Randy Newman hopes to end the wait for an album of new material some time in 2007. The veteran singer/songwriter tells Billboard.com he has eight or nine songs "in the middle of" being written, which

Randy Newman hopes to end the wait for an album of new material some time in 2007. The veteran singer/songwriter tells Billboard.com he has eight or nine songs "in the middle of" being written, which he says is unusual.

"Usually I'll start 'em and then finish them, one at a time. Why that happened this time, I don't know, but I've got three done, I think, and six or seven more to do," he says. "I'd like to maybe start recording some time this year [and] maybe get it out by the spring of 2007."

Newman will be previewing some of the new songs on his upcoming tour, a 17-date solo outing that starts Oct. 10 in Alexandria, Va. Among them is the love song, "Losing You," and "A Few Words in Defense of My Country" debuted earlier this year in Europe. "It's kind of an odd song about how things are now, in my opinion," Newman says, though he adds that direct political commentary is not a milieu he's comfortable with.

"I haven't done that more than two or three times in my life because they don't hold up," he explains. "The times change. I wrote something about the first Gulf war called 'Lines in the Sand'; that would work now, again, just coincidentally, but it's too specific."

Newman hasn't chosen a producer for the new album but says he tends to work relatively quickly once the songs are together. He also notes that each time he starts recording he's caught off guard by how long it's been between albums; this will be his first since 1999's "Bad Love," though he reprised some of his old songs in solo piano versions on 2003's "The Randy Newman Songbook, Vol. 1."

"It's always too long," Newman notes. "I think I should've tried to develop more of a liking for the studio. I don't like it in there much, the way some people do. But the possibilities for the studio, which are immense, I've never explored that much. Another thing I regret is I haven't put out more work. Elton John made five records while I was watching 'Monday Night Football.' I wish I'd done more, but there's nothing I can do about it."