Christian Lopez needed to re-center himself. So, he headed home.

"I'm one to put a lot of pressure on myself, and it gets hard and harder to express [myself] with that in the background ...," Lopez tells The Boot. "West Virginia always brings me back: the trees, the dirt, the smell of a wet, grassy morning with some smoke in the distance."

Lopez didn't just go back to West Virginia, though: He went to his grandmother's land, in Minnora, W.V., and went camping.

"I found myself trying to reconnect to that original feeling of wonder and cheer I had when I was a kid ...," Lopez says. "I needed to let go and focus on making music from a place that satisfied me to the core ... In short, I needed a reset."

As Lopez sings in his new song, "The Other Side" — a calming, acoustic track premiering exclusively on The Boot — he "went to the woods and came out the other side." He found that reboot, not only with this song but with his entire forthcoming new album, also called The Other Side.

Lopez recorded The Other Side at Tornillo, Texas' famous Sonic Ranch. Robert Adam Stevenson produced the project, and with the exception of the drums, which Carl Thomson contributed, Lopez plays every bit of instrumentation on the new record's 12 tracks.

The son of a music teacher, Lopez has been playing piano and guitar since the age of five, and, though he didn't intend to be a singer at first, recorded his debut album at 18. Now 25, the artist says his newest project "is a product of the strength I had to walk away from everything I knew ... [and] start fresh on my own."

"If I want my music to last in the world, I have to stay as authentic as possible, and that means not compromising or being boxed in," Lopez reflects. "That also applies to just being a human. Wherever that leads me, I'm sure that'll be the place that I was meant to be, both musically and mentally."

The Other Side, Lopez's third album, is due out on Friday (Oct. 8). Fans can keep up with Lopez at

50 Country Albums Everyone Must Hear Before They Die:

More From Big Cat - Country with Attitude