It takes a certain gumption for an artist of Kix Brooks‘ stature to call his brand-new album New To This Town. But for his first outing as a solo artist since his superstar days with Brooks and Dunn, that’s exactly what he’s done. And, as he explained recently to Trish Biondo of US99.5, in an exclusive interview for CBS Local, he chose that title for good reason.

“I think this music’s really fresh and different,” he explains–a different animal from what he recorded with his longtime partner Ronnie Dunn. So from that perspective alone, Kix says “I do kinda feel new to this town.”

As half of Brooks and Dunn, Kix won numerous awards, earned 23 Number One hits, and sold more than 30 million albums. On top of that, he’s been a Nashville resident for some 30 years and counting. So, again, the guy is hardly newest person in town.

But as Kix explains, recording and touring on his own for the first time in  20 years has been a new experience–one that, he says, led him to feel “new” all over again.

“I think [the album title] kind of works for me,” he says. For instance, on one hand, part of him wishes that he truly was ‘new to this town.’ “It’d be nice to have a clean slate, and to throw this out without any preconceived notions”–which are inevitable for someone like Kix, who spent so many years as part of such a high-profile duo.

But on top of that, he says, with his new solo identity, “I am doing something completely different. Going out and playing these clubs…it’s like starting all over again. And from that standpoint, it gives me a really fresh and fun perspective.”

Kix also took what he calls a more “barroom perspective” on New To This Town–an approach, he says, that involved a lot more “shooting from the hip” than his Brooks and Dunn recordings.

“With Brooks and Dunn, we cut live, but a lot of our music, though never pop, was certainly well-polished. And this music is pretty much live, coming from a barroom perspective. It’s got a good rootsy feel.”

“To me,” he says, the result is a sound that’s “real fresh” and, maybe most importantly of all, “good for my soul.”

Watch the video for the album’s lead single, “New To This Town”:

New To This Town was just released this week and is in stores now.

– Kurt Wolff, CBS Local