Halfway through his Cold Beers and Reindeers tour, the down-to-earth Josh Thompson is enjoying his time getting to know Texas. The 'Way Out Here' country singer-songwriter may take a shot of Jack before he goes on stage and he may aim to get the crowd to "keep those glasses in the air," but once he returns home for the holidays later this month, he'll be all about keeping things low-key with his family. Taste of Country sat down for an exclusive chat with Thompson about what's in store for his sophomore album, what it's like to hear himself on the radio and the Christmas song that gets him moving.

Have you been writing new music for your next album?
I have. I don’t go very long without writing. To me, it’s like a drug – it’s something that I need to do, so I’ve been writing pretty much non-stop this whole year, just trying to weed through ‘em [the songs] and see what we’re thinking about cutting for the next record. I’ve been kind of putting them into the set and getting the crowd reaction ‘cause that has a lot to do with deciding what you’re gonna put on a record.

Do you remember the first time that you heard one of your own singles on the radio?
I do remember the first time. I was between Oregon and Washington, driving in a car on Highway 5, I believe. I did have a little freak out moment. I thought it was the CD at first, so I pressed eject, and it wasn’t – it was on the radio. It’s so weird hearing yourself and your song on the radio. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

When the Cold Beers and Reindeers tour is over, it will nearly be Christmas. Have you started shopping yet?
I have not. I’ll get home on the 20th, and I’ll rush out [laughs]. I know, it’s gonna be a bad time to go, but that’s the choice I have.

What do you want most this year?
I just want some time with my family, really. We just eat, and my plan this year is to sleep. I think I’m gonna sleep about four days straight, if I can.

Are there any songs that get you in the holiday spirit?
I’m a big fan of ‘Jingle Bell Rock.’ It just gets me movin’.

Would you consider recording a Christmas album?
I’m not sure. I may, down the road. I’m definitely not saying no.

Do any gifts from your childhood stick out in your memory as favorites?
I’ll always remember my first bike. And my first gun, of course, was definitely memorable.

You seem like a grounded guy. Is there anything about the music industry that worries you?
Yeah, I mean, there’s always the fear of losing your place, of course. But I definitely don’t leave anything to chance. Anything that I can do, that’s in my power … I do everything that I can possibly do to stay where I’m at. It’s definitely not gonna be anything that I worry about too much because whatever happens, happens.

Whose work ethic in the country music industry do you admire?
I think Chesney is the poster child for that. He’s worked his butt off to get where he is, and it’s just as hard to stay there. He’s definitely, workwise, somebody that I look up to.

What can people coming to your shows expect?
I like to keep it movin’ and keep it uptempo and keep those glasses in the air. I do my record and I do some of the new songs that I’m lovin’, and I do a bunch of covers, too – the songs that inspired me to pick up a guitar. I do some Waylon [Jennings] and some [Merle] Haggard. I do some Charlie Daniels and stuff like that.

Maybe you should throw in ‘Jingle Bell Rock.’
Maybe [laughs]. Maybe I should.

Watch Josh Thompson 'Won't Be Lonely Long' Performance