Release Radar, & Most Anticipated Country & Roots Albums for 2021

2020 is in the books and it’s time to look forward to the bright promise of 2021, and specifically the album releases in the country and roots world we have to be excited about. Unfortunately, for whatever reason (likely tied to the pandemic in some capacity), there has never been such a thin prospectus on the album releases coming up for the upcoming year like this since Saving Country Music started the exercise.

No offense whatsoever to the album releases that have been announced and are highly anticipated by fans. But when it comes to volume, or big-named artists you’re really frothing with excitement over, the pickin’s are pretty slim. Perhaps a combination of both artists pushing forward releases in 2020 to help put food on the table when they couldn’t tour, and the tough circumstances for recording new records, we have finally reached the COVID-19 shadow when it comes to releases.

Expect things to pick up as 2021 soldiers on. But for the moment, Q1 of 2021 will be one of the lightest times for new album releases we’ve seen in years. Nonetheless, there are still some important titles, and they can be found below, along with the always-fun “Rumor Mill” where you can catch up with the latest release gossip.

 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.

Steve Earle  – J.T. (Justin Townes Earle tribute) – January 4th

Steve Earle’s tribute album to his late son Justin Townes Earle called J.T. will be released on what would have been Justin’s 39th birthday. CD and vinyl copies to be made available on March 19th via New West Records. The album will include 10 songs originally written by Justin Townes Earle, along with a new song from Steve to conclude the album. 100% of artist proceeds and royalties from the album will be donated to a trust of Etta St. James Earle, the three-year-old daughter of Justin and Jenn Earle.

“The record is called J.T. because Justin was never called anything else until he was nearly grown. Well, when he was little, I called him Cowboy,” says Steve Earle. “For better or worse, right or wrong, I loved Justin Townes Earle more than anything else on this earth. That being said, I made this record, like every other record I’ve ever made… for me. It was the only way I knew to say goodbye.” (read more)

Aaron Watson – American Soul – January 8th

If Aaron Watson is nothing else, he’s prolific, and perseveres. He started recording American Soul in Nashville around the time the devastating tornado hit the eastern part of the city. Then shortly after, the pandemic hit, stalling the recording process again. But not wanting to give up, Watson recorded the rest of the project at his home, in his wife’s walk-in closet as a de facto studio. He’s already released five songs ahead of the record.

“Completing this album in the year 2020 took a little bit of perseverance, but I’m thankful to say that we got it done,” Watson says. “I’m proud of each and every one of us who have shown the perseverance to get through the hardships of this year.”

The Divorcees – Drop of Blood – January 8th

The Divorcees from New Brunswick have been Canada’s best contingent for Outlaw country for now going on 15 years. Featured previously on Saving Country Music surrounding their 2016 album From Labour to Refreshment, lineup changes and the requirements of real life have mostly relegated The Divorcees to their environs in eastern Canada in recent years, but that’s never put a dent in their passion for country music.

Their new album Drop of Blood will also feature the return of founding member/lead singer Jason Haywood after a 12 year absence from the band. Blue-collar Canadian country at its best.

Barry Gibb – Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook, Vol. 1 – January 8th

Produced by Dave Cobb, Greenfields will feature songs from the Barry Gibb catalog, performed with cohorts such as Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, the aforementioned Jason Isbell, Miranda Lambert, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and Brandi Carlile. And yes, there’s also a few less savory names, like Keith Urban.

As part of the three-headed hydra of The Bee Gees, Barry Gibb will always be a pariah to some. But the story of Barry Gibb and even The Bee Gees is much more expansive. Barry Gibb’s first ever solo record called The Kid’s No Good from 1970 has been described by many as a country record as much as anything. Then of course there was Barry Gibb’s collaboration with Kenny Rogers in the early 80’s. (read more)

MusicFest Tribute to Cody Canada & the Music of Cross Canadian Ragweed – January 8th

A tribute record to the revolutionary Red Dirt rock country outfit Cross Canadian Ragweed and its frontman Cody Canada is on the way, and it includes a litany of cool artists from Texas and Red Dirt who all paid tribute to the band last winter at the long-running Music Fest in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

The 17-song album includes live recordings from the in-person tribute at the festival on January 7th and 8th, 2020. Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen, Jamie Lin Wilson, William Clark Green, Reckless Kelly, Courtney Patton, Doug Moreland, Reckless Kelly, and Bri Bagwell are just some of the names that appear on the compilation. (read more)

Pony Bradshaw – Calico Jim – January 29th

If you’re looking for earnest songwriting entwined with a rootsy sound, North Georgia-based songwriter Pony Bradshaw will be releasing the followup to his 2019 album on Rounder Records with Calico Jim on January 29th.

