Deana Carter's long-awaited album, 'Southern Way of Life,' was released earlier this week. The songstress released the project on her own newly-launched Little Nugget Records.

While the singer-songwriter has put out six other studio albums -- including her freshman record, 'Did I Shave My Legs for This?,' which sold more than five million units -- the release of 'Southern Way of Life' is even more pivotal because of what Carter had to endure before it could ever see the light of day.

"I lost my dad, and also went through some major surgeries on my spine and on my knee," she tells Billboard magazine.

As part of the lengthy operation, which occurred because of a car accident, the surgeon actually removed her vocal box in order to perform the surgery. Thankfully, her voice returned stronger than ever.

"Now, I'm healthy and good, and healing through all of that, and have been writing songs," she adds. "I'm glad I took the time personally to take care of myself and my family. Now, we have a record."

Carter -- who collaborated with several hit tunesmiths, including Kacey Musgraves and the Band Perry's Kimberly Perry, for 'Southern Way of Life' -- knows a thing or two about radio airplay and chart success. Her first single, 'Strawberry Wine,' soared to No. 1 when it was released in 1996, as did the follow-up single, 'We Danced Anyway.'

But in an era where women are struggling to find their spot on the airwaves, the 48-year-old isn't about to be intimidated or discouraged. Instead, she's made her own game plan, focusing on social media, satellite radio and secondary markets to promote her new single, 'Do or Die,' from the album.

“It’s an exciting time when you see too much of one thing happening because you know it’s about to shift or start shifting,” she tells Nashville's Tennessean. “I’ve always looked at that as an opportunity."

The Tennessee native says that there are several new artists in country music that make her optimistic about the future of country music.

“If you hold your breath and ride the wave you will break through. Those artists are very artistic girls — Kacey, Brandy [Clark] and Ashley [Monroe] — they’re very artistic, very unique-sounding girls who aren’t super mainstream. I think that’s a beautiful thing to be talked about like, ‘Why aren’t those girls on the radio more?’ and know that you’re next.”

Carter is definitely on the right track. 'Do or Die' came in as the second most-downloaded song to radio via Play MPE, falling only behind the Band Perry, and ahead of David Nail, Luke O'Shea and Don Williams for the week of its release.

Order 'Southern Way of Life' here.