February 24th is a Big Release Day. Here’s What Not to Miss
There have been busier release days in the past year or so with 20+ albums on the Saving Country Music radar hitting the shelves all at once. But it’s who is releasing albums, and what those albums are that makes Friday, February 24th feel like an especially important release day that is worth highlighting.
When you have both Iris DeMent and Rose’s Pawn Shop releasing their first records in over eight years, along with important independent artists like The Shootouts, Matt Hillyer, and The Tender Things releasing albums, and then Dierks Bentley and Muscadine Bloodline releasing albums that could impact the mainstream, it’s a packed day for sure.
Here’s what you shouldn’t miss:
The Shootouts – Stampede
Ohio’s official throwback traditional country honky tonk band has a new album on the way, and it’s produced by Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel, and features appearances by Marty Stuart, Raul Malo of The Mavericks, and Jim Lauderdale. Sam Seifert also helped produce.
The Shootouts weren’t exactly planning on releasing a new album this year after releasing the Chuck Mead-produced Bullseye in 2021. But when Ray Benson agreed to produce a new album, they couldn’t help but oblige. Though Akron, Ohio isn’t exactly an epicenter of country music, that rust belt authenticity nonetheless makes a good backdrop for The Shootouts, and they’ve made a name for themselves in the Midwest and well beyond, getting nominated for Best Honky Tonk Group at the upcoming 2023 Ameripolitan Awards. (read more)
Channing Wilson – Dead Man
From Northwest Georgia, Channing Wilson is one of the most well-respected songwriters in Nashville who’s written songs for Luke Combs, Jason Eady, and many more. Folks have been salivating for a solo record from him for years, and now they’ll have one. Working with the renown Dave Cobb as producer, this is Channing Wilson’s official debut, and one of the most anticipated releases of early 2023, and finds a soulful, Outlaw, and Southern rock sound when listening to the early singles.
“Back in the Depression era, Jimmy Rogers was a big hit, and the reason why was because he sang all these sad songs that let people know they weren’t the only ones going through hard times. There are so many people out there right now dealing with problems like mental illness, but we still don’t talk about it nearly as much as we should. So, the one thing I hope for this record is that helps people realize that they’re not alone, that someone else feels the way they do. Because to me that’s the first step to feeling okay again.”
Matt Hillyer – Glorieta
We knew the frontman from legendary local Dallas country band Eleven Hundred Springs wouldn’t be on the sidelines for too long after the band announced their retirement in 2021. Matt Hillyer had already done ample time as a solo artist, and now he’s readying his first post-Eleven Hundred release produced by John Pedigo of the O’s, who’s also worked recently with Joshua Ray Walker.
On his solo career, Matt Hillyer says, “To me they’re all just songs I had a hand in creating, whether it’s an Eleven Hundred Springs song or one of my solo songs and I’m really proud of them. Those songs have gone places and have taken me places. I’m also excited to see where the new music will take me, because I have no plans to stop doing this anytime soon.”
Dierks Bentley – Gravel and Gold
It’s been a career of hits and misses for Dierks Bentley as he see-saws back and forth between pleasing his corporate masters on Music Row and paying down the mortgage on the second home in Telluride, and doing what he wants to do, which is dabbling in bluegrass and traditional country mixed with a bit of new school stuff to broaden the audience.
On his new album Gravel & Gold out February 24th, Dierks promises it will be more of the latter than the former, a more diverse offering overall, and for the first time, Dierks Bentley has stepped into the producer chair to ensure that the sound he wants is the sound you’ll get. He also brought in Ashley McBryde and Billy Strings to help him along.
“It’s been four years since I put out an album, and part of the reason for that is that I wrote and recorded two records that I didn’t feel were good enough and had to start over…twice,” says Bentley. “I’m going to be able look back on it for the rest of my life and be like, yeah, that was harder than I thought it would be, but zero regrets. I had to get it right. That’s the ‘Gravel & Gold’ of it all.”
Iris DeMent – Workin’ On a World
Any time Iris DeMent gets ready to release new music, it’s worthy of stopping down and paying attention. A landmark songwriter of American music, her new album is said to earnestly tackle both internal and external struggles in songs that that yearn for healing and constructive outcomes through the adversities of life.
