Most Anticipated Country & Roots Albums for 2nd Half of 2020

Keeping up with all the releases in the country and roots realm is hard enough. COVID-19 has made it even more difficult with numerous delays and postponements on big titles, along with many artists waiting to announce their new records with all the uncertainty in the marketplace.

However there are still many important records coming up in the 2nd half of 2020, and it’s more important than ever that these artists and titles are supported, and not unfairly penalized just because their release dates fall amid a pandemic. So here are Saving Country Music’s “Most Anticipated” upcoming releases, along with a deeper list of known projects in the offing, along with the always exciting “rumor mill.” Even more so than normal, release dates these days are almost like moving targets, so all information is subject to change.

Hint: Bookmark this page, and come back on Fridays to make sure you don’t miss anything important. This list will be updated periodically under the “confirmed releases” heading when new albums are announced, though older albums won’t be removed from the list so people can look back at what they might have missed.

PLEASE NOTE: 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 to country and roots music, please feel free to share the information below in the comments section for the benefit of everyone.


Mike & The Moonpies – Touch of You – The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart – May 28th

Mike and the Moonpies were put in touch with Gary Stewart’s daughter Shannon, as well as Tommy Schwartz who runs Stewart’s estate, and the idea for Touch of You – The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart came together. “What they sent to me was about 20 songs of Gary’s unreleased that we were going to choose from, and maybe do one or two of them. But we decided to do a full on 10 song record of those songs,” says Mike Harmeier.

Anyone who knows both the Gary Stewart catalog and Mike and the Moonpies knows that Stewart was a primary influence on the band. Back during the band’s days of playing extended sets in Austin honky tonks, many Gary Stewart songs made it into the rotation. (read more)

Jaime Wyatt – Neon Cross – May 29th

Few performers in the last few years have embodied the Outlaw honky tonk spirit and injected it with a dose of West Coast and Bakersfield flavor like Jaime Wyatt. That’s one of the reasons her debut country EP Felony Blues ended up being nominated for the Saving Country Music 2017 Album of the Year. Full of grit and honesty, it was the true story of getting busted for robbing her heroin dealer and ending up in a California penitentiary that put a potency behind her music few others can present.

Now she’s back with a full LP called Neon Cross to be released by New West records on May 29th, and is once again being as honest and unapologetically country as ever, damn what the public thinks. Produced by regular tour mate Shooter Jennings, Wyatt bares her soul in 11 songs with appearances by Shooter, and his mom Jessi Colter. (read more)

John Baumann – Country Shade – June 5th

John Baumann has made a name for himself by releasing quality songs such as “The Country Doesn’t Sound The Same” off the new album. It’s this attribute that Kenny Chesney found when choosing to record “Gulf Moon” on his last record, or what had Saving Country Music naming Baumann’s “Old Stone Church” as a nominee for the 2017 Song of the Year.

John Baumann has also earned the mutual admiration of his songwriting peers. He’s currently a member of the supergroup The Panhandlers with Cleto Cordero, William Clark Green, and Josh Abbott. He also recorded another song that sticks up for country music a couple of years back called “Country Music’s Dead” with Mike and the Moonpies.

Hellbound Glory – Pure Scum – June 5th

Get as hot and bothered as you want about the newest names hitting the independent country scene, but those who know their stuff know that Leroy Virgil and Hellbound Glory are the some of the original country insurgents of the modern era who helped turn country music upside down, and open the doors for many of today’s heavy hitters.

There’s a reason 2010’s Old Highs and New Lows was considered the #4 Album of the Decade around these parts, and it’s not because of Leroy’s good looks and charm. It’s that he can write most anyone under the table, and we’re not talking nursery rhymes. A purveyor of what he’s referred to as “Scumbag Country” over the years, it’s stories from the seedy underbelly of life, but ones that aren’t light on the wordplay and wisdom. (read more)

Kyle Nix – Lightning on the Mountain & Other Short Stories – June 26th

Kyle Nix has never sung lead on a Turnpike Troubadours album, and rarely sings on stage aside from harmonies, perhaps leading some to believe he was a fiddle player, and a fiddle player only. But he’s been holding out on us big time. Lightning on the Mountain isn’t just a regular record. It has a whopping 17 tracks, and the LP version is a double vinyl. Kyle Nix not only wrote every song on the record except for one traditional, he made this solo debut conceptualized with deep storytelling, personal accounts, and stories he’s picked up from the road, all presented in a Spaghetti Western theme.

