Alt-country singer-songwriter Michael Colton is premiering his brand-new single “Time to Burn” exclusively for readers of The Boot.

For his latest work, Colton dug deep into his own personal tragedy: After a serious head injury, the artist picked up his guitar to help his brain heal and keep his skills sharp.

“I started playing guitar five hours a day like my life depended on it,” Colton recalls. “Somehow, I feel like music healed me better than any medicine I was given.”

“Time to Burn” is about the aftermath of that injury.

"[These] are the most straightforward lyrics I’ve ever written," Colton tells The Boot. "I was laid up in the ICU -- I had bled into my brain, and had no idea if I was gonna need surgery. The first night, they gave me a ton of morphine, and that either makes you feel great, or it gives you night terrors. While that was scary, the worst part of it is that I was angry with myself; I thought, 'I’m too young to die, and really, what have I done?'

"After I was moved out of the ICU, I wrote the lyrics in about five minutes," he continues. "Maybe a year later, I was playing one of the many bar gigs, and we just started jamming. That’s where the music came from.”

Colton first began his career as a musician in Los Angeles, where he played in bars and clubs as a “cocky guitar upstart.” He first found his “big break” when he serendipitously attended a studio jam with producer Blake English, who recruited Colton to do session work; the two eventually worked together on Colton's The Robert Johnson Sessions, a 2012 EP of covers by the Texas blues legend.

“Time to Burn” will appear on Colton’s forthcoming album, California Blue. No release date has yet been set, but in the meantime, fans can stream the track below.

Listen to Michael Colton, "Time to Burn":