Later this year, Lynyrd Skynyrd will return to the recording studio and begin work on their first album since 2009's 'God & Guns.'

Frontman Johnny Van Zant tells Billboard the songs are written for the new project, but the band didn't want to turn away paying gigs -- including more dates with ZZ Top -- to get the project finished before summer's end.

"It's a good year so far; everybody's healthy and we're getting a lot of work," Van Zant says. "So we'll probably take to it in November, and then probably take off the middle and latter half of December and come back in January and finish it off."

The rock legends continue to write most of the music themselves, with only minimal help from friends like former Boston drummer Tom Hambridge. The new songs won't deviate from longtime Lynyrd Skynyrd fans expectations. "If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it," says Van Zant. "We write about things that we've done or things that have happened to people around us. It's for the common people, people who have made this great country of ours. That's what the heck I say we always write about."

It's unlikely fans will hear a preview of the new music at shows this summer. Van Zant says none of the songs are more than rough cuts, and it's still too early to think about playing them live. "Once we get back out before the record comes out next year, maybe we'll be playing some, but not 'til then."

Watch Classic Lynyrd Skynyrd Footage of Gimmie Three Steps'