Chris Isaak is happy enough to be spending the year trotting around the world promoting his new compilation, "The Best of Chris Isaak." But he's really chomping at the bit to get back in the studio to

Chris Isaak is happy enough to be spending the year trotting around the world promoting his new compilation, "The Best of Chris Isaak." But he's really chomping at the bit to get back in the studio to finish first album of all-new material since 2002.

"I've got a bunch of stuff recorded already for the next album, and a bunch of stuff written," Isaak tells Billboard.com. "I think I have eight or nine songs ready to go. If I didn't have any other interviews and any other shows to do, give me 30 days in the studio and I'm ready."

Isaak is not as definite about what the new tracks sound like, however.
"I'm a bad judge," he says with a laugh. "It all sounds like me to me. The only way I have an inkling that I even have a sound is other people say that. On one of the new songs I was putting an arrangement together, and my drummer [Kenney Dale Johnson] goes, 'Oh yeah, that sounds like you. It's so you doing this.' I dunno -- I just put 'em together the way I like 'em."

The artist doesn't expect to get back to work on the album until after Christmas. He'll be touring North America into early September, then has October and November dates booked in Australia, where "The Best of Chris Isaak" hit No. 1. But he does have new songs from that album to play for his concert crowds, including the originals "King Without a Castle" and "Let's Have a Party" plus a cover of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me."

"I was at my manager's house and that record came on," Isaak recalls. "She went, 'What a great song,' and I went, 'Well, I could sing that.' Then I thought, 'Can I?,' 'cause it was really something very different for me. So I started singing it, and I thought it would be fun if I could get the melody to go higher and higher and go to those kind of big stadium notes. It's a very fun song to play live."

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