“‘Calico Jim’ is about place, time, and a society of lives,” says Pony Bradshaw. “It’s about the relationship between man and nature. It’s about a region connecting with its history and past. I tried to think small about big things, to reach out into a world directly adjacent to my own and draw something of worth from these hills and valleys, these mountains, rivers, and folks of North Georgia.”

Lucero – Where You Found Me – January 29th

Wildly-influential alt-rock band Lucero will be releasing their 10th album through their own label Liberty and Lament, distributed by Thirty Tigers. You’ll be hard pressed to find a songwriter in alt-country and Americana who doesn’t say Lucero and frontman Ben Nichols is not a significant influence on them. Where You Found Me finds Ben Nichols continuing to mature in his perspective after the birth of his daughter Izzy (now 4-years-old), and also dabbling a little bit with old-school synthesizers in parts.

“I wanted a very classic rock sound for this album,” says Ben Nichols. “I wanted it to sound like stuff I heard on the radio growing up.” It was recorded  over two weeks in July of 2020 at Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis. (read more)

Willie Nelson – That’s Life (Frank Sinatra Tribute) – February 26th

Willie Nelson is paying tribute to close friend and musical colleague Frank Sinatra with his 71st studio album and 15th album for Sony’s Legacy imprint. It’s not the first time Willie will tribute Ol’ Blue Eyes. His 2018 album My Way did similar, and ended up earning Willie Nelson a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Solo Album.

To capture the essence of Sinatra, Nelson recorded the new album at Capitol Studios in Hollywood where many of Sinatra’s most memorable recordings were captured, with additional work done at Willie’s Pedernales Studios in Austin, Texas. Producing the album will once again be Buddy Cannon along with Matt Rollings, who worked on the last Sinatra tribute as well. Along with reprising 11 songs from the Great American Songbook made famous by Frank, the record will also include lush string and horn arrangements. (read more)

Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno – Self-Titled – March 12th

Individually, Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno are already two of the most exciting, promising, and talented up-and-comers in most all of roots music, fluidly moving through old time, bluegrass, and classic country modes with an ease of execution, and displaying a passion for the enterprise of reviving old music that is infectious with the audience. Put them together, and they’re even greater than the sum of their parts, intertwining disciplines and influences seamlessly until it comprises a roots music symphony of two.

This conjoined magic has already been on display in a number of projects, including the old time band The Onlies, who just released a new self-titled album in 2019, and on Vivian Leva’s solo debut Time Is Everything from 2018 which Riley also had a heavy hand in. But the two will be putting their duo magic on full display when they release a self-titled album through Free Dirt Records. (read more)

Travis Tritt – Set In Stone – May 7th

A new original studio album is on the way from Travis Tritt, finally. His first original album in over 13 years, the 90’s country legend who’s sold more than 30 million records worldwide signed with the Los Angeles-based record label Big Noise earlier this year, and will be releasing a Dave Cobb-produced record sometime in 2021. The album was originally promised in 2020, and Tritt released the first single “Ghost Town Nation” on September 25th. But no solid release date for the album has been set.

“I’m very excited about recording the new album with Dave Cobb,” Travis Tritt says. “I’m also glad to be partnering with the Big Noise team and I’m looking forward to promoting this album with them in my corner.”



Dan Whitaker – Moving On With You (re-release) – January 8th

Silas J. Dirge – The Poor Devil – January 8th

Scott MacKay – Stupid Cupid – January 8th

Kerri Watt – Neptune’s Daughter – January 15th

Misty River – Promises – January 22nd

Justin Moses – Fall Like Rain – January 22nd

Lee Rocker – Gather Round – January 22nd

Anna Elizabeth Laube – Annamania (retrospective) – January 22nd

Jamie Richards – The Real Deal – January 22nd

Langhorne Slim – Strawberry Mansion – January 29th

David Miner – Silver Valley – January 29th

Drayton Farley – A Hard Up Life – January 29th

Lilly Winwood – Time Well Spent – January 29th

Alabama Slim – The Parlor – January 29th

Jenna Torres – All Heart – January 29th

Jeremy Studdard – On My Own – January 29th

Three Pairs of Boots – Long Rider – January 29th

Todd Sterling – Dark Horses: The Acoustic Sessions – February 1st

Rod Abernathy – Normal Isn’t Normal – February 5th

Aaron Lee Tasjan – Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! – February 5th

