On the heels of the success he achieved with his Top 10 country single, 'Smile,' Uncle Kracker is back in Nashville to begin work on his fifth studio album, the follow-up to 2009's 'Happy Hour.' Reportedly, he has already written more than 20 songs for the upcoming project.

"I'm kind of excited -- actually, the most excited I've been in a long time," he tells Billboard.com. "[The tunes are] a little more Americana. I don't want to say rootsy, but I think it's more 'me' than the last record was. The overall goal this time was to go in and have fun."

The Detroit rocker co-wrote several of the new songs on the upcoming album with J.T. Harding and Shane McAnally, who penned Kenny Chesney's latest No. 1 hit, 'Somewhere With You,' and he has tapped producer Keith Stegall to helm the project.

Kracker has enjoyed a lot of success and forged numerous friendships in country music, due in large part to his singles 'Drift Away,' 'Smile' and 'Follow Me,' as well as the multi-week No. 1 hit duet, 'When the Sun Goes Down,' with pal Kenny Chesney.

The fact country radio and country fans are embracing him is not lost on Kracker, who seems to prefer the Nashville scene over the pop world. "I never wanted to be pigeon-holed for one specific thing, so that's why I've always kind of been everywhere," he tells The Boot. "[But] I'll be honest with you, I was doing an interview a few months ago, and I was asked, 'What's the difference between a pop song and a country song?' I said, 'Right now, pop songs don't make sense and country songs do. That's the difference between the two right now.' It's hard to subscribe to anything that makes sense ... and I love to write songs. I'm a songwriter, and if it wasn't for country radio, I really wouldn't have many other outlets. It seems to be the outlet."

Even the industry is recognizing his art, nominating him for an ACM Award for Vocal Event of the Year for his collaboration with Kid Rock on 'Good to Be Me.' "It's awesome, but it's definitely a surreal feeling -- only because I don't know any other word to describe [it]," he says. "But I love it."

He will be working quickly on the as-yet-untitled project before heading out on Kenny's Goin' Coastal tour beginning March 17 in West Palm Beach, Fla., with hopes of releasing the first single in April or May, and the album following later this summer.

Download Uncle Kracker Songs | Buy Uncle Kracker Albums