dream retirement plan: Hit songwriter

Tell us a joke! What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef. Ha!

Devin Dawson's Country Journey Began With Heartbreak