"Nothing has made me prouder than not only watching my children grow up, but knowing that they want to be a part of the family business," says the country star

Last fall, country music legend Travis Tritt woke up to a bevy of headlines about his 23-year-old daughter Tyler Reese getting cozy with a certain country music artist. As social media scrutiny swirled around the shared pics, Tritt did what any daddy would.

He lent her some worthy advice.

"I basically tell all my kids not to pay any attention to them," explains Tritt, 58, during a recent interview with PEOPLE prior to the May 7 release of his new album Set in Stone. "I tell them to 'live your life' and 'do what makes you happy' and 'try to be a good person' and 'do the things that you know are right.' And yes, I tell them to 'try to avoid the things you know are wrong.' Everyone is going to have opinions and that's fine, but you don't have to subscribe to their opinions. Live your own life."

He sighs slowly. "They are doing life on their own, but they still get advice from me."

It's advice the father of three has put into practice not only in his personal life, but also throughout his four-decade-plus country music career. It's also advice that will certainly be needed as his children have shown a definite affinity to the social media spotlight that comes within a music career these days.

"Nothing has made me prouder than not only watching my children grow up, but knowing that they want to be a part of the family business," chuckles the Georgia native best known for chart-toppers such as "Help Me Hold On," "Can I Trust You with My Heart" and "Best of Intentions"

"Tyler is a tremendously gifted singer and [my 21-year-old son] Tristan is coming into his own too. I'm amazed by his talent and his tremendous amount of drive and motivation. If he isn't writing, he's rehearsing or he's producing or he's handling his own bookings. It's just great to watch and see this stuff happening for both of them."

And, thanks to the pandemic, Tritt was able to watch each and every one of these strides happen last year, as he along with the rest of the country music community found themselves off the road for the first time in a long time.

"Being able to constantly be around each other and experience life together at the same time and in the same place was the silver lining of the cloud of last year," admits Tritt, whose three children — he's also dad to son Tarian, 17 — still all live under the same roof with him and his wife of 24 years, Theresa.

Travis Tritt
Travis Tritt
| Credit: David Abbott

The unexpected events of last year also allowed the Grammy-winning artist to spend some heartfelt time on the creation of his first original full-length studio album in over a decade.

"I had this conversation with my manager (Mike "Cheez" Brown), and he basically told me, 'I still think you've got a lot of great music still left in you,'" remembers Tritt. "He told me that getting out there with new music would not only 'feed your loyal fans,' but give me the chance to reach new fans who might not be as familiar with my catalog. I totally agreed with him, but I was definitely concerned because I had been out of the studio for so long. Things had changed since then."

And while his concerns were understandable, Tritt says having the chance to work with famed producer Dave Cobb made him feel far more relaxed.

"He wanted to go in the studio with a live band and get as many live vocals from me as possible," remembers Tritt, whose raw rambunctiousness can be heard loud and clear on album cuts such as the nostalgic "Smoke in a Bar." "That all put me at ease. It took all of the fear and trepidation away. It ended up being so enjoyable."

It's a sweet spot that Tritt seems to be savoring, both professionally and personally.

"I'm in a really good place right now, and it's a great place to be."