Uncle Walt’s Band – Live At Waterloo Ice House (Reissue) – February 5th

Grant Nesmith – Dream Of The Coast – February 5th

Shovels & Rope – Busted Jukebox Vol. 3 – February 5th

The Carloways – Resuscitator – February 5th

Andrew Marlin (Mandolin Orange) – Witching Hour – February 5th

Aaron Vance – Cabin Fever – February 5th

Danny Kroha – Detroit Blues – February 5th

Beth Lee – Waiting On You Tonight – February 12th

Kip Moore – Wild World (Deluxe Edition) – February 12th

Mac Leaphart – Music City Joke – February 12th

Will Overman – The Winemaker’s Daughter – February 12th

Jordan Robert Kirk – Western Holler – February 12th

Johnny Lee – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright – February 12th

The Barlow – Horseshoe Lounge – February 12th

Lily B. Moonflower – Moonflower – February 12th

Austin Meade – Black Sheep – February 19th

Spencer Burton – Coyote – February 19th

Andrew Marlin (Mandolin Orange) – Fable & Fire – February 19th

Tami Neilson – Chickaboom! Deluxe Edition – February 19th

Jason Charles Miller – From The Wreckage, Part 1 – February 19th

Davie Furey – Haunted Streets – February 19th

Innocent Eve – Viking – February 19th

April N. Smith – Enough – February 19th

Katy Kirby – Cool Dry Place – February 26th

Carly Pearce – 29 – February 19th

Bones Owens – Self-Titled – February 26th

Sara Petite – Rare Bird – February 26th

David Huckfelt – Room Enough, Time Enough – February 26th

Rodger Wilhoit – The “Social World” Of Rodger Wilhoit (Reissue) – February 26th

Olivia Ellen Lloyd – Loose Cannon – February 26th

Ross Cooper – Chasing Old Highs – February 26th

Barry Abernathy – Barry Abernathy & Friends – February 26th

Clint Roberts – Rose Songs – February 26th

Lydia Luce – Dark River – February 26th

Chris Roberts – Feather EP – February 26th

Mando Saenz – All My Shame – February 26th

Simon Flory – Haul These Blues Away – February 26th

Nate Fredrick – Different Shade of Blue – February 26th

Hailey Whitters – Living The Dream (Deluxe Edition) – February 26th

Sid Grimes – House of Cards – March 1st

Ottoman Turks – Turks II – March 5th

Jesse Brewster – The Lonely Pines – March 5th

Kristian Montgomery – Prince of Poverty – March 5th

Jimbo Mathus and Andrew Bird – These 13 – March 5th

Charles Ellsworth – Honeysuckle Summer – March 5th

An American Forrest – Gleaner’s Joy – March 5th

Max Flinn – Meant To Be EP – March 5th

Garrison Starr – Girl I Used To Be – March 5th

Johnny Ironsightes – Murder Mountain – March 5th

Jason Ringenberg Rhinestoned – March 5th

Tommy Goodroad – Swimming in the Clay – March 5th

Ottoman Turks – Ottoman Turks II – March 5th

Leon III – Antlers in Velvet – March 5th

Israel Nash – Topaz – March 12th

Matt and Madeline Shugert – The Aim Was Song – March 12th

Daniel Young – The World Ain’t Gonna Wait – March 12th

Valerie June – The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers – March 12th

Rylan Brooks – If Wishes Were Horses – March 12th

Brent Funkhouser – The Next Karaoke Star – March 12th

White Rose Motor Oil – Country Pop – March 12th

Lake Street Dive – Obviously – March 12th

Melody Duncan – Wolf Song – March 12th

Ledfoot – Black Valley – March 12th

Them Dirty Dimes – In Gold We Trust – March 12th

VOLK – Cashville – March 13th

Hank & Ella with the Fine Country Band – Good At Being Lonely – March 15th

Green Line Travelers – Baker’s Bog Blowout – March 18th

Wild & Blue – Restless – March 19th

Melissa Carper – Daddy’s Country Gold – March 19th

Rob Leines – Blood Sweat and Beers – March 19th

Morgan Wade – Reckless – March 19th

Janet Simpson – Safe Distance – March 19th

Mike Barnett – +1 – March 19th

The Golden Roses – Devils in the Details – March 19th

Corb Lund – Agricultural Tragic (Deluxe Edition) – March 19th

Matt Masters – Everybody Loves a Winner – March 23rd

Green Line Travelers – Baker’s Bog Blowout – March 25th

Fretland – Could Have Loved You – March 26th

Sweetlove – Goodnight Lover EP -March 26th

The Allman Bros. – Down In Texas ’71 (Live) – March 26th

Chevel ShepherdEverybody’s Got a Story – March 26th

Emily Moment – The Party’s Over– March 26th

The Imaginaries – Revival – March 26th

Natalie D-Napoleon – You Wanted to be the Shore, But Instead You Were the Sea – March 26th

