Jason Michael Carroll is returning with his first new album in four years, and he's letting Taste of Country readers hear it first.

The singer took the country music world by storm with his freshman album, Waitin' in the Country, which debuted at No. 1 in 2007. He has since released two more studio projects, most recently Numbers in 2011 via an exclusive deal with Cracker Barrel. Carroll has been busy with songwriting, a full touring schedule and appearances for our troops overseas, but he admits there's one thing he's been neglecting.

"I forgot to keep making records!" he says with a laugh. "Until one day one of my fans hit me up on Instagram or Twitter and said, 'Jason, we love all these new songs you're playing! When are you going to put them on an album for us?' And I had a Homer Simpson moment, like, 'Doh!'"

Carroll is set to release his fourth studio album, What Color Is Your Sky, on May 5. He changed his approach for the record, working independently and funding the album through a Kickstarter campaign.

"This record wouldn't exist if it wasn't for my fans!" he says. "Whether directly by the ones who supported our Kickstarter campaign, or the ones who have supported us over the last several years by coming to shows, driving several states away to see us, telling their friends about us, buying our music or following me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and any other outlet they can find, this record is for them."

He and his band road-tested the songs extensively at live gigs before beginning the album, then carried the live arrangements into the studio.

"Every other record I've done has been in the A-list rooms in Nashville," Carroll says. "But through the miracle of modern technology, we were able to put this record together without setting foot in a studio. I created my own isolation booth with a couple of foam panels, so I did a lot of the vocals here at my house. Now and then, I would go and sing in my keyboard player's studio. I did all the loops at home."

That has allowed the singer-songwriter to keep a balance between his recording career and his home life, which is centered in North Carolina. The result is an album that he feels is the most honest representation to date of his true artistry.

"What Color Is Your Sky is, to this date, one of the proudest moments of my career," Carroll says. "I wrote or co-wrote every song on this record, and to have them all delivered in these recordings by the members of my band, past and present, adds to how special this record is for me."

What Color Is Your Sky is currently available for pre-order at iTunes.

Listen to Jason Michael Carroll, What Color Is Your Sky