Robbie Fulks has never been the most mainstream-minded artist. The veteran singer-songwriter has often used his acerbic wit to skewer some of country music's most sacred concepts, which is almost certain to impact radio exposure and sales. But with his newest album, 'Gone Away Backward,' he feels like he's finally captured his own true voice.

"I’ve been working toward being more of myself as a songwriter," Fulks tells CMT Edge. "I think I’ve had a gift for mimicry over the years, and I’ve enjoyed parodying song styles and I’ve luxuriated in trying to imitate -- or at least get the feeling of -- people I strongly admire in music."

He adds, "At the same time, I’m realizing that that’s a bit of a handicap. It’s been a long process over the last 20 years of trying to indulge in that but also break away from that in something that’s more unique that other guys don’t do. Hopefully, I’ve realized that more on this record than most of what I’ve done."

That doesn't man that he's abandoned the devastating observational cynicism that powered Fulks classics like 'She Took a Lot of Pills and Died,' 'God Isn't Real' and the Nashville anti-establishment anthem 'F--- This Town.' He's not trying to compete with the Taylor Swifts of the world -- and that's exactly the way he prefers it.

"It seemed like everything was happening all at once after my first record came out," he recalls. "Within a couple weeks, I was getting calls from big companies. I had a choice of different labels to choose from for what was to be my third record and only major label record. For a short while there, I had the world coming together for me, but I didn’t like it that much," he adds with a laugh.

"In retrospect, I was kind of stressed out over it. I think I like being the older guy. It’s not because of not having anything to prove, but I like being a little more relaxed about everything and being able to write from the point of view of experience."

'Gone Away Backward' is currently available from Bloodshot Records. For more information, click here.

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