Busy Country Release Day on May 3rd. Here’s Your Guide

May 3rd is one of those Fridays when the album releases come so hard and heavy, you really need help to make sure you navigate yourself in the right direction, and don’t miss out on something that may speak to you. So here’s a handy supplemental to Saving Country Music more extensive than the multi-week Release Radar to help get you through the week.

Shane Smith and the Saints – Live at Red Rocks

Officially released on May 1st, it’s only appropriate that one of the best live bands in roots music would release a live album, especially one chronicling their appearance in 2023 that many walked out of the picturesque Red Rocks Ampitheater in Colorado raving about. Shane Smith and the Saints are already in the clubhouse with one of 2024’s best studio releases so far with Norther. Now they’ll challenge for the best live release.

Live at Red Rocks features appearances from Molly Tuttle, Charles Wesley Godwin, and the Midnight River Choir, with the latter two appearing on a rather epic version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone.” The release comes as Shane Smith and the Saints ready another Red Rocks appearance on May 7th.

Sarah Gayle Meech – Easin’ On

Sarah Gayle Meech is the Queen of Lower Broadway in Nashville. And no, it’s not because she holds dominion over the corporate bars or bachelorette parties. It’s because she’s helped keep country alive in the Home of Country Music with her long-standing residency at Robert’s Western World. Playing four hour sets twice a week doesn’t lend to a lot of spare time, but Meech has squeezed out the precious moments to record her first album in nearly nine years called Easin’ On.

Expect the unexpected from this album. There is still plenty of Outlaw attitude in some tracks, but lush string arrangements and other enhancements made Easin’ On a unique and interesting listen worth the nine year wait.

Emily Nenni – Drive and Cry

Well-respected among her peers in the Nashville independent country scene, Emily Nenni returns with an album written distinctly from her experiences in Music City and served with a traditional country kick, while also throwing in a cover of Terry Allen’s “Amarillo Highway” for good measure.

“I spent a good bit of solitary time ruminating on things that had happened over the last year or two,” Nenni says. “Rethinking what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, who with, even in just the everyday. Change is hard but also such a gift. I’m most proud of the quality of folks involved in this record, they’re all top-notch professionals and the kindest people. I had so much fun —even through the tears—at every stage of making this record. I really hope everybody hears that.”

Tylor and the Train Robbers – Hum of the Road

Through lots of touring and tireless effort, Tylor and the Train Robbers have become one of the most revered and respected independent country bands from the West. With now their fourth album since 2017, they look to up the ante even more and continue to build a national name behind their efforts.

Helping them with Hum of the Road is long-time champion Cody Braun of Reckless Kelly, who set up with frontman Tylor Ketchum along with brothers Jason Bushman and Tommy Bushman to record in the famed Yellow Dog Studios in Wimberley, TX with engineer Adam Odor. The album was also mixed by Jonathan Tyler in Austin. This combines some of the best of Western country with top Texas talent.

Jay Gavin – Road Ready

If you’re looking for real deal and road-tested songs coming from the beer-soaked memories of a troubadour, Jay Gavin’s Roady Ready is right for you. Originally from rural Prince Edward Island, he dropped out of school in the 9th grade and had to get through life working with his hands in the fishing, logging, and construction trades. He did find time in his earlier years to play in punk and metal bands like Huskavarna and Speedealer, but now he’s returned to his country roots.

Road Ready was recorded in Nashville with producer Denny Knight who came recommended by Billy Don Burns who also appears on the album. Steel guitar great Steve Hinson appears on the album along with other Nashville notables.

Ordinary Elephant – Self-Titled

Though perhaps more the domain of folk than country, husband and wife duo Crystal Hariu-Damore and Pete Damore known as Ordinary Elephant have put something extraordinary together in their new self-titled album. They traveled down to Beaux Bridge, Louisiana to record with the legendary Dirk Powell, deciding at first to just capture the duo’s new songs in live, raw takes. What resulted was something so powerful, they decided to cease the process there. As can be heard in the album’s early singles, the writing and harmonies are rather stunning.

 “It was kind of a scary thought at first, to put ourselves out there in such a raw way. But honestly, this album is the purest distillation of our sound we’ve ever captured,” says Crystal. This title is not one to overlook on a busy release day.

Guy Clark – Truly Handmade -Volume 1

Stashed away in Guy Clark’s workshop that was famously recreated in the Country Music Hall of Fame were scores of work tape cassettes and reel to reel tapes holding a treasure trove of unreleased music from the songwriting legend. Some include finished songs, others songs-in-progress. Now the process has started to release some of the gems from this collection.

The 15 tracks were selected by Guy’s grandson Dylan Clark first transferring all the material from tape to the digital realm. Then close Guy Clark friend Rodney Crowell helped in the selection process of the songs. The collection includes well-recognized songs like “L.A. Freeway,” though it’s a different version than we’ve heard before, as well as songs like “Step Inside This House” that was recorded by Lyle Lovett, but never formally by Clark.

Mac Cornish – Never Made Much of a Lover

Raised in California and living in Portland, Oregon, Mac Cornish has made a name for herself performing at the annual Jackalope Jamboree in Pendleton, OR. Inspired by cosmic country legends like Gram Parsons, Jackson Browne, and Linda Rondstandt, she brings a strong attention to the songwriting on her debut album Never Made Much of a Lover. The eight original songs “grapple with my journey back to myself after getting sober, a brutal break up, and ultimately, self acceptance.”

Mac Cornish also earns bonus points for having the best-named backing band in the business: Mac Cornish and The Hens. She will once again appear at the Jackalope Jamboree on June 29th.

Other Releases:

Taylor Campbell Band – Broad River – Country/Americana band from San Antionio with a blue collar sound. Don’t overlook this release.

Will Kimbrough – Life of Me – Folk and Americana mainstay returns with his eighth studio album. “This album is not afraid to closely examine the wreckage and ruin of the past and the present. But it also expresses gratitude for every breath, for those we love, those who are still here, and those who we have lost. In the end, it’s just another expression of love.”

Calder Allen – Dreamers, Drifters, and Hiders – Progressive singer/songwriter album from the grandson of Terry Allen. Produced by Charlie Sexton.

Noel McKay – You Only Live Always – Singer/songwriter country.

Stephanie Sammons – Time and Evolution – Folk-leaning Americana produced by Mary Bragg

The Hollering Pines – Here’s To Hoping – Pourposeful, atmospheric Americana

Tenille Arts – to be honest – Contemporary country pop

Adeem The Artist – Anniversary – Americana/country

Sarah McCulloch – Driving Me Home – Folk/Americana.

Ruth Theodore – I Am I Am – British folk

Chris Smither – All About the Bones – folk blues

Bowen * Young – Us – Duo composed of Clare Bowen and Brandon Robert Young co-produced by Sean McConnell. Highly stylized contemporary Americana.

Phoebe Rees – Bring In the Light: Si Kahn’s Songs of Courage and Resistance – folk

Ellorie McKnight – Equinox EP (Bandcamp only)

Danno Simpson – OurVinyl Sessions EP

Grayson Jenkins – Live from Elkhorn Creek, Vol. I EP

(5-4) – Ernst Graves – Hallelujah! Raise Your Hands to Heaven

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