The trip to James Otto's latest album, 'Shake What God Gave Ya' (out today, September 14), has been a bit of a rollercoaster for the singer. Just two weeks after he and his wife Amy welcomed their first child, Ava Katherine, on August 24, James was forced to cancel a series of concerts when he was hospitalized with an abdominal illness.

James is out of the hospital now and slowly but surely getting back on track. And if the new album is any indication, he's riding a "soul train" to get there. The new disc not only showcases James' soul-drenched vocals, he's also a co-writer on several tunes, including the funky 'Lover Man' and the tender gospel-tinged waltz, 'Let's Just Let Go,' as well as the current hit, 'Solders and Jesus,' and the album's first single, 'Groovy Little Summer Song.'

The new dad says he's hardly concerned about the sexier aspects of his latest record, proclaiming, "I'm going to be unapologetic about it, certainly. We're definitely doing sexy love songs and sultry songs about one of many people's favorite subjects. The girls that love [his breakthrough hit] 'Just Got Started Lovin' You' are going to have a lot on this album to love because there's a lot of groovy, feel-good, soulful songs on here."

One thing that makes him feel really good is 'Your Good Thing's Gone Bad,' the song that pairs him with one of his musical idols, Ronnie Milsap. James tells The Boot the experience was, "one of my favorite parts of this record -- being able to collaborate with one of my favorite artists of all time, a guy I consider the godfather of country soul. He's the guy I point to most often when I bring up my style of music, because he is the guy who bridged the gap between those types of music."

In his live shows, when James performs the song, he serves it in a mash-up with Ronnie's pop-country smash, 'Stranger in My House,' which he says was the genesis for the duet with the legendary singer.

James will be back on the concert trail, with his next show slated for Friday, September 17, in Hutchinson, Kan. The single, 'Soldiers and Jesus' is currently climbing the charts. Look for more from James, including The Boot's exclusive interview with him in the coming days!