Sara Watkins – Under the Pepper Tree (Kid’s Album) – March 26th

Esther Rose – How Many Times – March 26th

Sunny War – Simple Syrup – March 26th

The Armadillo Paradox – Out Of Gas in Oil Country – March 26th

David Olney and Anana Kaye – Whispers & Sighs – March 26th

Jackson Scribner – Self-Titled – March 26th

Ervin Stellar – Nothing to Prove EP – March 26th

John Smith – The Fray – March 26th

Dillon Warnick – Now That It’s All Over – March 26th

Miko Marks – Our Country – March 26th

Red Idle Rejects – Ink and Nicotine – March 27th

Cristina Vane – Nowhere Sounds Lovely – April 2nd

Hope Dunbar – Sweetheartland – April 2nd

John Schneider – Truck On – April 2nd

Reece Sullivan – Middle Sea – April 2nd

The Beat Farmers – Tales of the New West (Deluxe Reissue) – April 2nd

The Pink Stones – Introducing The Pink Stones – April 9th

Highway Natives – Self-Titled EP – April 9th

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Dance Songs for Hard Times – April 9th

Dallas Moore – The Rain – April 9th

Lone Hollow – Self-Titled EP – April 9th

Samantha Crain – I Guess We Live Here Now – April 9th

Rhiannon Giddens – They’re Calling Me Home – April 9th

Amigo The Devil – Born Against – April 16th

Miles Garrett – Meridian – April 16th

West Of Texas – Heartache, Hangovers & Honky Tonks – April 16th

Stephen Flatt – Cumberland Bones – April 16th

The Brother Brothers – Calla Lily – April 16th

Cole Quest and the City Pickers – Self-[En] titled – April 16th

April In Your Eyes (A Tribute to the Songs of John Lily) – April 16th

June Star – How We See It Now – April 16th

Annie Moses Band – Tales from my Grandpa’s Pulpit – April 16th

Cory Keefe – I’ll Keep It Country – April 16th

Zach Schmidt – Raise a Banner – April 16th

Andrew Beam – Selma by Sundown – April 16th

Nick Shoulders – Home on the Rage – April 20th

Andy Johnson – Help Yourself – April 22nd

Tracy Lawrence – Stairway to Heaven, Highway to Hell – April 23rd

Scott Sean White – Call It Even – April 23rd

Justin Moore – Straight Outta The Country – April 23rd

Jefferson Berry & the UAC – Soon! – April 23rd

Todd Snider – First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder – April 23rd

