The summer is winding down, but the fall and winter release cycle in country and roots music is heating up, with some of the most anticipated projects of the entire year to be released between now and when the hammer falls on 2018. To help you keep up, here’s a list of Saving Country Music’s most anticipated releases for the final portion of 2018, a more detailed list of most all the releases confirmed in country and Americana, as well as an updated “Rumor Mill” of what might be on the way.
Hint: Bookmark this page, and come back on the release days to make sure you don’t miss anything important.
PLEASE NOTE: This list starts with albums being released in September. No artist or album was overlooked, snubbed, or disregarded here. If you know of an album that is going to be released that you believe is of interest in country music, please feel free to share the information below in the comments section for the benefit of everyone.
James Carothers – Still Country, Still King: A Tribute to George Jones – September 7th
James Carothers is an under-the-radar Nashville-based honky tonker who over the last few years has become an installation at the George Jones Museum and Restaurant complex on Lower Broadway. Only fitting that he would record an album in tribute to his patron saint. There’s no problem with James Carothers’ originals, but when folks pass through the Shrine to No Show, now they can bring home a bit of what they hear when Carothers performs his Jones covers.
James Carothers was personally hired by George’s widow Nancy to perform at the venue. He was also nominated for an Ameripolitan award for Outlaw Male last year.
William Elliott Whitmore – Kilonova – September 7th
Whitmore’s first long-form release on Bloodshot Records is a collection of 10 cover songs from artists who have influenced his 15 plus-year career. Each of the tunes offers a glimpse into how his attitude and aesthetic were formed, like a series of tattoos, scars, or other time-accumulated personal markings.
Kilonova takes on a variety of musical heroes, both obvious and not, both well known and not, in a range of sonic forms. In the stark a capella take on Dock Boggs’ 1920s old-timey hit “Country Blues” you can hear WEW at the pulpit, evangelizing the truth to his believers. The classic Harlan Howard country number “Busted” is updated with a swampy, bluesy version revealing a modern sort of despair and necessary perseverance.
Willie Nelson – My Way – September 14th
Named for Frank Sinatra’s 1969 signature song, My Way will feature 11 tunes made famous by Frank, and done anew by Willie with lush string and horn arrangements where appropriate, as well as contributions from signature musicians in Willie’s cadre such as harmonica player Mickey Raphael. As with all of Willie’s recent records, My Way is produced by Buddy Cannon, with Matt Rollings also helping.
Though one of the most recognizable country performers in history, Willie Nelson’s long-standing love for jazz and pop standards makes My Way not an entirely unexpected endeavor, and if anything perhaps a little overdue. (read more)
Bri Bagwell – In My Defense – September 21st
They’ll tell you that Texas country has no ladies, but they’re shooting their gaze over some great ones, including Jamie Lin Wilson, Courtney Patton, Sunny Sweeney, Kaitlin Butts, and perennial of the Texas music tour circuit, Bri Bagwell. Produced by Rachel Loy, and featuring co-writes with Courtney Patton and Jody Booth, according to Bri Bagwell, this is the record is her going all-in.
“I am so proud of the record we have created, no matter how cliche that sounds,” Bagwell says. “I have put everything I have, and every dollar to my name creating this record for myself and my fans. I truly believe it is the best record I have ever released, and the pressure I felt to create something great pushed me to the max. I embraced it. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.” (read more)
Kristina Murray – Southern Ambrosia – September 21st
Originally from working class Atlanta, Murray spent six year playing country and bluegrass music in Colorado, and released her first record Unravelin’ in 2013. Moving to Nashville the next year in full pursuit of a country music career, she’s been willing to hustle with day jobs, writing music with her 1963 Gibson J-45 at night, saving up money, clawing forward, and doing what she can to make her dream come alive. Murray funded the recording and production of Southern Ambrosia herself. (read more)
John Howie Jr. – Not Tonight – September 21st
When the time came to record his first “solo” album, singer/songwriter John Howie Jr. (Two Dollar Pistols, Rosewood Bluff) decided that the set of songs he had at hand, a set that documented the dissolution of a relationship, was just too personal to release under any banner other than his own name. That set of songs became Not Tonight.
“This album is a step forward from a disconcerting period of time in my life,” Howie says. “In this case, the long, slow dissolution of a relationship. Everything that goes with that is in these songs: loss, loneliness, booze, suspicion, all of it. Not Tonight confronts a specific, painful period in my life, and the music is largely sparser, the lyrics more confessional than before. It ends on a relatively high note, but it’s a mighty rough road gettin’ there.”
