JT Hodges
 Glen Rose

JT Hodges has been in the studio as of late, and he's quite excited about what he's been doing. 

"I've cut four sides already," he tells Billboard. "We've got quite a few new songs we're working on with different people. I did the first four sides with Mark Wright. It's the best work I've ever done, and I know that's what people say as an artist, but I feel like this is going to change my life and take my career to another level. It's been a good run thus far, and we've built a solid foundation. I'm very happy with how things have come about. Now, I get to go to the next level, and build upon the frame of the canvas of what I've painted thus far."

The Fort Worth native has charted a trio of records on the Hot Country Songs chart, with "Hunt You Down" making it inside the top-40. In addition to working in the studio, Hodges has been accumulating plenty of road time with such artists as Toby Keith.

He's very excited about one date in particular – Oct. 13, which will find him in Jackson, TN – headlining "Bone Appétit," a benefit for the West Tennessee no-kill animal rescue group Downtown Dogs Group. In addition to Hodges, the event will also feature cuisine from some of the top chefs in the region -- such as Andreas Kisler -- a five-star chef at the internationally renowned Peabody Hotel in Memphis. For Hodges, the event gives him a chance to blend his love of music with that of man's best friend. 

"Ever since I've been a little boy, I've always been a big fan of dogs. It's one of those things. I was watching 'The Life of Pi' for the first time, and there was a line in the movie about animals having souls. They're always there for you, regardless of what your day has been like -- when you come home, they're ready for you to pet them, and to show you affection. It's just something I'm very passionate about, and just feel like it's the least I can do -- for all animals. They have done a lot for me. Anyway I can help them, it makes me feel better."  

He has fond memories of those dogs that have been a part of his life, particularly one that helped him get over an injury when he was seven.

"I had just gotten into an accident on my bike while my parents were out of town," he says. "I remember them walking into the house, and this Australian Shepherd puppy that they had brought home as surprise for me and my brother just kind of walked into the house into the living room where I was getting doctored up. He started sniffing around, and all of a sudden the pain from the bike injury went away, and I started rolling around on the floor with this dog. He was my childhood dog from the age of seven all the way up to twenty-one. I have so many great memories of him. The family used to go skiing every year in New Mexico, and we'd take him with us. We'd drive through Kit Carson National Forest on our way there, and it would be around Christmas time. We'd get in the snow, and he'd hop around like a kangaroo. He was very special."

Get more on the Downtown Dogs Group here.