Morrissey Protege Road-Testing New Tunes

As she heads into her final month of Morrissey opening dates, Kristeen Young is plotting out her next album.

As she heads into her final month of Morrissey opening dates, Kristeen Young is plotting out her next album.

The St. Louis singer/songwriter tells Billboard.com that she expects to return to the studio with producer Tony Visconti in January or February to start recording her eighth album, the follow-up to last year's "The Orphans."

She has about 15 new songs ready, including some -- "Comfort Is Never a Goal," "Everybody Wants Me to Cry," "Stop Thinking," "He's Sickened By My Crude Emotion" and "Halfway Across the Atlantic Ocean" -- that she's been previewing in her shows. She expects to write more before she begins the album as well, drawing from her experiences while touring to support "The Orphans."

"It sounds like me," Young says of the new material. "It's kind of like 'The Orphans,' but moreso, I would say. When we did 'Breastsicles' (2003) and 'X' (2004), we did more overdubs and people didn't respond as much. It really wasn't what we were like live. I'm all for experimenting in the studio and everything, but I just feel like I haven't gone far enough and can do the whole raw thing better, so I have ideas of how to make it even more in that direction for the next record."

Young says the new album will remain "piano-driven" and adds that she's on a mission "to bring the piano into the realm it used to be when Jerry Lee Lewis played it and Little Richard played it, all the fire it had. I know I'm not rockabilly, but I hope the essence I'm bringing to it is in that vein."

Young will still be visible while she's in the studio, however. She's been selected to be the Playgirl of the Month in the March issue of Playgirl magazine -- "The one with the naked men in it," she says with a laugh. "I'm real excited about it. It makes me sound like this jet-setting, stereo-listening female (with) a man in every port or something like that. I think it's cool."