Loretta Lynn – Wouldn’t It Be Great – September 28th
Wouldn’t It Be Great was originally scheduled to be released on August 18th, 2017 via Sony’s Legacy Recordings. But after Loretta Lynn suffered a mild stroke on May 5th, 2017, Lynn chose to delay the release until she was healthier to help promote it. Then on January 8th, 2018, fans were notified that Loretta Lynn had suffered another health setback after falling and fracturing her hip.
The new album features 13 songs, all of which were written or co-written by Loretta herself. Just like her first Legacy Recordings release, the album is a mix of new songs, and re-recordings of some of her most legendary cuts. (read more)
The Black Lillies – Stranger To Me – September 28th
Consisting of long-time founding member and frontman Cruz Contreras, along with well-respected singer and songwriter in his own right Sam Quinn on bass, as well as guitar player Dustin Schaefer and drummer Bowman Townsend, the Black Lillies have garnered a strong fan base from appealing to folks across roots platforms, from country, bluegrass, Americana, and everything in between. Their partnership with Texas music booking agency Red 11 has also made them honorary members of the Texas/Red Dirt scene. (read more)
JP Harris – Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing – October 5th
After releasing an auspicious and well-received honky tonk shit kicker in 2012’s I’ll Keep Calling, and following it up with the equally killer Home Is Where The Hurt Is in 2014, JP Harris fans have been chomping at the bit for new music for the last four years. A classic workaholic who plans national tours between remodel projects and building studios for the high tone of Music City, he’s garnered a strong grassroots fan base and respect throughout the independent industry, including being asked to curate his own showcase as part of the 2018 Newport Folk Fest.
“We took a counter-intuitive approach,” JP Harris says about the new album. “We had no pre-production. There were no rehearsals. We basically had a whole studio full of multi-instrumentalists, a six-piece band total, for the whole recording session. Everybody played at least two instruments.” (read more)
Colter Wall – Songs of the Plains – October 12th
Said to be a full dive into the inspiration of his home of the Saskatchewan prairie, Colter writes seven of the new album’s 11 songs, with contributions also coming from Billy Don Burns, “Calgary Round-Up” by Canadian country legend Wilf Carter, and two traditional cowboy tunes “Night Herding Song” and “Tying Knots in the Devil’s Tail.”
Once again produced by Dave Cobb, the music contributors include legendary country music steel guitar player Lloyd Green, Mickey Raphael on harmonica, fellow Canadian Corb Lund on backing vocals, Chris Powell on drums and percussion, Jason Simpson on bass, as well as performer Blake Berglund on backing vocals. (read more)
Adam Hood – Somewhere In Between – October 12th
As a writer for Grammy award-winning producer Dave Cobb’s Low Country Sound, blue-collar storyteller Adam Hood is most known for his songs recorded by Miranda Lambert, Brent Cobb, Anderson East, and Lee Ann Womack. After years of writing for others, Somewhere in Between is an album that finally finds Hood telling his own story. It features Hood writing or co-writing 10 of the record’s 11 tracks.
Hood recorded most of the album live at Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studios over two quick days. His goal was to create something that reflected the raw, real sound of his concerts, where overdubs and unlimited takes are never an option. The result is a record that reflects Hood‘s Opelika, Alabama-bred working class roots, mixing the upbeat thrill of roadhouse roots-rock songs with the contemplative, stripped-down sway of country ballads.
Jason Isbell – Live at the Ryman – October 19th
Via Southeastern Records distributed by Thirty Tigers, Live at the Ryman features songs from his critically-acclaimed releases Southeastern for 2013, Something More Than Free from 2015, and 2017’s The Nashville Sound. Isbell’s last two records landed him four Grammy Awards total. Producer Dave Cobb also worked to help put this new live record together.
As folks who’ve seen shows at the Mother Church can attest, the acoustics are world-renown, and the atmosphere is electric. Playing on the same stage that Hank Williams and so many others took to become famous gives extra weight to the moments and the music. (read more)
Whitey Morgan and the 78’s – Hard Times and White Lines – October 26th
Mark down October 26th on your calendar, then underline it, circle it, hang pulsating string lights around it, train a spotlight on that son-of-a-bitch, tell your boss it’s a national country music holiday and you’ll quit without a second thought if you don’t get it off, ’cause that’s the day Whitey Morgan will be releasing his latest and long-anticipated album Hard Times and White Lines.
The Flint, Michigan native who now calls interior California his home helped pave the way for many of the independent country artists we see today, while still releasing his own superior output. (read more)
Jamie Lin Wilson – Jumping Over Rocks – October 26th
Texas music singer, songwriter, spirit animal, and general badass woman Jamie Lin Wilson has announced her follow up to 2015’s Holidays and Wedding Rings. It comes at a time when Texas music is looking for headliner-caliber women, and looking in the direction of Jamie Lin from her magnetic stage presence, years of service in the scene, and songwriting that has turned legendary in Texas/Red Dirt circles.
