Todd Dean

Rooted in Country: Dalton Dover on Keith Whitley's 'Don't Close Your Eyes'

Country singer-songwriter Dalton Dover has been on a steady rise since earning a spot on Blake Shelton's team on Season 16 of The Voice. Since then, the talented artist has built a devoted audience for his original music on TikTok. Earlier this year, Dover was named one of Spotify's Hot Country Artists to Watch, alongside artists such as Carter Faith, Breland, Morgan Wade and more.

Dover says it all goes back to his grandfather, who introduced him to artists such as Rhett Akins, Joe Diffie, Steve Wariner and Keith Whitley from an early age. Dover says Whitley's ballad "Don't Close Your Eyes" made him fall in love with country storytelling. It was also the song he performed during his Blind Audition for The Voice. ("I had my eyes closed when I was singing it," Dover told Billboard. "I didn't see the chair turn around. I finally opened my eyes and saw Blake looking at me, that was crazy.")

"When I heard ['Don't Close Your Eyes'] for the first time, it really made me fall in love with country music on a deeper level," Dover tells Wide Open Country. "The story is timeless — its lyrics ring true as much today as I'm sure they did then, and that's why Keith is and will always be an inspiration to me. He sang songs that said what we've all felt but couldn't find the words to say. That song is also how I discovered songwriter Bob McDill, and that sent me down an entirely different path discovering Don Williams, Ronnie Milsap and one of my all-time favorites, Marty Robbins."

The Georgia-born artist, signed with Droptine Recordings, has previously released "You've Got a Small Town" and "Baby I Am."

Check out our Rooted in Country playlist below. 


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