Frankie Ballard is not a cookie-cutter country artist. Fans know that now more than ever thanks to his new single “Cigarette,” which the artist says is more representative of his true musical style and the rest of his record, El Rio, than his first release “It All Started with a Beer."

“I think anybody who’s seen me play live and seen my band knows that we like to put on a big show — a rock and roll show, really,” he explains to Taste of Country. “That’s really closer to what I am and who I am on a daily basis."

Putting an album out that shows the real Ballard didn’t come easy, though. The singer/songwriter says he didn’t want a track list of only radio hits, but he had to fight for certain songs to make the cut.

“I wanted to make an album. I wanted to make something that fit together as a body of work, and that had a story and had some threads and had a sound,” Ballard shares. “And there were some songs like ‘Good as Gold’ and the Bob Seger cover, and there’s just some things that were like, it doesn’t matter — it's what I need to say for the album."

El Rio was released June 10, and though "Cigarette" was written by Chris Stapleton, Kip Moore and Jaren Johnson (The Cadillac Three), Ballard says people didn’t really know him as an artist until they heard the second single.

“I think the best an artist can do is be as honest as they can to their real musical influences,” he says. Check out the video above to see who Ballard lists as his favorite legendary musicians.

Frankie Ballard's El Rio Makes the 10 Best Albums of 2016, So Far

More From B98.5