If you’re wondering what to look forward to hearing in country and Americana music in early 2020, let this be your guide. Here’s all the information Saving Country Music has been able to compile on the most anticipated upcoming releases, along with a more extensive catalog of releases to have on your radar, and the always juicy “rumor mill” where uncorroborated information on new releases dwells.
Usually when we get around to rounding up the most anticipated upcoming releases for a given time period, it’s presented with all manner of boisterous hyperbole about what were about to enjoy in a busy release cycle. But if we’re being honest, the first portion of 2020 at the moment appears a little thin. This is the byproduct of Q3 and early Q4 of 2019 being so incredibly stacked full of releases, we’re still trying to unravel all the quality albums and listen to everything. Inevitably, that bumper crop of releases was going to result in a dearth at some point in the future, and that is what you can expect in the coming months.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some great releases and things to look forward to in the first part of 2020. On the contrary in fact. It’s just you can’t expect for there to be a dozen releases on a given Friday … well … aside from February 7th, which is setting up to be yet another one of those super release days where so many marquee album releases show up, that tend to shade each other out. Also expect a lot of big releases to be announced in the coming weeks, and for some bigger projects to be released this summer.
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).
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 in country music, please feel free to share the information below in the comments section for the benefit of everyone.
Marcus King – El Dorado – January 17th
A proprietor of southern R&B, country-soul, classic rock, and blues, Marcus King isn’t exactly country, but has been interfacing with the country realm for the last couple of years now, melting faces as a standout guitar player and singer, and opening for guys like Chris Stapleton. This new album comes in the aftermath of moving to Nashville, and was produced by Dan Auerbach. “Me and Dan are the same in that we like to get shit done,” says Marcus King. “If I’m passionate about something I can work for hours straight.”
Dan Auerbach says, “Marcus is known by so many as a phenom guitar player, and rightfully so. He’s regularly the best player in the room, hands down. I was equally blown away by the way he can sing -so effortless, so soulful, straight from the heart. He’s a naturally gifted writer too, which was clear right away. Everything for him is so innate –that’s why he can always go right to the heart of a song and connect in a deeper way. He’s really one of a kind and I’m proud I got to work alongside him on this record.”
Possessed by Paul James – As We Go Wandering – January 31st
It’s been a long, cold, barren winter of six years and counting since Possessed by Paul James graced us with new music. The one-man musical marvel and award-winning full-time public school special educator is considered in the highest amplitude by those who have witnessed what he’s capable of, equating his performances to more of a religious experience than a musical presentation. A singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist proficient at fiddle, banjo, and guitar, it’s only his adherence to the grassroots philosophies of music making and his refusal to give up his passion of helping children with special needs that has kept him out of the top echelons of popularity.
There’s plenty of good reasons for the musical drought the fandom of Possessed By Paul James has endured. But he’s back now, and readying the release of his latest album entitled As We Go Wandering on January 31st, 2020. The record finds Possessed by Paul James combining his passions of music and teaching like never before. (read more)
The SteelDrivers – Bad For You – February 7th
The SteelDrivers have about all you need from music: The drive and instrumentation of bluegrass, the grit of country, the energy of rock, the soul of the South, the songwriting of Americana, and four Grammy nominations and a win that prove they do it all better than most. will release their new album Bad For You via Rounder Records, featuring new lead vocalist Kelvin Damrell for the first time. Already playing shows with the five-piece bluegrass band for over a year, Damrell sounds more like Chris Stapleton than Chris Stapleton does, bringing that soulful element to what makes the SteelDrivers unique.
Along with songwriter and fiddler Tammy Rogers, banjo player Richard Bailey, Mike Fleming on bass, and mandolin player Brent Truitt, they will try to match or surpass the performance of their Grammy-winning last album The Muscle Shoals Recordings with this new project. (read more)
John Moreland – LP5 – February 7th
Produced by Matt Pence from Centro-Matic, and recorded in Denton, TX at The Echo Lab, it will be the first time Moreland is not the primary producer on one of his records. The new album also marks John Moreland’s return to Thirty Tigers after releasing his last record via 4AD. The album title “LP5” seems to be in reference to the fact that this is John Moreland’s fifth official solo release.
Centro-Matic and Monsters of Folk drummer Will Johnson also plays on the record, as does Bonnie Whitmore, and Moreland’s traveling sideman John Calvin Abney. “Very happy for everyone else to get a chance to hear it,” producer Matt Pence said on September 26th after finishing the record. “I am immensely proud. We did real good.” (read more)
James Steinle – What I Came Here For – February 7th
South Texas native and Austin resident James Steinle impressed with his debut record in 2018, and is back with this new 11-track effort produced by Bruce Robison in his analog studio. Growing up, Steinle spent time in Saudi Arabia, and later in Germany. Surrounded by foreign cultures for the majority of his life, country music was one of those pieces of home he could imbibe in as a tie to his roots. Being so far away from country music’s origination point didn’t render the music more faint, it enhanced its potency and grandeur. When he returned to Texas, country music became a passion for Steinle, and an occupational pursuit. Texas honky tonk music with strong songwriting is the best way to describe his sound.