It took six years for Workin’ On a World to come together. Working with co-producers Richard Bennett, Jim Rooney and Pieta Brown, Iris DeMent had much of the record done before the pandemic, but put it down after the lockdowns, perhaps feeling like the world had left what she wanted to say behind. But compelled by her collaborators to restart the project, she finished it up in April of 2022 in Nashville.
Muscadine Bloodline – Teenage Dixie
Charlie Muncaster and Gary Stanton are unabashedly Alabaman, and unafraid to sing about it, or to put a reference to the old South right in the title of their new 16-track album. Muscadine Bloodline has found a sweet spot between the independent and mainstream, drawing fans from both sides of the country music cultural divide via sensible songs with often deeper writing. The duo worked with Brent Cobb, BJ Barham of American Aquarium, and Adam Hood among others collaborators on the new album.
“’Teenage Dixie’ is a collection of stories with an eccentric underlying tone based in the south. Some are autobiographical, some are true in history books, some are fables about real figures, while some are stories told from a grandson of a man who is larger than life,” they say. “Regardless of this being inspired by the south, we are all a product of our raising and shaped by our upbringing. This record incorporates some of our favorite elements of a place that, for some, is anything but stereotypical.”
The Tender Things – That Texas Touch
Jesse Ebaugh formerly of The Heartless Bastards came completely out of left field and shattered all of our expectations when he released the 2020 album How You Make a Fool under the name of the music collective he’s assembled in Austin called The Tender Things. Those who got clued into the album sung it’s praises to the rafters, and said it was one of their favorites of the year.
Now he’s back, and working with Gordy Quist of the Band of Heathens as producer for the new 8-song set called That Texas Touch. Quist also recently worked on the latest albums from Jason Eady and Courtney Patton. Listening to the lead single “Carousel,” you can expect this one to be a little more greasy, sweaty, and funky. But don’t worry, there will still be plenty of that Texas twang too, and apparently, plenty of jalapenos.
Rose’s Pawn Shop – Punch Drunk Life
It’s been eight years since this Los Angeles-based outfit released a new album, prompting some fans to ask, “Where did they go?” Well they’re here once again, and are releasing a new album of Paul Givant songs put to the band’s unique fusion of “bluegrass instrumentation and folk-rock amplification.” Joining Givant in the current incarnation of the band is guitarist/producer Zachary Ross, upright bassist Stephen Andrews, drummer Matt Lesser, and multi-instrumentalists Tim Weed and John Kraus.
“We’ve always resonated with people who live in remote communities and far-flung locations,” says Paul Givant. “We spend a lot of our time playing mountain towns like Madrid, New Mexico, connecting to the people who, like us, are out there searching for something.” Givant and the rest of Rose’s Pawn Shop feel they have found something special with Punch Drunk Life.
Andy Hedges – Roll On, Cowboys
If you’re into Western acoustic music and cowboy poetry, this double album will be right down your alley. It includes duets and collaborations with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Michael Martin Murphey, Tom Russell, Dom Flemons, Pipp Gillette, Brenn Hill, Corb Lund, Waddie Mitchell, Brigid Reed, Randy Rieman, Rod Taylor, and Andy Wilkinson.
Truly a labor of love for his fellow Western singers and songwriters, the physical copy of Roll On, Cowboys from Andy Hedges also includes an expansive 28-page booklet. It includes both traditional and modern works of the Cowboy & Western genre from the Lubbock-based artist, many of which he hunted down himself, with “traditional” being credited as the origin of about a dozen of the tunes.
Lucero – Should’ve Learned by Now
Alt-country rockers Lucero were mostly dark and broody on their last two albums Among the Ghosts (2018) and When You Found Me (2021). One of the reasons for this was a purposeful attempt to be more weighty and intense. As many Lucero fans will attest, they were successful in that attempt, no matter how you feel about the songs themselves.
But it wasn’t that they weren’t writing any lighter material, they were just holding it back. It’s those songs that will comprise the new album. “All that fun stuff has a home!” the band says. “It’s time to get these songs out into the world! That’s how we got to the appropriately-for-us-titled album ‘Should’ve Learned by Now.’ The album is basically about how we know we are fuckups and I guess we are ok with that.”