Jumping Over Rocks includes a host of Texas music talent contributing to the project in both the songwriting and performance department. Aside from a recording of Guy Clark’s “Instant Coffee Blues” with guest vocals by Jack Ingram, all the songs on Jumping Over Rocks are co-written by Wilson, with half of them being solo writes. (read more)
Dillon Carmichael – Hell On An Angel – October 26th
The Dave Cobb-produced Hell On An Angel was originally slated to be released on August 17th, 2018 on Riser House, which Dillon Carmichael is signed to both as an artist, and as a songwriter. Now the album will not be released until October 26th, 2018
Only in his mid 20’s, Dillon Carmichael’s love of traditional country music is strong, as is the pedigree and promise in his young career. From the tiny town of Burgin, Kentucky, Dillon Carmichael is the grandson of Harold Montgomery, who was a respected Kentucky country singer, and Harold Carmichael, who was a member of The Carmichael Brothers. More famously, he’s the nephew of country music performers Eddie Montgomery, and John Michael Montgomery. Dillon first signed a songwriting deal before he finished high school at the age of 18. Co-writing 8 of the 10 songs on Hell On An Angel, the album also sees songwriting contributions from Jon Pardi and Leroy Powell. (read more)
Blackberry Smoke – Southern Ground Sessions EP – October 26th
The Georgia boys will be releasing the Southern Ground Sessions EP as an accompaniment to Find A Light. Featuring acoustic renditions of five songs from Find A Light and a cover of the late great Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky,” it’s a stripped-down addendum to the record that went #1 in pure album sales in country upon its release.
“It felt really cool to come back to Southern Ground Studios and play music with some good friends,” says frontman and songwriter Charlie Starr. “It was like stripping it down and playing in the living room.” (read more)
Other Confirmed Releases
Cheryl Desrée – Dreamy – September 7th
Ray Bonneville – At King Electric – September 7th
Armadillo Road – Self-Titled – September 7th
The Stray Birds – Let It Pass – September 7th
Ben Fisher – Does The Land Remember Me? – September 7th
Handsome and the Humbles – We’re All The Same – September 7th
Kathy Mattea – Pretty Bird – September 7th
Jordie Lane – Glassellland – September 7th
Grand Old Grizzly – Pure Country Pyrite – September 7th
Tom Freund – East of Lincoln – September 7th
New Reveille – The Keep – September 7th
Malcolm Holcombe – Come Hell or High Water – September 13th
Richard Thompson – 13 Rivers – September 14th
Bill Anderson – Anderson – September 14th
Cory Morrow- Whiskey and Pride – September 14th
Alejandro Escovedo – The Crossing – September 14th
Asleep At The Wheel – New Routes – September 14th
Carrie Underwood – Cry Pretty – September 14th
The Band of Heathens – A Message From The People Revisited – September 14th (a re-recording of the 1972 Ray Charles album of the same name)
Brandon Lee Adams – Time That I Was Leavin’ – September 15th
Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard – Sing Me Back Home: The DC Tapes, 1965-1969 – September 21st
Mandy Barnett – Strange Conversation – September 21st
Lauren Balthrop – This Time Around – September 21st
Jeff Mamett – Carry Me Back – September 21st
The Jellyman’s Daughter – Dead Reckoning – September 21st
Pony Creek – Pott County – September 21st
Robbie Walden Band – When The Rooster Crows – September 25th
Tony Joe White – Bad Mouthin’ – September 28th
Katie Cole – Things That Break, Part 1 – September 28th
Nobody’s Girl – Waterline EP – September 28th
Michigan Rattlers- Evergreen – September 28th
The Earls of Leicester – Live at The CMA Theater in The Country Music Hall of Fame – September 28th
The Louvin Brothers – Love & Wealth: The Lost Recordings – September 28th
Town Mountain – New Freedom Blues – October 5th
Hymn For Her – Pop ‘n’ Downers– October 5th
Michael Martin Murphey – Austinology – Alleys of Austin – October 5th
Eric Church – Desperate Man – October 5th
Jim Wyly – The Artisan – October 5th
The Bottle Rockets – Bit Logic – October 12th
Sarah Borges – Love’s Middle Name – October 12th
John Hiatt – The Eclipse Sessions – October 12th
Hilary Scott – Don’t Call Me Angel – October 12th
Elvis Costello – Look Now – October 12th
Greg Hawks – I Think It’s Time – October 12th
Dirty River Boys – Mesa Starlight – October 19th
Belle Plaine – Malice, Mercy, Grief, and Wrath – October 19th
Hillstomp – Monster Receiver – October 19th
Lefty Frizzell –An Article From Life: The Complete Recordings – October 19th (20 CDs Bear Family)
Carson McHone – Carousel – October 26th
Nick Dittmeier and the Sawduster – All Damn Day – October 26th
Jordan Robert Kirk – Listening For The Sound – October 26th
John Hatchett Band – Mother Nature Wins Again – October 26th
Randy Houser – Magnolia – November 2nd
The Mavericks – Hey! Merry Christmas! – November 2nd (All original Christmas songs)
The Gibson Brothers – Mockingbird – November 9th
Wheeler Walker Jr. – WWIII – November 30th
Emily Scott Robinson – Traveling Mercies – February 22nd, 2019
The Rumor Mill
Steve Earle says he’s working on a Guy Clark tribute.
