Ash BowersArtist: Ash Bowers

Hometown: Jackson, Tenn.

Why We Dig Him: Ash was a John Deere diesel mechanic for four years before turning to music and tinkering with songs instead of engines full-time. Inspired to play piano after watching a Jerry Lee Lewis movie, he soon picked up the guitar as well, and began playing in bars.

"The thing about playing bars is you have to learn so many different genres of music," says Ash. "We had to learn to play everything from Tom Petty to Marvin Gaye to Merle Haggard, plus you have to learn to play what's current on the radio, too, at the time, so it gets your chops up. You find out who you are and what you like and who you want to be as an artist. I did that for eight years before I got a record deal."

Ash began commuting to Nashville in 2006 and after landing a record deal with Stoney Creek, found himself in the surreal situation of writing songs with some of his musical heroes. "I come in and learn and soak up as much information as I can from these writers here in town. It's cool because some of the guys I was fans of and were my inspiration growing up, like Bryan White and Rhett Akins and David Lee Murphy, are songwriters that I write with on a regular basis now. So it's been really cool to have those opportunities."

Ash was able to work with another of his heroes, producer Buddy Cannon, on his debut CD, and found out the two had quite a bit in common. "He's a legend. I was a credit nerd when I was a kid. I'd get my tapes out and read every credit, down to the guy who engineered it, pushed the last button, wrote the last song, and I'd always see Buddy on all those Kenny Chesney records. I got to meet with Buddy. We got to talking and come to find out he's from Lexington, Tenn., which is about 20 miles from my driveway, so we kind of connected on a personal level as much as we did on a musical one."

Ash has been burning up the road touring with Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. His new album includes uptempo tunes like the single, 'Ain't No Stopping Her Now,' as well as tearjerkers such as 'Everyone's Forgiven You But You,' and his favorite on the record, 'Better Man Than You,' an ode to single moms.