Volores – Ages – Dark Americana post-punk husband and wife duo. Album was recorded at the famed Sonic Ranch in West Texas.
Sawyer Fredericks – The Golden Tree – Ernest acoustic folk music from the former winner of The Voice in 2015.
Colby and the Fudge Rounds
February 23, 2023 @ 9:30 am
Channing Wilson album is the one I’m most excited about.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
February 23, 2023 @ 9:47 am
You beat me to it, and I feel the same.
February 23, 2023 @ 10:40 am
Artists who use Sacks & Co. and Asha Goodman as their publicist need to understand that despite spending significantly more money on publicity than most all other publicity agencies around, their music is not getting serviced to sites like Saving Country Music, and the 1.5 million unique viewers who come here each month. Not only are they not servicing sites like this, they’re actively keeping them in the dark, resulting in less press, and thus, less listeners for their music by using Sacks, despite spending more money with Sacks than for publicists that will work twice as hard for them.
Sturgill Simpson once fired Sacks and Asha Goodman for how it treated Saving Country Music and other outlets, and some day I may tell the full story of how this company does their business, and how it has hurt some of the independent artists we all care about here and want to support.
Channing Wilson has been added above. I’d covered Channing’s singles and added him to the Top 25 playlist, but had been waiting on a proper album announcement. Apparently that came when I was out covering Mile 0 Fest, and since he is a Sacks & Co. artist, I didn’t see it. But I will be covering this album and this artist, despite Sacks & Co.’s best efforts under the ludicrous notion that if they just don’t service projects to me like their clients pay them to do, eventually Saving Country Music will be starved for content, and implode.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
February 23, 2023 @ 12:20 pm
Sounds like a good story we’d like to hear. It’s been a while since you picked a fight with anyone…
Colby and the Fudge Rounds
February 23, 2023 @ 8:21 pm
Thanks Trig. I was very unaware of all this. Just wanted to make sure you knew it was coming since you’ve helped me find so many albums.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
February 24, 2023 @ 8:23 am
Well, apparently it was all for naught anyway. The singles were the best songs.
February 23, 2023 @ 9:37 am
February 23, 2023 @ 9:42 am
If it’s not already on your radar, you should listen to Theo Lawrence’s “Cherie”. It was released 2 weeks ago and it’s a truly a great throwback album.
February 23, 2023 @ 9:55 am
So excited for Channing!!!!
February 23, 2023 @ 11:07 am
Really excited for Muscadine Bloodline. Mainstream country doesn’t do too much for me, but they toe the line perfectly. I enjoy a handful of their older songs, but they found a sound on their last album I can really get behind, and the singles they’ve put out so far go right along with that.
February 23, 2023 @ 8:59 pm
Yes to everything in this comment.
February 23, 2023 @ 11:09 am
Yep like everybody above I’ve been loving these Channing Wilson tunes so far, didn’t know an album was coming this week either. Can’t wait to hear it!!! He’ll be here next Friday @ Joe’s Live hopefully I’ll get there.
February 23, 2023 @ 11:39 am
had to look up that you meant rosemont, not weed street. also, dement is at ots for the first time in a long time on 7/16, which is also the last day smokeout (zac brown / eli young day).
February 23, 2023 @ 10:38 pm
Man glendel, I haven’t been to the Old Town School of Folk music in many years!! I used to go see one of my favorite old folk/Americana duo’s Over The Rhine there in the early 2000’s when I was also hanging at Shuba’s, Martyrs etc….. All nice venue’s, more Folk than Country but very cool. There’s nobody at the Smokeout I care to see this year which is fine I don’t have the patience for it anymore anyway. Didn’t mean to slight The Shootouts in my post I’m looking forward to hearing their album too, Muscadine Bloodline’s as well. Great release day!!!
February 23, 2023 @ 11:33 am
“Roll on, Cowboys” sounds intriguing.
February 23, 2023 @ 12:31 pm
can’t wait for the new tender things. love the art too.
February 23, 2023 @ 12:34 pm
I was thinking about preordering the Dierks vinyl but it was a signed card instead of the sleeve.
I met Matt Hillyer several years ago in Beaumont. I could write a whole paragraph of his talent.
