Colt Ford 2014
Courtesy of Average Joes Entertainment

Colt Ford is diversifying a little bit these days. Next Tuesday (July 1), the popular entertainer will be releasing two projects – a new album entitled "Thanks For Listening," as well as a 64-page full-color comic book called "The Average Joes" – a take off on the name of his record label – that will feature him as well as his labelmates saving the world and fighting crime. Ford tells Billboard being involved with the project has been a lot of fun.

“That’s been neat thing to be a part of,” Ford says. "["Average Joe" partner] Shannon Houchins and I have talked about some different things like that for awhile, and to actually see that come to fruition has been pretty cool. I certainly don’t think I’m any kind of super hero, by any means, but it’s been great to see all of that come together in that realm that is made for a lot of country kids and something they can get into.”

The comic book will be sold separately, but also as part of a deluxe package that will be sold at Walmart on Tuesday, as well. He feels that "Thanks For Listening" offers somewhat of a more reflective Ford, as well as a chance for fans to hear him sing a little more than what they are accustomed to. He said the disc is very personal, and he hopes that listeners will dial into that.

“I think that you kind of write from where you are. That’s where I’m at with this record. I think it’s the best one I’ve made – lyrically, melodically, and sonically, the record just sounds and feels good. You try to push yourself as a writer and an artist, and I think I’ve gotten better as that, but you’ve also got to be conscious not to forget where you came from, how you got there, and the fans that got you there. I feel that we accomplished that with this record. We just pushed the boundaries a little more. There’s three songs with me singing on them, and we just tried to show people I could do that. You’ve just got to have the right songs at the end of the day. I think we did that.”

As usually is the case with a Ford release, there are plenty of collaborations on "Thanks For Listening," ranging from Keith Urban, “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson, and Lee Brice. Ford says that most of his recording partnerships happen live in the studio, but sometimes schedules can’t allow that to happen. “When you’re dealing with other artists, you have to do what you have to do to make it work sometimes. Their time and your time don’t always match up. I’ve been blessed that all these artists are all friends of mine, and for them to take their time and be a part of what I’m doing and help these songs come to life is very humbling for me.”

“Farm Life” features the talents of Justin Moore – a duet that Ford has wanted to take place for a long time. “I think Justin Moore is the most underrated country singer in our genre, to be honest with you. He’s one of the best out there. He and I have been friends for a while. We’ve been trying to do a song for the past two or three records, but just haven’t found the right one. I think that one has a great melody, and it’s perfect for us to do something about the farm,” he said.

But, it’s the title cut – penned by Ford and Brett Jones – that is the emotional centerpiece of the record. He says it’s what he wants to say to his loyal fan base. “When you win an award, you always thank the fans,” he surmises. “I don’t know that I’ll ever win an award. I don’t play music to win awards, but the only reason I would love to win one is so I could thank all those people. That’s what I wanted to do with this record – a lot of people say ‘Thank You,’ but I wanted to say it through music. That’s where we came up with the idea of doing the credits and the liner notes. It’s really cool to be able to do that. For them to buy the record, and see their name on it, I thought that was really cool because they’ve always been so good to me.”