OFFSTAGE: Kellie Pickler’s Next Step

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Yes, she is blowing us away with her grace and rhythm on Dancing With the Stars. But then what? Kellie Pickler told Rolling Stone where she’s going to go next.

“I’m bouncing from the dance studio to the recording studio, so hopefully my album will be ready to put out this fall,” she said. The new record will have some of her own songwriting, some collaborations with her husband Kyle Jacobs and some songs from outsider writers.

“It’s country — it’s Kellie country. I have that crying pedal steel. I grew up on traditional country,” she said.

She also told the magazine how devastated she was when George Jones passed away. “We perform some of his songs in our set on the road, and actually ’White Lightning’ is my Grandpa Pickler and I — that’s our song. I do that in my shows and I’ve always been a big George fan,” she said, adding that she’s considering recording a Jones song in tribute to the legend. Sounds like the perfect bonus track to me.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.