Toby Keith Firing Off Singles from 'Bullets'
UMG

Country icon Toby Keith was so prolific in writing for his new album, the forthcoming "Bullets in the Gun," he actually took two songs off the album that he felt were potential singles.

"When I finished cutting the tracks, I felt like I had six or seven singles," Keith, who drops "Bullets in the Gun" -- his follow-up to 2009's chart-topping "American Ride" -- on Oct. 9, tells Billboard.com. "And I figured they're only gonna release three singles off this album. So I said, 'Man, there's no way I'm gonna let these [other] songs just be lost on the album,' so I ended up actually pulling two tracks off this album and putting them in the can for the next one, just so they wouldn't be lost."

Keith, who produced the album, says the glut of material for "Bullets in the Gun" was due to "more time writing by myself," including several songs during time off over the Christmas holidays. Keith also brough co-writers such as Rivers Rutherford, Bobby Pinson, Scott Emerick and Eddie Raven on the road with him. "The co-writing thing keeps me from being lazy," Keith notes. "When you've got a co-writer out here for two or three days and he's taking the time to fly out here and be with us, it makes you get up and work."

Keith himself came up with the album's first single, "Trailerhood," during a motorcycle ride in Oklahoma. He passed by a trailer home park where he used to reside and said to his companion, "'Let's turn around at the trailerhood and get out of here.' It just kind of sprung out; I made a faux pas and said 'trailerhood' instead of neighborhood or trailer park, and it made me laugh. So I just took my phone out and sent myself a message and then wrote it over Christmas break."

The album's next single is slated to be "Somewhere Else," a character study about a broken-hearted man -- "and a [Chicago] Cubs fan, so that just compounds the problem" -- who follows a grim nightly ritual between his workplace, the neighborhood bar and his TV. A third single is still up in the air, but "Bullets in the Gun's" title track is a contender, according to Keith, since he's been opening his shows with it this summer.

"Radio has come out and heard 20 shows and heard me open with it," Keith reports. "I'm sitting there with 'Trailerhood' on the charts and they're going, 'When are we getting that? We gotta have that!,' so it might work out to be a single, also."

In addition to the regular 10-track version of the album, "Bullets in the Gun" will also be released in a deluxe edition featuring four cover songs recorded at Keith's recent Incognito Bandito show at the Fillmore in New York City: Johnny Paycheck's "11 Months and 29 Days," Waylon Jennings' "I've Been a Long Time Leaving (But I'll Be a Long Time Gone)," Roger Miller's "Chug-A-Lug" and Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown."