Josh Thompson is hard at work in the studio putting the finishing touches on his highly-anticipated sophomore album on Columbia Nashville. Thompson became an instant hit with country music fans with his first three singles -- 'Beer on the Table,' 'Way Out Here' and 'Won't Be Lonely Long.' The three tunes showed the singer's fun-loving side, his strong beliefs and his undeniable songwriting talent.

Thompson recently sat down with Taste of Country to give us an exclusive update from the studio, where he filled us in on what to expect from the sophomore project due later this year.

Can you give us an update of where you're at in the studio?
We have recorded all the songs, I think. I'm almost positive. We actually over-cut. Last time we cut 10 songs, and there were 10 songs on the CD. This time, we over-cut by like four, and we're just going to really wait to get them sung. These last five or six that we did [last week] aren't all the way sung yet, so I have to do that, and I have to get the harmonies and overdubs. Once we do that, we're going to sit down and listen to everything, and hopefully it will tell us what it needs to be. At least that's what I'm hoping on [laughs]! I'm hoping the songs will tell me where they need to be and if they need to be on the record.

Compare the song selection to your previous album. Is it going in a different direction?
I think I'm still shooting for a little more tempo. The first record had a lot of tempo on it. I was able to survive [close to] two years with one record and still have a fairly rockin' show. When I pick songs, I try to keep what I love, what I think my fans are going to dig, the live show, and radio, and kind of juggle it all. I'm trying to get some tempo in there, so after the second record comes out, we can do 90 minutes of original songs with a pretty rockin' show. I think the songs also show a little more depth to me as an artist. You can see a little more of the songwriter in me with some of the songs. I think that it's really well-rounded.

In what ways has your songwriting evolved since the last album?
I've really come accustomed to writing on the road. What the road has to offer is a lot more alone time if you want it. You can sit down with a guitar and just kind of feel your way through things. To me, where the cool stuff happens is just sitting around and accidentally finding this melody and then becoming attached to it, and then eventually put some words to it. I think writing on the road has really helped a lot because it offers way more than just a four-hour meeting on Music Row. It offers you however much time you need, really, because we're always on the road.

Do you prefer to start songs on your own and then take it to somebody for a co-write?
It just depends. If you've got a certain idea, I know what writers it would be great for me to take it to or I'll just write it by myself.

Since the first album was such an amazing compilation of songs, did you feel pressure to avoid the sophomore slump going into the making of this new album?
It was a lot more pressure. I think most of the pressure came from the first record we cut. I jumped off the road playing the cover band gigs because we were concentrating on writing songs and getting the record deal squared away. I was in town, and it was easy to do and find time. The stressful thing about this one is like kind of pigeonholing dates and ready or not, this is when we're doing it. That's been the most stressful part, is trying to get the time and get the musicians I want to work around my schedule because they're busy, too. It's worked out so far.

Was there something you learned through making the first album that you did differently this time in the studio?
I switched producers because I wanted to use a certain band, and I really picked a producer that worked well with the band I wanted. The fellas I've been using for my demos for a lot of years, I just really feel comfortable with. I wanted to use them. Doing that in the studio was a little more relaxing because I knew the guys and I could explain to them what I wanted, and we know each other. It made that process a little easier.

Will you be releasing any more songs off the 'Way Out Here' album?
No, I think the first single off the second record is going to be next. I think it will be in September, I just don't know what it's going to be yet.

Watch the Josh Thompson 'Won't Be Lonely Long' Video