"I think it's harder because I'm older," Neal McCoy tells Taste of Country about his first new music in seven years. "I'm having as much fun as I've ever had. Going into the studio with Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert -- although it's pretty intimidating to be in there with them as hot as they are -- I think I'm more at home because I know what I'm doing in there."

The 53-year-old country star is currently in the studio with country music's hottest couple, putting the finishing touches on 'XII,' his Blaster Records debut album, which is being produced by Blake, Miranda and famed Nashville musician Brent Rowan. Although some established artists would be reluctant to work with their younger peers, Neal feels fortunate the reigning CMA Male and Female Vocalists of the Year are attached to the project.

"I'm fortunate enough that those kids would even work with me. Our relationships go way back, but with their schedules and as hot as they are and as popular as they are, they run all the time and they really appreciate their off time," says the singer. "For them to take a lot of their off time off and come in the studio with me and help produce and sing on some of this stuff, it's just a huge feather in my cap. I think the reason that they do it -- and hopefully if you talk to them, they would say the same thing -- is that they like me. They grew up with me, and they still think there's a lot to offer there."

Neal also acknowledges that despite his sometimes offbeat humor, Blake is extremely professional when he enters the studio. "You know what, he's pretty dang smart. It's crazy. As goofy and as off-the-cuff as he wants to come off, a lot of his things are very calculated," Neal says of the 'Honey Bee' Grammy-nominated artist. "He is a very smart person, and he's not near as drunk as he comes off to be on his Twitter page! [laughs]. Miranda is the same way. They're both great musicians, very knowledgeable about music and were wonderful in the studio."

Country superstar Jamey Johnson is also attached to the project, penning one of the tracks on the album. "It's a song called 'Mouth.' [sings] 'Well I can stick my foot in my mouth / I mean all five toes don't even leave the heel stickin' out' ... It's a country-western swing kind of thing about how he stuck his foot in his mouth, about how he approached a pregnant woman on the dance floor and asked when she was due and she wasn't pregnant," Neal explains.

The project's first single, 'A-Ok' is currently climbing the charts, with the album expected to be released in early 2012. Click here to visit Neal's official website to learn more about upcoming tour dates and appearances.

Download Neal McCoy Songs
| Buy Neal McCoy Albums