"I'm excited to get it out there," Kix tells The Boot. "It's been a real challenge because you want to do something that is fun, exciting and different. For a creative person, that's the kind of challenge you are always looking for. From that standpoint, this has been a great endeavor and I've really enjoyed the creative process."
The transition to solo status has been eased by the fact that Kix has continued to work with many of the musicians he's known for years. "I got pretty much my old band back together," he says. "I have a couple of new guys, but it's a lot of the old guys that played with Brooks & Dunn. Danny Milner actually played bass with me and all through the Brooks & Dunn years and was in my band when I had a solo career back on Capitol, so we both seemed to have come full circle. I'm looking forward to getting out in clubs and small places and just jumping back in the saddle and riding some more."
Kix is looking forward to hitting the road this month and getting back to smaller, more intimate venues. "I want to go back and find that excitement, just play clubs and House of Blues and places like that," he says. "We've got some really good music to play and we've been rehearsing it. It's really exciting to hear everybody play together again. There's smiles all the way around the room, so it's going to be fun."
After recording nearly 50 songs for his upcoming album, Kix admits it was hard to cull it down for the new project. "I had all these songs I was in love with and came up with what I felt was a great group of songs," he says, going on to explain that 'New to This Town' was actually a last minute addition. "I still had a couple of writing appointments and one of them was with Marv Green and Terry McBride. I felt like I had the album together, but I didn't want to just cancel on them, so I said, 'We'll just write a song,' and that's the song we wrote."
Soon after, Kix was working on a soundtrack for a Christmas movie with Rascal Flatts' bassist Jay DeMarcus. "I was over at Jay's house working on this other project and I said, 'I've got this song that I just wrote and I'd really like to get it down,'" he recalls. "We were at the end of the session, so I asked, 'Do you mind if I put this thing down and [you can] just give me your thoughts on it?' So the two of us put our thinking caps on and I played him the song. He really liked it and put it down.
"I liked the idea of 'I wished I was new to this town' because it's sort of a metaphor when you've been here for so long and you're trying to start over. I thought, 'That is me in a way, because there's no way that I can, at this point in my career, pull some kind of cloak and dagger unless I change my name and go have some major plastic surgery or something.' It's me and people know me ... I've been blessed with a great career. So hopefully I'll get a fresh start."
'New to This Town' features special guest Joe Walsh and Kix is thrilled to have the legendary rocker add his signature guitar licks to the song. It all came about after Kix manager sent a copy of the song to Joe's manager, asking if he'd be interested in playing on it. "It wasn't 10 minutes that Joe Walsh called me and said he'd love to play on this track and I got so excited," Kix says. "He was actually in rehearsals for the Grammys with Paul McCartney and literally rehearsed with Paul, went home and I sent him some tracks via the internet. He recorded on them and fired them back to me. I had them mixed in the same day. You can say what you want about the internet and how it screws the creativity, but there was a time when I would have had to get on an airplane with a two-track tape and fly to LA with it. [The internet] allowed me to get my favorite guitar player ever on one of my records and I just couldn't be more excited about that."
Kix has a lot to be excited about these days. He's continuing his gig hosting the weekly American Country Countdown radio show. He's proud of Arrington Vineyards, the successful winery he co-owns, just outside of Nashville, and he's completed roles in two upcoming films -- 'Thriftstore Cowboy' and 'To Kill a Memory.' He's especially fired up about this new chapter in his musical career. "Somebody asked me the other day if I was scared and it took me back," he says. "I hadn't thought of it that way. I guess I know what they were asking, but I had to ask them, 'What should I be afraid of? Failure?' I think we all wake up every day and we have to face that potential, but as far as what I'm doing, it's real gratifying from a creative standpoint and it's really getting back together with a bunch of my old band members, just putting on a guitar and making some music. At the end of the day, it's really that simple. It's what we grew up wanting to do and the fact that I still get to do it, I honestly and sincerely feel very, very blessed."