Oh, and possibly the best part is that the backing band is none other than Ryan Engleman, RC Edwards, Gabe Pearson, and Hammerin’ Hank Early—in other words, the Turnpike Troubadours. Recorded in Norman, Oklahoma with Wes Sharon as producer, it also features guest musicians such as Ian Moore, Byron Berline, Kevin Foster (of Jason Eady and Sunny Sweeney fame), and Dan Walker, known for playing keys for Heart. (read more

Corb Lund – Agricultural Tragic – June 26th

NOTE: Moved from April 24th

Hold onto your muk lucks because The Hurtin’ Albertans with Corb Lund at the helm will be releasing a new album come April 24th called Agricultural Tragic via New West Records. His first original studio record in five years and his 10th overall, the title is indicative of the theme of the new record, and also defines the approach to country music that Corb Lund has always taken as a rancher from rural Alberta attempting to interface with an increasingly modern world.

“I worked really hard on this album—harder than I’ve ever worked before,” Corb Lund says. “This time around I took my time and wrote more songs, rehearsed more with the band, and explored sounds much more deeply. It took some time, but I’m really proud of this one and I’m excited to finally be able to share it.” (read more)

Willie Nelson – First Rose of Spring – July 3rd

NOTE: Moved from April 24th

Willie Nelson will release his triumphant 70th studio album called First Rose of Spring via Sony’s Legacy imprint. Seceding much of the songwriting to others on this effort aside from a couple of tunes, the title track comes from the pen of Randy Houser, Allen Shamblin, and Mark Beeson, and has been released ahead of the record.

Also appearing in the songwriting credits is Billy Joe Shaver with “We Are The Cowboys,” Chris Stapleton’s “Our Song,” “I’m The Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised” popularized by Johnny Paycheck, and Toby Keith’s “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” which originally appearing in the soundtrack for the Clint Eastwood film The Mule. It perfectly encapsulates the Tao of Willie, who is still touring strong and releasing records at the age of 87. (read more)

Ray Wylie Hubbard – Co-Starring – July 10th

Ray Wylie has parleyed his many years of peddling mad influence in country and roots music into a collaborative album hosting a heavy dose of cool names. Called Co-Starring, it will be released on July 10th via Big Machine (yes, that Big Machine), and is preceded by the new song “Bad Trick” that itself sees Ringo Starr, Don Was, Joe Walsh, and Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes all show up to support Hubbard.

Other names that lend their services to the all-powerful and-knowing Wylie Llama include Ashley McBryde, Pam Tillis, Ronnie Dunn, Aaron Lee Tasjan, The Cadillac Three, Paula Nelson, Elizabeth Cook, Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, Larkin Poe, and Peter Rowan. (read more)

Joshua Ray Walker – Glad You Made It – July 10th

Dallas native Joshua Ray Walker impressed many with his debut album Wish You Were Here in 2019. And now he’s back with another State Fair Records release.

Walker and producer John Pedigo recorded the album by first tracking the sessions at Audio Dallas, capturing everything on two-inch reel-to-reel tape and working with the same musicians who appeared on his first album. From there, they went to Nashville where they set up a makeshift studio in an Airbnb and finished the album with contributions from numerous musical luminaries, including pedal steel player Adam Kurtz, singer/songwriter Mallory Eagle, slide guitarist Wade Cofer, and bluegrass picker Gaven Largent.

Lori McKenna – The Balladeer – July 24th

Lori McKenna is a hit country songwriter and a heralded Americana performer, and whenever a new song emerges with her name on it, you’re smart to take a pause from whatever trifle you’re busy with, and listen.

Her new album called The Balladeer will arrive on on July 24th via CN Records and Thirty Tigers, and will include 10 news songs, most of which were written solely by McKenna herself, and three with her well-known troika that also includes Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose, known affectionately by many as the Love Junkies. This will be music for adults, by adults, just like most of Lori McKenna’s recent offerings. (read more)

Courtney Marie Andrews – Old Flowers – July 24th

NOTE: Moved from June 5th

Courtney Marie Andrews is quickly becoming one of the most cherished songbirds of our generation. With a beautiful warbling voice, and and a wonderful talent for composing songs for it, she won the UK Americana International Artist of the Year in 2018, and has become one of the most sought after performers in the folk/Americana realm.

