The amount of country/roots/Americana releases coming at you each week has officially reached critical mass. And it will spill over like a school bus taking a dive into an above ground pool on Friday, October 28th. You have albums being released that will vie for Album of the Year. You have country legends releasing long-anticipated records. You have up-and-comers releasing career-defining projects. And it’s all coming at you at the same time.
Luckily though, you know about little ol’ Saving Country Music, so at least you have a head start trying to navigate the insane amount of releases. Here is a guide to help you through what will be the busiest release day in 2022.
Gabe Lee – The Hometown Kid
Many country music artists are based in Nashville, and many more come to the city every year to “make it” in the mecca of the country industry. But a very select few country performers are actually from there. Gabe Lee is one of those rare few, and he’ll be offering his assessments and perspectives on his hometown along with other heartfelt expressions in his new album.
First emerging with his 2019 debut album farmland, Gabe Lee quickly distinguished himself as a top flight songwriter in the field of new independent country performers, and an incredibly passionate and soulful singer. Gabe Lee continues to be one of the most underrated songwriters and performers in the current independent country wave that is swelling into a tsunami, threatening to consume Nashville and cleanse the streets of the wannabes and copycats. (read more)
Lainey Wilson – Bell Bottom Country
Lainey Wilson continues to be one of the bright spots in the mainstream, and just may be hitting the big time even more after it was revealed she will be a cast member during the 5th season of the massive blockbuster show Yellowstone this fall and winter, playing a songwriting character similar to her true self. When better then to coincide this appearance with the release of her sophomore album Bell Bottom Country, with a title emblematic of her expressive personality.
“I’ve lived quite a bit of life the past few years, and I have a lot more to say,” Wilson explains. “Sure, I love a good pair of bell bottoms, but Bell Bottom Country to me has always been about the flare and what makes someone unique—I have really embraced mine, and I hope y’all can hear that across this project.”
Julie Roberts – Ain’t No Hurry
For years we’ve been hearing about a Julie Roberts comeback record produced by Shooter Jennings. And now after nearly a decade of absence, the aptly-titled Ain’t No Hurry is finally arriving. Not only is Shooter credited as a producer, so is songwriter and performer Erin Enderlin. And these aren’t the only big names involved. The lead single is a duet with Jamey Johnson on Ray LaMontagne’s “Music City’s Killing Me,” with covers from KT Oslin and Jessi Colter as well. Brent Cobb and Waylon Payne also show up in the album credits, and there’s a duet with Randy Houser as well.
“It’s a record of strength,” Roberts says. “I’m reinventing myself here, both musically and lyrically, while still paying tribute to the traditional elements people know me for. I never imagined I could feel this much joy. It puts life into such clear perspective and makes me even more excited about sharing my life journey through new music.”
Emily Scott Robinson – Built On Bones
This is a cool little album that is perfect for release during the Halloween season, even if that wasn’t the original intent. Built on Bones includes six original songs written by Robinson around the Witches of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Originally commissioned as a live piece for theater by director Colin Sullivan, it was recorded with Brandy Zdan as producer, and became a deep passion project for Robinson.
Though this should be considered more of a side project for Emily Scott Robinson, with the way she continuously delivers incredibly well-written songs as a premier composer of our time, Built On Bones should not be taken lightly, and makes for a great release for the season.
Teague Brothers Band – Love and War
When he’s not running his ranch or construction company in Winnie, TX, US Army Veteran and songwriter John Teague can be found fronting the Teague Brothers Band. Following up the band’s 2019 debut album Harvest Day is the new album Love and War, led by the album’s debut single “American Folk Song,” which exemplifies the band’s strong songwriting coupled with an energetic delivery.
You may remember the Teague Brothers Band from a while back when Turnpike Troubadours frontman Evan Felker was hiding out in Texas, working on ranches during his recovery. When Felker first chose to emerge once more, it was with a cowboy mustache and The Teague Brothers backing him up at a local benefit. That about as big of a ringing endorsement as you can get from a big name in country music.
Trampled By Turtles – Alpenglow
Call them bluegrass. Call them folk or Americana. Call them whatever you want, but when Trampled By Turtles take the stage, something magical happens that’s hard to quantify. They grab your attention with amazing instrumentation normally only reserved for the highest echelons of bluegrass, while the songwriting of frontman Dave Simonett puts them in a different stratosphere and classification.