February 23, 2023 @ 12:53 pm
Dierks fan since the old Nashville days. Went downhill when he got rid of Brett Beavers as a producer & went with Copperman. Hoping & praying & liking what I have heard, thus far.
February 23, 2023 @ 3:01 pm
I always wondered about that.
February 23, 2023 @ 1:11 pm
Rose’s Pawn Shop is amazing. Very much looking forward to the new album. Have been waiting 8 years…
I got to see them at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass many years ago. So fun. They should be as famous as Mumford and Old Crow put together
February 23, 2023 @ 1:19 pm
Just saw The Shootouts on Cody & Coffee this am. They debut at the Opry tomorrow night.
They played a new song “I’ll Never Need Anyone More Than I Need You Tonight”. It is actually a remake of a song by Cleveland great rocker Michael Stanley that came out in the80’s now with a Country twist. The Michael Stanley Band was huge in Ohio, breaking attendance records and playing great music, but never broke nationally except for songs “My Town” and “He Can’t Love You”. Stanley died last year and wasa Cleveland icon. Saw MSB play while in college and they were a great band.
Good luck Shootouts!
February 24, 2023 @ 4:48 pm
MSB was the soundtrack of my youth growing up on the west side of The Land in the 80’s. Still play my original Heartland vinyl often. This is so damn cool that The Shootouts covered this song! Damn it sounds good. Michael is smiling up there. Thanks for this comment Terry or else I never would have found it.
February 23, 2023 @ 1:35 pm
Thanks for the Andy Hedges shout out! He’s a good dude. With Ian, Don Edwards and Jack Hannah (Sons of the San Joaquin) passing, Andy is carrying the flag for Cowboy and Western music.
February 23, 2023 @ 1:41 pm
A couple artists releasing singles as well – I’m sure there is more but I’m looking forward to the new tracks from Bella White and Miles Miller
February 23, 2023 @ 9:19 pm
Real curious about miles.. Bella is something special. Always a pleasure hearing music from her
Billy Wayne Ruddick
February 24, 2023 @ 9:35 am
Looking forward to the Miles Miller album. Produced by Sturgill, and I saw a post on IG that references Laur Joamets playing on the album too.
Billy Wayne Ruddick
February 24, 2023 @ 9:38 am
Definitely sounds like Laur on the slide.
February 23, 2023 @ 2:31 pm
I think Dierks’ release will be solid. He is usually pretty reliable for solid music. I like the direction sonically The Mountain was going 4 years ago. Add a little more twang to that, could be a sleeper for sure.
February 23, 2023 @ 5:25 pm
I’ve always been a huge Eleven Hundred Springs so I’ve been counting down the days to the Matt Hillyer release. What I’ve heard so far sounds very promising.
February 23, 2023 @ 8:54 pm
Dierks has been hit and miss past few years,The Mountain had some good stuff, but I’ll always root for the guy because Up On the Ridge was such a great album and he seems like a genuinely good guy who respects the past and independentartists. I hope Gravel and Gold picks up where The Mountain left off.
February 24, 2023 @ 12:43 am
Just gave Gravel and Gold a couple of listens on Spotify. I really, really like Heartbreak Drinking Tour, Something Real, Still, Cowboy Boots (although Dierks’ vocal needlessly overpowers Ashley’s when they harmonize; he and Elle King were much more equal partners on her “Worth a Shot.”), Walking Each Other Home, All the Right Places and Ain’t All Bad.
Gold does nothing for me, just a typical Dierks made-for-radio single, and the Billy Strings duet, while instrumentally delightful, is pretty lightweight as an actual country song. Color me disappointed.
I don’t think this album is going to win over the hardcore traditionalists, red dirt fans or those who insist on raw authenticity. Dierks is still what he’s always been, a bank executive’s son, educated at pricey private schools and a couple of even pricier universities, who has created through his music an appealing outsider/drifter persona. His lyrics seldom get it completely right — even Walking Each Other Home, which I love, tries a wee bit too hard to deliver a Big Message — and he can’t completely remove the Nashville sheen from the finished product.
That said, the instrumentation here, apart from the requisite crunchy guitar chords and pounding drums, is clearly more organic than usual, and Dierks sounds good throughout. I think about a half dozen of the songs on this album would work on mainstream country radio, and all save for the painfully generic Beer at My Funeral would be several steps up from Gold.
