Dillon Carmichael is happily engaged -- to his girlfriend of two-plus years, Shayla Whitson -- but he still dropped some personal details into his brand-new song "Somewhere She Ain't." The heartbreak-filled track, premiering exclusively on The Boot, actually includes a couple nods to his soon-to-be wife.

In "Somewhere She Ain't," Carmichael is hiding out from the memory of a blue-eyed ex -- or, at least, he's attempting to. In the chorus, he confesses, "Well, it's harder you think / Gettin' somewhere she ain't / She's everywhere."

He's seeing her "little white Jeep in every parking lot," but even getting out of town isn't gonna cut it: "I can't go to Kentucky, 'cause that's where she's from / There's a memory in Memphis I'll never outrun / I can't go to Carolina, that's her middle name," he sings.

In real life, Shayla does, indeed, drive a white Jeep; like Carmichael, she's from Kentucky, too. Don't start guessing on her middle name, though ...

"That's the funny thing about songwriting," says Carmichael, who co-wrote "Somewhere She Ain't" with Ben Hayslip and Jessi Alexander. "I believe that was a Ben Hayslip line."

"I always wanted to write a song like that: a song about kind of running from a failed relationship, and no matter where you go, you see that person in everything. Because I just feel like I've experienced that in the past, and I know other people have as well," Carmichael continues. "I think my job as a songwriter is to try and relate to people."

Even if every last detail in the song isn't about the same real-life person, the inclusion of a few small tidbits about Shayla adds a new layer to it. After all, when things are going well in a relationship, those things that remind you of that special someone are a blessing, in the same way they're a curse when the relationship ends.

"That's not the only song that there's little bits and pieces of Shayla in ... which is one of the beautiful things about writing songs," Carmichael notes. He knows that putting tidbits about his fiancee into a breakup song might seem like "an odd concept," but, he adds, "it really, more than anything, just makes me proud that I can do that -- you know, that I've been able to step in other people's shoes."

"Somewhere She Ain't" is one of six new songs on Carmichael's forthcoming new Hot Beer EP. He co-wrote three of the tracks; the title track is a Michael Hardy-Ashley Gorley-Hunter Phelps-Ben Johnson co-write, while Brandon Kinney, Brice Long and Wynn Varble are responsible for the humorous, if off-color, "Sawin' Logs."

There's also a cover of Montgomery Gentry's "Lucky Man." Carmichael is the nephew of the duo's Eddie Montgomery: His mother, Becky, is the sister of both Eddie and John Michael Montgomery.

"Eddie was tickled to hear that I was recording it ... It's a great tribute to the late Troy Gentry, but also a tribute to my family legacy," Carmichael reflects, calling the song his favorite Montgomery Gentry cut.

"Actually," he adds, "it was Jon Pardi's idea to record the song." Pardi produced four of Hot Beer's six songs, with Ryan Gore and Chris LaCorte as co-producers on various tracks (Dann Huff produced the remaining two songs). He and Carmichael met through mutual friends, though it wasn't until the COVID-19 pandemic that they thought about working together.

"[He] happened to be not making a record at the moment and I was, so we were having those conversations, and they're just like, 'Why doesn't Pardi produce?'" recounts Carmichael, who is the first artist for whom Pardi has served as producer. "I'm such a huge fan, but he understands what it's like being an artist. So, yeah, that's a big part of it."

The Hot Beer EP is due out on Friday (May 14) and is available to pre-order and pre-save now. Carmichael says he's hoping to follow it with a full album later this year.

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