July 12th, 2024 is a MASSIVE Release Day. Here’s Your Guide

There is no rest for the wicked or your overworked ears. When you have Sturgill Simpson, Billy Strings, and Megan Moroney releasing highly anticipated albums on the same week, as well as William Michael Morgan making a return, Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen reprising their “Hold My Beer” franchise, not to mention over a dozen more quality projects, it all calls for a road map to get you through it. You can find that road map below.

Johnny Blue Skies (Sturgill Simpson) – Passage du Desir

To be released on Sturgill’s High Top Mountain Records, Passage du Desir was produced by Sturgill with long-time collaborator David Ferguson, and recorded at Nashville’s Clement House Recording Studio (a.k.a. “Cowboy Arms”) and London’s Abbey Road Studios. Aside from those details and the eight song track list, we don’t have a whole lot of insight on what to expect from the new album. You can’t take it for granted that it will even be country. It’s probably a good bet that it will be a conceptualized song cycle of some sort.

It comes after Sturgill Simpson officially “retired” after a five album cycle as a solo artist, but left the door open to forming a band. It happens to be that his band is made up of his backing band’s most legendary lineup of guitarist Laur Joamets, bassist Kevin Black, and drummer Miles Miller. However, the liner notes from the album show it’s Jake Bugg on guitar, Dan Dugmore on pedal steel, along with Sierra Hull, Steve Mackey, and Fred Eltringham participating in the sessions.

Megan Moroney – Am I Okay?

Megan Moroney has emerged as one of the bright spots and surging artists in mainstream country at a time when it needs the kind of feminine kick she brings to the table. Her songs are sensible, but often slathered with steel guitar and classic country themes to capture a wide swath of country fans crossing tastes and appeal. Hopefully her sophomore album finds more of this and not a softening of approach. It was once again produced by Kristian Bush.

Moroney’s song “Tennessee Orange” saw her best commercial performance, while songs like “Girl in the Mirror” and “I’m Not Pretty” found her fans among traditionalists and critics. Moroney was nominated for six ACM Awards, speaking to how she’s making waves in the mainstream. This could be one of the most important mainstream country releases in 2024.

Billy Strings – Live Vol. 1

Seeing bluegrass phenom Billy Strings live is one of the modern marvels of the universe. It’s is an other-worldly, enrapturing experience that words fail to convey the power of. All the more reason to permanently affix that experience to vinyl and allow people in the present and future to get as close to divinity as possible without being there.

After signing with Reprise Records, Billy Strings promised we would be seeing ample live releases for the foreseeable future since live is really the place his music is best expressed as opposed to the studio. Sometimes you see a “Vol. 1” from an artist and roll your eyes, knowing a “Vol. 2” may never materialize. For someone like Billy Strings, we may be talking about “Vol. 20” in the future. (read more)

George Dearborne – Lotta Honky Tonkin’ Left In Me

George Dearborne is not a name many people will recognize, but his album Lotta Honky Tonkin’ Left In Me is one every true country music fan should be paying attention to on a busy release day. You may have never heard of Dearborne, but I bet you’ve heard of Jim Ritchey who produced it, or Brent Mason and Jim “Moose” Brown who played on it. This album is honky tonk to the core.

“Very few performers carry the tradition of preserving dancehall music; sadly, it seems to be a dying art. George Dearborne is a hidden gem…one of the greatest performers on the honky tonk stage,” says Jim Ritchey.

“I hope to take listeners back to Cutter’s Dance Hall in Beaumont, Texas in the early 90’s with this one!” Dearborne adds.

Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen – Hold My Beer Vol. #4 EP

These two Texas music superstars are joining forces once again for their fourth official release to coincide with their annual “Hold My Beer” acoustic tour. These volumes are where these two really get to stretch their country music legs and hone their bonafides with twang and traditional country songwriting. It’s also where they often engage in a little bit of humor. Some of us are still in stitches over the song “Rodeo Clown” from Vol. #2.

All of the six songs were written by Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen, with Wyatt McCubbin, David Lee Murphy, Aaron Raitiere, and Jim Beavers working as co-writers. The “Hold My Beer” tour runs from July 17th to 27th in various venues throughout Texas.

William Michael Morgan – Country Classics Vol. 1

We all fell in love with William Michael Morgan’s classic country throwback style and his excellent country voice with his breakout #1 single “I Met A Girl” from 2016. Unfortunately for Morgan, he was ahead of his time as a traditional revivalist, and eventually was let go from his label. Even better though, now he’s free to do as he pleases, and what he wants to do now is cover a bunch of country music classics.

Track list includes: 1. Let Your Love Flow w/ The Bellamy Brothers 2. Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me 3. Rhinestone Cowboy 4. Behind Closed Doors 5. Good Ole Boys Like Me 6. Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man w/ Kylie Frey 7. Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes 8. She Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles) 9. Please Come To Boston 10. The Ride 11. Everything That Glitters 12. Why Me Lord.

Conrad Fisher – Live from Ragamuffin Hall

Ragamuffin Hall in Mifflin, PA is quickly becoming a valued destination for fans and artists of traditional country. It’s owner Conrad Fisher is helping to christen the hall and launch his own record label called Ragamuffin Records with Live from Ragamuffin Hall—a series of live recordings from Fisher and his band that he says “are all better than me.”

Incidentally, Fisher is also working with traditional country artist Zacharaiah Malachi through the new label as well. Malachi has just released a new single called “Heartbreak.” It’s from his upcoming album that will be called Nashvillian.

Cassandra Lewis – Lost in a Dream – This could be a big album in the Americana world as it sees Cassandra making her major label debut on Elektra/Low Country Sound with producer Dave Cobb. Co-writers include Natalie Hemby and Anderson East. Consider this soulful “cosmic Americana.”

Bridge City Sinners – In The Age of Doubt – From Portland, the Bridge City Sinners are one of the premier Gothic country bands behind dynamic front woman Libby Lux. This album will be a little darkness for those lost souls in the swelter of summer.

Bones Owens – Love Out of Lemons – Bones Owens has made a career out of sitting frustratingly just outside of the country realm, and leaning more towards classic soulful rock. He’s always good for a good time and some slick tunes.

Rainy Eyes – Lonesome Highway – Produced by Dirk Powell, this one finds a cool 70s country rock vibe. Rainy Eyes and Lonesome Highway are worth exploring.

Steve Earle – Alone Again (Live) – 15-track live album of Steve Earle classics (“Copperhead Road,” “Guitar Town,” etc.) recorded on his 2023 tour.

Tray Wellington – Detour To The Moon – Wellington impressed many with his 2022 album Black Banjo. He’s back with many inspirational and compositionally-adept bluegrass and old-time style tunes.

Maya de Vitry – The Only Moment – Indie folk/indie rock Americana.

Donovan Woods – Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now – Inspired singer/songwriter Americana.

The Magnolia Janes – The Light Years – Americana/folk/indie pop-rock singer-songwriter duo.

Happy Landing – Golden – Folk rock/Americana from Oxford, Mississippi.

Blackwater Railroad Company – A Lovely Place To Die – Folk rock from Seward, Alaska.

Various Artists – Silver Bullet Bluegrass – 13 Bob Seger tracks done bluegrass style.

Ben Jarrell – A Country Song – Country.

J.D. Graham – Sergeant of Sorrow

Drew Parker – Camouflage Cowboy – Mainstream up and comer with a mostly mainstream sound, but surprising roots and country instrumentation.

Colin Stough – Lookin’ For Home EP – Mainstream up and comer signed to BBR that has shown some promise with early singles. More country than most, but still with major label style.

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