“These songs are all about coping…with contemporary urban climates, and the homogenization of culture,” Steinle says. “This is a thread that runs all over the world and it weighs heavily on me. How we’re stripping places of what made them what they are in the first place.”
Hank Williams – Pictures From Life’s Other Side – UPDATED release date: February 22nd
The six-CD collection features 144 tracks representing the complete rundown of Hank’s performances from the existing Mother’s Best transcription discs. While previous compilations have presented either a selection of the Mother’s Best material or all of the recordings in the context of the individual radio show presentations (along with guest vocalists and instrumental numbers), this is the first collection to gather the entirety of Hank’s Mother’s Best performances and presents them outside the context of self-contained radio programs.
The recordings come with a 272-page book that chronicles Hank’s career in photographs. With the assistance of Grammy nominee Scott B. Bomar and Hank photo collector Ken Campanile, the hardbound volume was assembled by Hank Williams biographer Colin Escott. Hank’s daughter, Jett Williams, contributes a foreword that sets the tone for the collection of images. The images comes from Marty Stuart’s Congress of Country Music, the Grand Ole Opry Archives, the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the production company behind Ken Burns’ documentary, and various Hank fans and historians.
Tami Neilson – CHICKABOOM! – February 14th
Tami Neilson is one of the greatest singers on this entire planet, irrespective of genre or geographic region. Those who have never her seen her perform may fancy this notion as a serious infraction of embellishment. Those who have seen her perform will corroborate this and proceed to lump their own embellishments on top. Though country is her primary concern, her talent is so deep and vast, it can’t be held to just one discipline of roots music, and along with earnest sentiments of classic country that evoke memories of Patsy Cline, she can belt out old school soul and rockabilly like a mama this world hasn’t seen since Wanda Jackson in her heyday.
A native Canadian, Neilson now hails from New Zealand, making her the Queen of Country Music in the Southern Hemisphere. Her new album is appropriately due out on Valentine’s Day (read more).
The Secret Sisters – Saturn Return – February 28th
Via New West Record, Saturn Return was produced by Brandi Carlile and her twin bandmates Tim Hanseroth and Phil Hanseroth. Recorded at Carlile’s home studio in Washington state, the album features ten songs written by Laura and Lydia Rogers, and features them singing individually for the first time instead of relying solely on their trademark harmonies, something Brandi Carlile challenged them to do.
Named after the astrological occurrence that takes place about every 29 ½ years, the album heralds the arrival of a new era for the Rogers sisters, both of whom experienced change and transformation during the making of the record. Grappling with the grief of losing both grandmothers, while also both becoming first-time mothers, the sisters reflect on their world view, relationships and own mortality through the 10 songs.
Sam Doores – Self-Titled – March 13th
With the throwback New Orleans-based country/folk/roots outfits The Deslodes mothballed at the moment, principle member Sam Doores is preparing for the release of a 14-song solo album via New West Records. Recorded partially in Germany, and partly in Nashville, it features appearances by New Orleans players Tuba Skinny, Mat Davidson of Twain, as well as Doores’ former bandmate Alynda Lee Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff.
“Recording in a foreign environment like Berlin, I was inspired to experiment with more cinematic, psychedelic sounds,” says Doores, “but my love for old-school New Orleans R&B, Memphis Soul & Rock n’Roll, Detroit Motown & Gospel, Doo-Wop, Early Blues & Folk music will probably always bleed into whatever I do. Recording this album was an opportunity to explore the space between these worlds.”
Brandy Clark – Your Life Is A Record – UPDATED release date: March 6th
Though details on the new record are still light, Brandy previewed the new record during a promotional event December 4th at Nashville’s Station Inn. The title of the record comes from the opening track called “I’ll Be The Sad Song,” and she’s also been playing a new song live recently called “Who You Thought I Was.” Brandy says the new album will be much more personal than her previous two.
