'Every song is going to have an emotion and a meaning,' he tells EW

Tucker Beathard did not come into 2016 quietly. His lovelorn single, “Rock On,” took off and earned him an opening slot on Dierks Bentley’s massive summer trek, while the 21-year-old snuck in as many headlining dates on the side as possible. (He’s closing in on 200 shows on the calendar.)

Now, as his song just cracked the Top 10 on Billboard’s Country Airplay charts, he’s ready to drop Fight Like Hell (due Oct. 7), his sophomore EP with Dot Records, a label under Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine umbrella.

“It’s a batch of songs that I’ve been working on for years,” Beathard says, introducing the six-track collection. “There are songs that go all the way back to when I was a junior in high school, like ‘Home Sweet USA’.” Others stretch all the way into this spring. Says Beathard, “It’s cool to have that timeline to look back on.”

A particular highlight comes with the heartfelt “I’ll Take On The World With You,” a song Beathard penned with his younger brother in mind. “This was during a time when he was committing to college and getting ready to figure out what he wants to do. He was a little scared, so that was something that was on my heart.”

While penning the song was therapeutic, it also fulfilled larger personal desires. “The only way to have something stand out now,” Beathard says, “is if it’s something I haven’t written about before.” Another plus? Proud parents. “My mom cried when she listened to it,” he admits. ” As for Beathard’s father, Music City scribe Casey Beathard, who has written hits for the likes of Eric Church and Kenny Chesney, “My dad really respected it as a songwriter,” he says. “Because no one really talks about [brotherhood].”

But the title track is what the Tennessee native considers his mission statement. Full of Southern rock fire, “it’s the backbone of me as a musician,” he says. “It’s the best representation of me: edgy, alternative, rock-ish.”

Beathard is currently working on his first full-length album and he’ll continue headlining his own tour dates this fall. He recently announced his Rock On College Tour where he’ll hit clubs in Big Ten Conference towns. See those dates and the track list for Fight Like Hell below.

Track list:

1. I’ll Take On The World With You

2. Rock On

3. 20-10 Tennessee

4. Home Sweet USA

5. Momma and Jesus

6. Fight Like Hell

Tour Dates:

10/13: Champaign, IL

10/14: Lincoln, NE

10/15: Rosemont, IL

11/3: Madison, WI

11/4: Lansing, MI

11/5: Bloomington, IN

11/9: Oxford, OH

11/11: Columbus, OH

11/12: Iowa City, IA