Kris Kristofferson will ring in the new year with Feeling Mortal, his first collection of new material in four years. Produced by Don Was, the follow-up to 2009's Close to the Bone is set for release on Jan. 29, 2013.

"Going back to the beginning, the songs have been reflections of where I was at that point in my life," says the 76-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer. "I always try to be as honest as I can in the songwriting, otherwise there's no point in doing it: I might as well be doing an advertising job or something. And what I'm finding, to my pleasant surprise at this age, is that I'm more inclined to laughter than tears. I hope I'll feel this creative and this grateful until they throw dirt over me."

Kristofferson, who gave up a military career to pursue songwriting, has since penned a handful of modern classics, including "Me and Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make It Through the Night," "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and "For the Good Times." On "Castaway," one of the tracks from Feeling Mortal, he recalls a scene witnessed from the air, while flying helicopters over the Gulf of Mexico. Another of the album's tunes, "My Heart Was the Last One to Know," which was previously recorded by Connie Smith, was co-written by Kris with the late Shel Silverstein.

"Shel was the only person I consistently wrote songs with," he recalls. "He was a fantastic writer. We did about a dozen songs, and usually he'd write down some titles and a description of what he was thinking about, and I'd go off and come back with a song."

"A major reason for Kris' enduring popularity is that he's always been very honest and open about revealing his inner life," says producer Don Was, who has worked with the singer-songwriter for the past 17 years. "I suspect a whole lot of folks will be able to relate to Feeling Mortal, now and for years to come. It's totally in keeping with the body of Kris' oeuvre."

Feeling Mortal will be available on iTunes beginning Jan. 22, 2013 and in stores and at other online outlets Jan. 29.