February 24, 2023 @ 4:59 am
I believe Cody Ikerd and the Sidewinders are releasing their first full length album on May 14th. Check out some good ol’ Hoosier Cody Country.
February 24, 2023 @ 6:03 am
February 24, 2023 @ 6:41 am
2nd spin through the new Lucero album this morning. It’s a home run.
February 24, 2023 @ 6:50 am
Glad to see everyone excited about Channing Wilson this morning. Another great release today is from Ben Chapman. The album Amber Sound is available under Ben Chapman and Co. The band released their debut last year and are up and comers touring with Lainey Wilson.
Also, Ben Chapman band member Meg Mcree’s album Is It Just Me is coming out next week. Looks to be a good one.
February 24, 2023 @ 5:27 pm
I don’t know how I missed your post, been listening to Make the Night Better getting ready for the Lainey Milwaukee show. I like it a lot! Didn’t know about this, I’ll definitely check it out too…….busy busy day!!!
February 24, 2023 @ 5:58 pm
Good stuff. Listened to the debut album all summer.
February 24, 2023 @ 7:17 am
Don’t sleep on the new Ben Chapman – Amber Sound Vol. 1.
Or don’t sleep on Ben Chapman at all.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
February 24, 2023 @ 8:34 am
Absolutely, Erik. Thanks for the cup check.
February 24, 2023 @ 7:28 am
Hey Trigger, check out Radio Company’s new album, Keep On Ramblin. It is sure as heck country.
Sir Adam the Great
February 24, 2023 @ 8:08 am
We’re getting reviews of all of these on the 24th, right?
Michigan Country Music
February 24, 2023 @ 8:41 am
New album means new haircut time for Dierks!!
His stuff the last decade has been fine and good, rarely great. But he’s consistently fine and a better catalog and career than so many.
Agree with comment above that the billy strings duet was underwhelming.
February 24, 2023 @ 9:03 am
The Benjamin Dakota Rogers album from 2/17 is fantastic. His version of Blackjack County Chain is even more fantastic.
February 24, 2023 @ 10:21 am
Dougie Poole’s Rainbow Wheel of Death is out 2/24, too. Highly recommend his album Freelancer’s Blues from 2020 if you haven’t heard it yet – had it on repeat that year.
David: The Duke of Everything
February 24, 2023 @ 1:37 pm
Listened to roll on cowboys by Andy hedges. Awesome album. Even has some I guess cowboy poetry in it. Really great. If you like cowboy type music, you couldn’t do much better. Thanks Trigger, for turning me onto an album I probably never would have known otherwise.
February 24, 2023 @ 4:47 pm
The new Muscadine Bloodline is just so fun. White hot guitar licks, grooves, definitely a touch more amped up than their last album. It won’t make anybody’s brain explode, but it’s hard not to enjoy.
February 25, 2023 @ 11:04 am
Andy Hedges also has a great podcast https://www.andyhedges.com/cowboy-crossroads
Billy Wayne Ruddick
February 25, 2023 @ 1:24 pm
The new Arthur Hancock EP is great too.
February 25, 2023 @ 7:33 pm
I noticed Turnpike had no tour dates from mid December until late February. Any word on whether maybe some of that time was silent in studio? They’re bound to be planning new material to cash in on their newfound popularity.
February 25, 2023 @ 8:00 pm
I expected the Turnpike Troubadours to release a single and announce a new album in late 2022, and at the absolute latest, to release a new single in the last 2 to 6 weeks. At this point, I have no idea what to think, except when they do release something, it will be behind Rolling Stone’s paywall, because Asha Goodman and Sacks & Co. have no idea what they’re doing.
Billy Wayne Ruddick
February 26, 2023 @ 12:33 am
Trigger – come to Nashville in September for the Moonpies / Boland / reckless show at the Ryman.
The first annual “crackershire crackdown”. Midland will make an appearance.
February 26, 2023 @ 8:14 am
We’ll see. I might be there.
February 27, 2023 @ 10:18 am
This new Tender Things album is hittin’ the spot. Very funky. Can’t sit still in my seat this morning listening.