Devin Dawson copes with heartbreak is by writing country songs like "Asking for a Friend." It's part healing, part understanding — the first Taste of Country RISER of 2018 is willing to wear his heart on his sleeve, but it doesn't come easily.

"I’m not a great communicator. I’m not great at saying I’m sorry. I’m not great at letting my walls and my pride down," Dawson admits. "So that song definitely embodies who I am in love sometimes."

His vulnerable performance during the RISERS video shoot makes clear that his story is personal. While not totally drawn from his love, the Connie Harrington and Brett Beavers co-written lyrics are seeded in truth. Dawson, who helped write every song on his debut album Dark Horse, says it's one fans have responded to intensely.

"It’s just a quintessential country song. It takes you through the story, peels back the layers, lets you in a little bit at a time but never really gives you how it finishes or how it ends. That’s how I learned to write songs … so it’s really full circle moment for me."

As the first RISER of 2018, Dawson will get focused attention this spring and summer, with more performance and interview footage to come. The ACM-nominated newcomer and "All on Me" hitmaker joins a prestigious group that includes recent New Male Vocalist of the Year winner Brett Young. Check out more from the 2017 RISERS below, and be sure to subscribe to Taste of Country's YouTube channel to get advance notice on the next RISERS.

Dawson is also scheduled to perform at the Taste of Country Music Festival in Hunter, N.Y., this June.

Watch Devin Dawson's Steamy Cover of "She Burns"