Josh Washam – Squash Blossom – April 23rd

Mary Karlzen – Shine – April 23rd

Emi Sunshine – Strong Armed Robbers – April 29th

Amy Speace – There Used to Be Horses Here – April 30th

Ashley Monroe – Rosegold – April 30th

Ronnie Milsap – A Better Word for Love – April 30th

The Shootouts – Bullseye – April 30th

John Salaway – Salvation – April 30th

Annie Oakley – Second Day of Spring – April 30th

Bob Bradshaw – The Ghost Light – April 30th

Evvan – Home – April 30th

Laino & Broken Seeds – Self-Titled – May 5th

Tejon Street Corner Thieves – Stolen Goods – May 7th

The Sweet Lillies – Common Ground – May 7th

Charlie Marie – Ramble On – May 7th

Graham Sharp – Truer Picture – May 7th

Ted Russell Kamp – Solitaire – May 7th

Sammy Sadler – 1989 – May 7th

Graham Sharp – Truer Picture – May 7th

Tony Joe White – Smoke From The Chimney – May 7th

Grace Pettis – Working Woman – May 7th

Blue Cactus – Strangers Again – May 7th

Leftover Salmon – Brand New Good Old Days – May 7th

Grace Pettis – Working Woman – May 7th

Christina Aldean & Alex Patterson – Hunter – May 7th

Sarah Jarosz – Blue Heron Suite – May 7th

Jesse Keith Whitley – Breakin’ Ground – May 9th

Soo Line Loons – Self-Titled – May 14th

The Deep Dark Woods – Changing Faces – May 14th

Steven Gellman – Cold Harbor – May 14th

Sam Williams – Finally Feeling Young – May 14th

Dillon Carmichael – Hot Beer EP – May 14th

The Steel Woods – All of Your Stones – May 14th

Jesse Terry – May We Wander – May 14th

Lucas Ebert – Nobody EP – May 14th

Riley Dowling – Start It Over– May 14th

Lindsey Ellyn – Queen of Nothing – May 14th

Shay Martin Lovette – Scatter & Gather – May 14th

Steve Goodman – It Sure Looked Good On Paper: The Steve Goodman Demos – May 14th

Full Cord – Hindsight – May 15th

Ashleigh Flynn & The Riveters – Live From The Blue Moon – May 18th

Desert Hollow – Thirsty – May 21st

Ida Red – Harmony Grits – May 21st

John Hiatt with The Jerry Douglas Band – Leftover Feelings – May 21st

Robert Finley – Sharecropper’s Son – May 21st

Paul Handyside – Loveless Town – May 21st

Trapper Schoepp – May Day – May 21st

Bill and the Belles – Happy Again – May 21st

Oliver Wood (Wood Brothers) – Always Smilin’ – May 21st

Graber Gryass – Spaceman’s Wonderbox – May 21st

Paula Cole – American Quilt – May 21st

Korby Lenker – Man in the Maroon – May 21st

David Allan Coe – Live from the Iron Horse (Reissue) – May 21st

Rod Picott with Slaid Cleaves – Wood, Steel, Dust & Dreams – May 21st

Henhouse Prowlers – Short Branch Saloon – May 21st

Shannon McNally – The Waylon Sessions – May 28th

Blackberry Smoke – You Hear Georgia – May 28th

Toler Gibson – The Days Before – May 28th

Ashley McBryde – Never Will: Live from a Distance – May 28th

Everett Parker – Outbound Travelin’ Crazies – May 28th

Rider & Rolling Thunder – On The Banks of the Tennessee – May 28th

Beth Whitney – Into the Ground – May 28th

Genesis Fermin – Self-Titled – May 28th

River Kittens – Soaking Wet – May 28

The Contraptionists – Working Man’s Dread – May 29th

Satsang – All. Right. Now. – June 4th

Chief Ghoul – These Lycanthropic Blues – June 4th

Roy Feek – Gentle Man – June 18th

Hiss Golden Messenger – Quietly Blowing It – June 25th

Grant Maloy Smith – Appalachia: American Stories – June 25th

Mary Gauthier – Saved By A Song (Book) – July 6th

Ida Mae – Click Click Domino – July 16th

Nobody’s Girl – Self-Titled – July 31st


Charles Wesley Godwin seemed to hint on social media that he finished recording a new album on October 8th, 2020. Stay tuned for more details.

Charlie Marie made a big splash with her 2019 debut EP, and there’s a lot of buzz that she’s got an excellent new record for 2021 on tap. Stay tuned.

New Triston Marez album in April.

Laur Joamets and Laura Reed have a new project called Lore, and have released a couple of new songs. Word is they have an album in the can, just waiting on a release date.

Willie Nelson has a new album on the way beyond his upcoming Frank Sinatra tribute. “We’re putting together a new album that we’ve been in [the studio] doing the last few months. It’s a family album with me and all the kids and everybody singing on it, and it’ll be coming out one of these days.”

Cody Jinks says he has an acoustic album, another live album beyond his recent Red Rocks live album, a Lefty Frizzell covers album, a rock EP, and other stuff on the way. (read more). He also said on 1/7/2021, “Demos are done on 20 new songs. Now we just need to schedule some studio time.”

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…” Perhaps drama at Bloodshot Records has slowed her release plans, but there may be some movement on it in 2021. Stay tuned.

Morgan Wade has been creating a lot of buzz from her OurVinyl videos and a couple of singles she’s released. Expect her Thirty Tigers debut in 2021.

Moot Davis, new album coming.

The Wreckers (Michelle Branch, Jessica Harp) have been hinting they have a new record on the way.

John Driskell Hopkins (Zac Brown Band) – Lonesome High – January

The Steel Woods on December 1st: “Laying it down in the studio this week. New record coming in 2021.”

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

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)

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)

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. He released a new Christmas album in 2020 will little fanfare.

Talk surrounding Eric Church is of a double album, or even a triple album. But so far he just keeps releasing new singles at a pace of about once a month.

Sunny Sweeney released a live studio album recently from The Machine Shop, and says she’s got a new original studio album coming in 2021 as well.

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.

Carrie Underwood will release a new Gospel album called My Savior after the major success of her recent Christmas album My Gift.

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

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