The title of Keith Anderson's sophomore CD, 'C'MON!' is indicative of what he hopes music fans will do when they see the new album: Come on and check out the new music from the singer who initially grabbed our attention with hits like 'Pickin' Wildflowers' and 'XXL.'

The new album, released Tuesday, features Anderson's latest hit single, 'I Still Miss You,' a song that took on a whole new meaning for him recently with the death of his mother from cancer. It's a grief he says he shares with several fans who have told him how much the song has helped them get through their own sorrow.

Anderson sat down with The Boot to talk about the new project, his family ties and what it feels like to be a media-deemed 'sex symbol.'

What's the story behind the new album's title?

'C'MON!' You've gotta say it loud! My first record was 'Three Chord Country and American Rock 'n Roll,' which told people the kind of music they were going to get on that album -- music that moves me and I was influenced by since I was a kid. So for my second record, it's all about saying,'Hey we're gonna have more of the same on this record, fun party music that's happening, so come on and join this party, jump on this bandwagon. If you haven't heard what I'm doing c'mon, give it a chance. I think you're gonna like this party, but you gotta say it loud: C'MON!

But this isn't an album of all party songs. Is it safe to say you put more raw emotion on this album?

There are songs that we ended up cutting because of what me and my producer, Jeffrey Steele, were going through. When we first started the record, his son died, and four months later my mom got diagnosed with brain cancer. Where we were emotionally and mentally, there were songs we began to feel more passion about, and I was singing with more passion. So it probably took on a more introspective point of view than we did on the first one. Looking back now, I think it's a much better record than the first, because we were able to go deeper and ask some hard questions I wouldn't have put on a Keith Anderson party album. As hard as it was, I think we came up with something really special.

I understand there will be a special edition of the album released in addition to the regular one.

We recorded 17 songs and we had to cut that down to 11 songs for the regular CD. We are going to release a special edition in Best Buy that will have two extra songs. We'll do my original version of 'Beer Run' that George Jones and Garth Brooks cut. Then we'll put one on there that the fans have requested for years but it never came out anywhere. It's one that Jeffrey and I wrote about a special needs kid named Jake who was on this special football team. We hung out with him for two days, met his parents and wrote a song about him, 'Jake's Going All The Way' for this CMT series called 'Unsung Stories.'

You have fans who have been with you from the beginning. What does that kind of loyalty mean to you?

They are more than country music fans, they're friends. The reception we've been getting these last three years has really been cool. Now people continue to show up at shows, and it's bigger and bigger with the success at radio. It's fun to go out right now and do these shows, because although I'm a new artist with one record, there are a lot of hits we're doing in the shows -- not only my hits but songs I've written for other people ('Beer Run' by George Jones and Garth Brooks; 'Lost in this Moment' by Big & Rich), so it makes the show a lot of fun.

Do you remember the moment you decided you wanted to be a musician?

I was huge music fan when I was growing up. I was the kind of guy in junior high who would put the records on and have the hairbrush and imagine that girl I had crush on that month sitting right there. I think that breakthrough moment was watching my brother sing at a senior talent show. He was this shy guy, but a great track athlete and great student. I was the athlete and quarterback, and he was second or third team. He got up with his guitar, and there were a lot of girls there that didn't know him, and he sang Dan Fogelberg's 'Longer,' and the place went nuts. He got a standing ovation. The girls were going crazy! I said, 'I think I want to do this.' It's a less painful way to pick up the chicks than to get blindsided by a linebacker playing quarterback.

You are very close to your family. Talk about your hometown of Miami, Oklahoma, and how growing up there prepared you for the music business.

It's an awesome hometown, and I have a close knit group of friends. Some of my best friends are still from the hometown area. My two brothers are my best friends, and I'm close to my dad and aunts and uncles. It really developed who I am, because there's such a great group of people there. I was blessed to have a great home life, a school that was big enough to really go out and compete in athletics and do things outside of the little town in big cities . . . but still small enough to where you knew everybody. And it was really a tight group in a city that you could really be proud of. So it's still fun to go back and be part of whatever's going on, whether it's me helping raise money or watching the football game or parade or whatever. I love being there, I think that whole sense of home and family and loyalty to friends is what I write about.

How do you stay fit when you're on the road all the time?

For me, it's staying consistent. First thing every morning we find the closest gym. If there's only time for one thing, it's cardio. We try to get weights and cardio in everyday. If we can't find a gym, we'll just run. I also ride my mountain bike whenever I can.

Do you go out on back roads with the bikes?

Touring allows me to see parts of the nation I haven't seen. You realize how amazing America is, places like Spokane, Portland, Seattle, New Mexico . . . The bike trails you can find out there are not only beautiful but a challenge to get through. Even the cities that don't have challenging trails, like going through Chicago, you get to go sightseeing by just jumping on the bike and riding around a couple hours. We were just in Colorado Springs and it ended up being 32 degrees and snowing, but there was no way I wasn't going to ride. So we just got out the bikes and started riding. They had these great trails but they were pretty difficult, and I ended up breaking a chain, falling off the bike and busting my lip.

What keeps you grounded?

I'll tell you this, I had as many negative reviews on the first record as I did positive, so that keeps you grounded. And then I hav
e this amazing family. If there's an attitude that flies up, they're the first to let me know about it. And I will do the same with them too. We're honest and grown up that way, with respect for each others' opinions. I'm not one of those people who surround myself with kiss-ass people. Me and my whole crew, we're buddies that dig on each other and have cool a relationship. So keeping myself surrounded by the right people is a big part of it all.

How do you feel about PEOPLE magazine and other publications calling you a sex symbol?

It's always flattering. When you look at everyone who was on the list, it wasn't just the bachelors. It was Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley . . . So you go, 'Wow what happened here?' It was a huge compliment -- anytime you can get publicity, I love it! Of course, then you have to deal with your buddies or brothers that want to call you up and say, 'Hey buddy I've got some pictures from high school they might want to see, let's send those to them and see what they think.' Talk about being grounded! So you get grief from it, but as long as people are talking and it points back to music, it's all okay.