Courtney Marie will be returning with her latest record called Old Flowers via Fat Possum Records, and though Andrews has been by playing more electric guitar and exploring the soul side of her influences on recent tours, this record promises to go in a significantly different direction. Old Flowers will only feature three players total, including Courtney. (read more)

Mo Pitney – Ain’t Lookin’ Back – August 15th

If you think all major label artists are built the same, you don’t know Mo. Before Chris Stapleton blew up unexpectedly, before Jon Pardi hit it big, Mo Pitney was one of the few major label artists that gave us faith in country music’s future. Some fiddling around and foot dragging with his career by Curb Records took a bit of his early momentum away. But Piney remains one of the more promising performers in country music with a great voice, great picking skills, and an ear for songs that lean towards the traditional.

Produced by Jim “Moose” Brown, Jamey Johnson makes a guest appearance on the opening track. Along with Pitney co-writing seven of the songs himself, the album also features songwriters Paul Overstreet, Tim Nichols, Matt Jenkins, Trevor Rosen, Matt Ramsey, Billy Montana, Jimmy Yeary, Mark Nesler, Tom Douglas, and others. (read more)


OTHER CONFIRMED RELEASES

Gaslighter by The Dixie Chicks was slated for early May release, but have been postponed with no new release dates announced.

Doc Watson and Gaither CarltonMay 29th

Siren Songs – Self-Titled – May 29th

G.F. Patrick – One Town Over – May 29th

Rusticator – Between Lines – May 29th

Teddy Thompson – Heartbreaker Please – May 29th

Kip Moore- A Wild World– May 29th

Nell & Jim Band – Western Sun – May 29th

Jake Blount – Spider Tales – May 29th

Victor Camozzi – Black Dog – July 4th

Jerry Castle – Midnight Testaments – June 5th

The Harmed Brothers – Across The Waves – June 5th

Paisley Fields – Electric Park Ballroom – June 5th

Sarah Jarosz – World on the Ground – June 5th

Bryan James – Politics or Religion – June 11th

John Craigie – Asterisk The Universe – June 12th

Kree Harrison – Chosen Family Tree – June 12th

Andrea & Mud – Bad News Darlin’ – June 12th

Port Near Sandstone – Rising Tide – June 12th

Nate Lee – Wings of a Jetliner – June 12th

Pert Near Sandstone – Rising Tide – June 12th

Rob Snyder – The Way That I Am – June 12th

Larkin Poe – Self Made Man – June 12th

Carolina Blue – Take Me Back – June 19th

Kristen Grainger and True North – Ghost Tattoo – June 19th

Buster Sledge – Spirit – June 19th

Clint Black – Out Of Sane – June 19th

The Boomswagglers – Heartbreaking Places in My Mind – June 19th

Kelly Swindall – You Can Call Me Darlin’ If You Want – June 19th

Don Bryant – You Make Me Feel – June 19th

Darlin’ Brando – Also, Too… – June 19th

Monte Warden & The Dangerous Few – Self-Titled – June 19th

Lauren Calve – Wildfire EP – June 23rd

Sarah Jane Nelson – I’m Not Broken – June 26th

The Dead Tongues – Transmigration Blues – June 26th

Mike Thomas – Three Reasons – June 26th

On The Road: A Tribute to John Hartford – June 26th

Prinz Grizzley – To My Green Mountains Home – June 26th

Rich O’Toole – New York – June 26th

Emily Duff – Born on the Ground – June 26th

Scroggins & Rose – Curios – June 26th

Will Hoge – Tiny Little Movies – June 26th

Kyle Keller – All It Does Is Rain – June 27th

Sterling Drake – Living Alone – June 30th

F. Scott and the Nighthawks – Outlaws – July 3rd

Cody Landress-Gibson – Self-Titled – July 3rd

Victor Camozzi – Black Dog – July 4th

Bobby Braddock – Country Music’s Greatest Lines [BOOK] – July 6th

Brett Eldredge – Sunday Drive – July 10th

Margo Price – That’s How Rumors Get Started – July 10th

Steve Rivers – American Side Hustle – July 10th

Nocona – Los Dos – July 10th

Jack The Radio – Creatures – July 10th

Samantha Crain – A Small Death – July 17th

S.G. Goodman – Old Time Feeling – July 17th

Anthony Garcia – Acres of Diamonds – July 17th

The Texas Gentlemen – Floor It!!! – July 17th

Brent Amaker DeathSquad – Hello – July 17th

Scott Southworth – These Old Bones – July 20th

The Lucky Valentines – Horses – July 22nd

Cinder Well – No Summer – July 24th

Paul Haas – Long Time Gone – July 24th

Ted Russell Kamp – Down in the Den – July 24th

The Danberry’s – Shine – July 24th

The Satin Cowboy & The Seven Deadly Sins – Self-Titled – July 28th

Mac McAnally – Once in a Lifetime – July 31st

Alf Hale – Seven – July 31st

Evan Ogden – Undone – July 31st