Josh Turner has been saying he will release a Gospel album on October 26th, but no official word has come down on it as of yet.
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band have been teasing that a new album is on the way while their currently on a big world tour.
A book on the life of Billy Joe Shaver is on the way (read more).
Dwight Yoakam dropped two new songs in May, but no word if a new album to accompany them will be forthcoming.
The Pistol Annies‘ new album is finished, just waiting on a release date.
Flatland Cavalry have been working on a new album, but any future tours will not involve fiddle player Laura Jane.
Cody Johnson has partnered with Warner Music Nashville and released the lead single to a new album (“On My Way To You”), but so far no official word on a new album.
We’re still waiting on the The Randy Rogers Band album produced by Dave Cobb we were anticipating to be released in 2018. If it will be, we will hear a release date soon. Otherwise, it may be early 2019.
Dale Watson is supposed to have a new album out any day now, though there appears to have been some delays. His last record was his effort with Ray Benson at the very start of 2017, and it’s not unheard of for Dale to release two or three records in a given year.
Michaela Anne has been recording in California with Sam Outlaw as a producer. Expect more news soon.
Sam Outlaw has also been recording his own album in California.
Ben Haggard‘s long-awaited debut album could be on the way soon. Don’t be surprised if a famous name is tied to the release from Merle’s son.
Alan Jackson released a new song in 2017 “The Older I Get” ahead of an anticipated 2018 release, but so far we haven’t heard any more.
Sturgill Simpson should be nearing a new release, but no official word has come down just yet. When it does show up, expect it to be loud.
Koe Wetzel was promising a new album in the summer of 2018. That’s obviously not going to happen. We’ll have to see if it shows up later in the year, or holds off until 2019.
On December 21st, 2017, the official David Allan Coe twitter account tweeted, “Big news on the new album coming soon…” Though nothing has been confirmed, the rumors continue to swirl that Coe could be involved with Average Joe’s Entertainment owned by country rapper Colt Ford. Coe did a new version of “Take This Job and Shove It” with Average Joe’s artist The Moonshine Bandits in early 2017. But so far no further details have materialized.
Caitlin Rose has waited a very long time to release new music, all the way since early 2013 with The Stand-In. Once one of the brightest prospects of the east Nashville insurgency, and still a common face in east Nashville haunts and a voice found on many projects emerging from the area, she hinted on Instagram in late 2017 that new music may finally be on the way. “Cut some freakin bangers with these guys this holiday season,” she said. “Very into it. Plz stand by.”
Julie Roberts has been working on a new album produced by Shooter Jennings called I Think You Know. No release date yet, but she will be releasing a book called Beauty in the Breakdown coming out September 18th.
Austin Meade is working on a new album for 2018. “It is a kick ass representation of who I’ve become, with the fingerprints of my favorite artists.”
Chris Knight says he’s “pretty close” to delivering a new record, has plenty of songs, just needs to pick them out and get into the studio.
A new Ward Davis album is in the offing, perhaps for early 2019 now that running buddies Cody Jinks and Whitey Morgan have released their latest efforts.
Ryan Bingham has been dropping hints about a new record for a while. It’s a good bet we’ll hear more sooner than later.
Holly Williams has a Dave Cobb-produced album in the can, and this has been the case for years now. Still no word on when it may be released, but she recently had another child, which may keep her music career on hiatus for a bit longer.
Dalton Domino has been dropping hints and allegations about new music headed to the public.
Shane Smith and the Saints previously promised a new album by the end of 2018.
Rosanne Cash may have a new album on the way. At one point she was telling people to anticipate something new in the fall of 2018. She’s also receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Americana Music Awards in September—perhaps a good time to piggy back an album announcement.
Emmylou Harris is writing a memoir. “Over the years I’ve been asked, and finally I thought, ‘You know probably, because of where I find myself and the wonderful life I’ve had, somebody’s gonna write my life story, and I would prefer that it be me.’”