Ever since they inked a new deal with Universal Music Group back in January, the colorful, '90s-inspired Hot Country Knights have been teasing a new batch of music on the horizon. Clad in windbreakers, mullets and aviator sunglasses, the band threatens to mount a return to country music's rugged, testosterone-infused heyday; in other words, as the band says, they planned to put the "T" back in country music.

On March 4, the Knights doubled down on that promise, announcing their forthcoming debut album. It'll be the first chapter of original music for a group who's made a (questionable) career out of elevating their country music peers' songs through their own redefining cover versions.

"We were out on the road singing a lot of other people's hits, and we called them greatest hits because by us singing them, it actually made them great," says Knights frontman Doug Douglason (country fans might know him as Dierks Bentley). "But this is a step beyond our greatest hits. This is all original material, but it's the best stuff to come out of Nashville from a man band in several decades."

It's a bold promise, but if anyone's up to the task, it's the Hot Country Knights. Read on to learn everything we know about the band's forthcoming debut album.

The Title

The Hot Country Knights' new project will be called The K Is Silent. That's something of a motto and rallying cry for the band, who have long been yelling the phrase at shows, press conferences and anywhere else where someone might hear them.

The Release Date

The K Is Silent is due out on May 1, the band has revealed.

The Record Label

The Knights' new record will be their first for UMG Nashville. They signed a deal with the label early in 2020 (you can watch them raiding the UMG offices in a hilarious video they shared at the time).

Per that clip, the band struck a hard bargain in negotiating their deal, demanding "lunch," including "a nice deli tray." During their signing, Douglason kept the label execs distracted with a live performance while the other members of the band made off with a number of items in the building, including a handful of ACM Awards trophies, some all-access passes and -- inexplicably -- a corded telephone.

The Producer

The Hot Country Knights tapped none other than Dierks Bentley, who makes his production debut on their new project, as their producer for The K Is Silent. The band has always found an unlikely (and often, reluctant) supporter in Bentley, opening some of his shows, and they're also labelmates.

It should be noted that Douglason bears a suspicious resemblance to Bentley, and, in fact, the two have never been seen in the same room together. But at a press conference given by the band in late January, Douglason set the record straight: Although Bentley may have given the Knights a leg up in the business on this project, it was actually Douglason who gave Bentley the encouragement he needed during a critical moment years ago, when the latter artist's career was floundering.

"I gave a really great speech, encouraging him to keep grinding and working at it ... and it must have worked, because apparently he's doing pretty good," Douglason recalls. "He wanted to give us a shot, he wanted to give us a chance, although, actually, we were doing just fine. We had a demo we did over in Trevor's mom's basement. It was gonna get plenty of airplay.

"But, you know, '90s is hot right now, and he wanted to ride the mullet, so to speak. He wanted to ride the Knight train. The 'K' is silent," Douglason adds.

The Album Cover

The Knights gave fans a peek at the album cover for The K Is Silent in an announcement video on social media on March 4. The cover art is a photograph of the band standing together, clad in suits of armor.

The Single

The Hot Country Knights' first single off of their new project, "Pick Her Up," is a collaboration with Travis Tritt. An uptempo instructional on how to woo a country girl -- of course, a pick up truck, a honky-tonk and a jukebox are all involved -- the song came out on Jan. 23.

The Knights keep the '90s royalty theme going in the song's music video, which features, in addition to Tritt, an appearance by Tiffani Thiessen, aka Saved By the Bell's Kelly Kapowski. The clip is a dating primer, Knights-style, following the band as they outfit a hapless guy in full '90s gear and prep him for a date with the girl of his dreams.

The Songs

In addition to the project's single, the Knights have also shared, among others, the moody and reflective "Asphalt," a mid-tempo crooning tune about the attractive, uh, assets of life on the road. The music video demonstrates a day in the life of the band's touring schedule, spotlighting  not only Douglason's penchant for rear ends, but also his affinity for ladies over the age of 70.

The band has also revealed a second big-name duet for their album: This time, they enlisted Terri Clark for a tender, "special romance ballad" called "You Make It Hard."

Finally, in early March, the band revealed the full track list for their upcoming new project:

Hot Country Knights, The K Is Silent Album Tracklist:

1. "Hot Country Knights" (Brett Beavers, Jim Beavers, Cassady Feasby, Ben Helson, Dan Hochhalter, Chase McGill, Steve Misamore, Jon Nite, Jon Randall, Tim Sergent, Brett Tyler and Dierks Bentley)
2. "Pick Her Up" (Featuring Travis Tritt) (Dierks Bentley, Brett Beavers and Jim Beavers)
3. "Asphalt" (Jim Beavers, Jon Nite and Brett Tyler)
4. "Moose Knuckle Shuffle" (Brett Beavers, Jim Beavers, Buddy Brock, Dan Hochhalter, Chase McGill, Zach Turner and Brett Tyler)
5. "Then It Rained" (Brett Beavers, Jon Nite and Jon Randall)
6. "Wrangler Danger" (Dierks Bentley, Brett Beavers and Jim Beavers)
7. "Mull It Over" (Dierks Bentley, Jim Beavers and Jon Randall)
8. "Kings of Neon" (Dierks Bentley, Brett Beavers and Chase McGill)
9. "You Make It Hard" (feat. Terri Clark) (Dierks Bentley, Brett Beaver, Jim Beavers, Mary Hilliard Harrington, Jon Randall and Luke Wooten)
10. "The USA Begins With Us" (Dierks Bentley, Brett Beavers and Jim Beavers)

The Tour

Before dropping their new project, the Knights had planned to hit the road for their 2020 One Knight Stand Tour, a 12-date run that was to span the month of April and feature Tenille Townes, Hannah Dasher, Rachel Wammack and Lainey Wilson as opening acts. However, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic postponed the trek; no rescheduled dates have been announced.

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