Charley Crockett – Welcome To Hard Times – July 31st

Mighty Joe Castro & the Gravamen – Come On Angels! – July 31st

The Furious Seasons – La Fonda – August 7th

Golden Shoals – Self-Titled – August 7th

Steven Bruce – Same Time, Same Place, Same Station – August 7th

Cary Morin – Dockside Saints – August 7th

Mary Chapin Carpenter – The Dirt and the Stars – August 7th

Market Junction – Burning Bridges – August 7th

Kathleen Edwards – Total Freedom – August 14th

Gangstagrass – No Time for Enemies – August 14th

Arlo McKinley – Die Midwestern – August 14th

Twisted Pine – Right Now – August 14th

The Selenites – Moon Madness – August 14th

Caylee Hammack – If It Wasn’t For You – August 14th

Kolby Cooper – Vol. 2 EP – August 15th

Red Dirt Girls – Self-Titled – August 19th

Chuck Prophet – The Land That Time Forgot – August 21st

Eric Bolander – Window – August 21st

Mandy Barnett – A Nashville Songbook – August 21st

Trummors – Dropout City – August 21st

The Northern Belle – We Wither, We Bloom – August 28th

Back To Paradise: An Okie Tribute to Tulsa Music – August 28th

Ruston Kelly – Shape & Destroy – August 28th

Molly Tuttle – but i’d rather be with you [Covers Album] – August 28th

The Allman Betts Band – Bless Your Heart – August 28th

The Avett Bros. – The Third Gleam – August 28th

Wood & Wire – No Matter Where It Goes From Here – August 28th

Rob Williams – Weathering The Storm – August 28th

Karen Jonas – The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams – August 28th

Heidi Newfield – The Barfly Sessions – August 28th

Pete Krebs – All My Friends Are Ghosts – August 29th

Grant-Lee Phillips – Show Us Your Stuff – September 4th

Emily Barker – A Dark Murmuration of Words – September 4th

The Delta Spirit – What Is There – September 11th

Two Bird Stone – Hands & Knees – September 11th

Joan Osborne – Trouble and Strife – September 18th

Red Dirt: Born in Oklahoma [Book] – September 19th

Bella White – Just Like Leaving – September 25th

Malin Petterson- Wildhorse – October 16th

 


THE RUMOR MILL

George Jones recordings that were once used as bail collateral by two drug dealers are finally having the legal entanglements resolved, and could be coming to the public. (read more)

Zephanaiah OHora’s second album produced by Neal Casal should be announced shortly. Expect a late summer release.

Travis Tritt is planning a Dave Cobb-produced comeback record (read more).

Cody Jinks has a live record from Red Rocks on the way, as well as an acoustic record, potentially of covers songs.

Joe Nichols says he’s got a new traditional country record on the way.

Randall King has signed with Warner Nashville and released a couple of new singles. Expect the announcement on a major label debut to come soon. (read more)

Jessi Colter has a new album on the way produced by Margo Price. They were in the studio together in May 2019.

Sierra Ferrell has signed to Rounder Records, and if and when she announces a new album, it will immediately rocket to the top of the “most anticipated” heap. (read more)

New Charley Crockett record brewing, possibly mid/late summer. UPDATE: Welcome to Hard Times, July 31st.

Sarah Shook said on October 23rd, 2018 via social media, “Let it be known we are officially rehearsing for the next rekkid and we def gonna blow some minds bbs…”

Ward Davis is prepping a full LP to be released via Thirty Tigers.

Elizabeth Cook says that she has finished writing her next album.

Parker McCollum signed with Universal Music Nashville a while back, and has released a couple of singles ahead of an upcoming album.

Dwight Yoakam dropped two new songs in May of 2018, but no word if a new album to accompany them will be forthcoming.

Alan Jackson also released a new song “The Older I Get” in 2018, but no new news on a new record.

New Pat Reedy album called Make It Back Home coming. No release date yet.

The Shootouts recently recorded a song with Dale Watson at his home studio in Memphis, and a full album in Nashville with Chuck Mead producing. Album release late 2020 or early 2021.

Rachel Brooke has a new album finished. Stand by for more info.

James McMurtry has signed to New West Records. New record coming.

Joe Buck Yourself has re-emerged after a couple of years off the road, and says he has a new album on the way. (read more)

…and don’t be surprised if The Boomswagglers drop their much-anticipated new album sooner than later. Stay tuned.

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