Produced by Jay Joyce who also worked on Brandy’s 2016 release Big Day in a Small Town, the album was recorded mostly acoustically, with electric instruments added later, and will feature the Memphis Strings and Horns section. Brandy says the album is country, but can also live in Americana. Some of Brandy’s co-writers on the record include Jessie-Jo Dillon, Shane McAnally, Chase McGill, Jesse Frasure, Clint Daniels, Jonathan Singleton, Barry Dean, and Adam Wright. (read more)
OTHER CONFIRMED RELEASES
Hawktail – Formations – January 10th
Carman A.D. – Wilderness – January 10th
Ronnie Dunn – Re-Dunn (Covers Album) – January 10th
Tenille Arts – Love, Heartbreak & Everything In Between – January 10th
Maria McKee – La Vita Nuova – January 13th
Left Arm Tan – Phoenix Rising – January 14th
Futurebirds – Teamwork – January 15th
Della Mae – Headlight – January 17th
Alan Barnosky – Lonesome Road EP – January 17th
Fruition – Broken at the Break of Day – January 17th
Eleven Hundred Springs – Here Tis’ – January 17th
Vance Gilbert – Good Good Man – January 22nd
The Lil’ Smokies – Tornillo – January 24th
Gill Landry – Skeleton At The Banquet – January 24th
Kailey Nicole – Self-Titled EP – January 24th
Bonnie Light Horseman – Self-Titled – January 24th
The Reeves Brothers – The Last Honky-Tonk – January 24th
The Wood Brothers – Kingdom in My Mind – January 24th
Netflix Series The Ranch Soundtrack – January 24th (read more)
Ray Remington – Texas Rose EP – January 24th
Terry Allen – Just Like Moby Dick – January 24th
Wood Belly – Man On The Radio – January 31st
Dustbowl Revival – Is It You, Is It Me – January 31st
John Dennis – Mortal Flames – January 31st
Eric Brace – Daytime Highs and Overnight Lows – January 31st
Eliza Mayer – Hello Stranger – January 31st
Drive-By Truckers – The Unraveling – January 31st
John Bora – Blue Wine – January 31st
Brian Johannesen – Holster Your Silver – January 31st
Trout Steak Revival – The Light We Bring – January 31st
Whiskey Foxtrot – Hard Lines & Headlights – February 1st
William Prince – Reliever – February 7th
Chicago Farmer – Flyover Country – February 7th
The Flyin’ A’s – No Holds Barred – February 7th
Frank Maroney – Scarecrow – February 7th
The Lone Bellow – Half Moon Light – February 7th
Jen Starsinic – Bad Actor EP – February 7th
Darling West – We’ll Never Know Unless We Try – February 7th
David Allen Holweger – Regrets and Retribution – February 7th
The Cadillac Three – Country Fuzz – February 7th
Aubrie Sellers – Far From Home – February 7th
Miss Tess – The Moon Is An Ashtray – February 7th
Dom Flemons – Prospect Hill – February 7th
Lynne Hanson – Just Words – February 7th
Michael Doucet – Lacher Prise – February 14th
Robert Vincent – In This Town You’re Owned – February 14th
Erica Sunshine Lee – Bulletproof – February 14th
Phil Madeira – Open Heart – February 14th
Elf and His Dream Rovers – From Tehran to Tennessee – February 14th
Carly Pearce – Self-Titled – February 14th
Letitia VanSant – Circadian – February 21st
Sarah Morris – All Mine – February 21st
The Singing Butcher – Top 40 – February 21st
Hailey Whitters – The Dream – February 28th
James Robert Webb – Self-Titled – February 28th
Sierra Hull – 25 Trips – February 28th
The Mastersons – No Time For Love Songs – March 6th
Will Sexton – Don’t Walk The Darkness – March 6th
Sadler Vaden – Anybody Out There? – March 6th
Caroline Rose – Superstar – March 6th
Ron Pope – Bone Structure – March 6th
Mary Bragg – Think About It EP – March 6th
My Sister, My Brother – Self-Titled – March 6th
Jim Lauderdale – When Carolina Comes Home Again – March 6th
Swamp Dogg – Sorry You Couldn’t Make It (Country album) – March 6th
Jonathan Wilson – Dixie Blur – March 6th
Caitlyn Smith – Supernova – March 13th
Gabe Lee – Honky Tonk Hell – March 13th
Dave Simonett (Trampled by Turtles) – Red Tail – March 13th
Green Leaf Rustlers – From Within Marin – March 14th
Sarah Jane Nelson – I’m Not Broken – March 20th
JJ Voss – Come Along With Me – March 20th
Delta Rae – The Light – March 20th
Brian Fallon – Local Honey – March 27th
Jessi Alexander – Decatur County Red – March 27th
Lilly Hiatt – Walking Proof – March 27th
Sarah Peacock – Burn The Witch – March 27th
The Brother Band – Vol. 1 – March 27th
Leah Grams Johnson – Jaroso – April 2nd
Ashley McBryde – Never Will – April 3rd
Kree Harrison – Chosen Family Tree – April 5th
John Anderson – Years – April 10th
Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers – Neither Of Us Is Wrong – April 10th
Whitacre – