Ty Herndon last released a studio album, Lies I Told Myself, in 2013. Since then, the artist has been writing, performing and recording -- and he's finally ready to release some new music.

"It's all done," Herndon tells The Boot of what will be his 17th studio album, "so I'm super excited about that."

The 12-track record, written by Herndon, took about 18 months to complete, but not because he's been idle; rather, the 54-year-old spends much of his time on the road, playing for the many fans who are still eager to hear him perform.

"It still blows my mind that I get paid to walk on stage and sing," Herndon shares. "We’re doing about 85 dates this summer around the United States; we’re going to Europe in August. That’s enough!"

Much has changed for Herndon since Lies I Told Myself was released: The singer came out as gay the year after the record was released -- a brave move in an industry that, at least at one time, seemed largely homophobic. Thankfully, Herndon has been met with open arms, literally and figuratively, and his experience has inspired him to become an advocate for others in similar situations.

“All that keeps running through my mind is: It’s time to get to work,” Herndon said at the time. “There’s so much work to be done in the South with all these kids that are struggling so greatly with finding love and support and finding a place to go to feel loved and supported.”

Country music itself has also shifted in the years since Herndon's last album, and especially in the time since Herndon's debut record, What Mattered Most, was released in 1995. While some artists, especially those who once were chart mainstays, have criticized the changes, Herndon embraces them.

"I’ve seen it evolve, I’ve seen the records change, but the heart of country music is still the same. Guys like Chris Stapleton, we always pull it back in when it starts to get too far out there," Herndon admits. "We can evolve and see these sounds change. I look at new artists like Carrie [Underwood], I’ve got a good friend, Brett Young, who’s coming up now. He does so much of everything in what he’s doing.

"I don’t know that we ever really change," he adds. "We just evolve."

A list of all of Herndon's upcoming shows is available on his website.

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