Dave Simonett and his bandmates Erik Berry (mandolin), Ryan Young (fiddle), Dave Carroll (banjo), Tim Saxhaug (bass) and Eamonn McLain (cello) come together once again for the band’s 10th album overall over a nearly 20-year run (has it really been that long?). The album is named after the optical phenomenon when the sun casts a reddish glow at dawn or dusk, accentuated often by mountains in the distance. (read more)
Memphis Kee – Wimberley
Produced by the sixth member of Mike and the Moonpies, Adam Odor, and recorded down in Wimberley, TX at Odor’s Yellow Dog Studios, the Austin, TX-based band reminds you of the rambunctious days of Austin country rock by combining Red Dirt influences with Memphis blues in a style the band calls “shred dirt.” Formed in 2020 behind frontman Memphis Kee, this is officially their debut album after Memphis released an EP in 2019.
Also part of Memphis Kee are Spencer Carlson (lead guitar, vocals); Paul Pinon (drums); Joey Sisk (bass) and Jake Waylon (mandolin, keys, guitar, vocals). Their most recent single from the album “Come Pick Me Up” features Cody Braun from Reckless Kelly, and Mike Harmeier of Mike and the Moonpies.
Flatland Cavalry – Songs To Keep You Warm EP
Produced by Bruce Robison at his famed studio The Bunker in Lockhart, TX, the EP features six songs written by Flatland frontman Cleto Cordero, and appearances by Ashley Monroe, and Cordero’s wife Kaitlin Butts. The goal of the EP is spelled out right there in the name, and is preceded by the single “Mountain Song.”
“An idea came to me in June, out of the blue, late one evening at bedtime after a very long and wearisome few weeks on the road,” says Cleto Cordero. “I was in the kind of place where I was completely exhausted, both mentally and physically, and laying there in a state of surrender, the entire idea for this EP just flashed into my mind: The studio and producer, the songs and the theme, ‘Songs To Keep You Warm.’
The Great Divide – Providence
Though defining Red Dirt music may not be that easy, if you ask anyone who knows anything about it, they’ll attest that Mike McClure and The Great Divide were one of the founding fathers of it, that’s for sure. They released five albums back in the day, including one on a major label, and even had Garth Brooks cover one of their songs. But when Mike McClure went solo in 2003, the band name was mostly retired, until recently.
Now the band is officially back with their first album in 20 years. “The overall arc of the record is dealing with time; it asks how much time we have left in our lives and how we want to spend the remaining years,” says Mike McClure. “It’s about admitting the areas where work is needed and putting in the effort to do something about it.”
Long Mama – Poor Pretender
From Milwaukee, Wisconsin and fronted by singer and songwriter Kat Wodtke, Long Mama’s Poor Pretender is not one to be overlooked on this extremely bust release day. A journey through 10 story songs, the album pulls from country, folk, and even punk influences as it weaves a unique and engaging listening experience.
“A ‘Long Mama’ is a small, spiny cactus,” Kat Wodtke explains. “It can survive cold and prefers shade to sun. It’s also fragile. If cared for properly, it can yield bright yellow flowers. The human mind is just as tough and delicate. So many people find themselves on a ledge between breaking or enduring. How will we emerge from hard times?”
Comanche Moon – Last Golden Rays
The vastness and history of West Texas have inspired many songs and artists over the years no different than gazes skyward at the celestial heavens. That’s why the region has consistently churned out some of the best songwriters and performers from the Lone Star State and beyond.
Chandler Sidwell and Mark Erickson make up the principals of Comanche Moon, and both come from multi-generation Panhandle rancher stock, underpinning their music with rugged country roots, and genuine stories of agrarian struggles. It’s their interest in classic rock that makes this a more unique project. Instead of spending time soliloquizing how the beer and babes are always better in the Lone Star State, Comanche Moon is more preoccupied with composing meaningful songs and stringing them together in a more deliberate manner, both in story and sound.
Luke LeBlanc – Fugue State
Joseph Shipp – Free, for a While
Trent Summar – I Might Get Used to California EP
Andy Leftwich – The American Fiddler
June Star – Arrival EP
Angela Easterling – Witness
Native Harrow – Old Kind of Magic
Tommy Alexander – Feelings
The Matchsellers – The Wishful Thinker’s Hall of Fame
Dustbowl Revival – Set Me Free EP
Honey Harper – Honey Harper and the Infinite Sky
Mike Ryan – Longcut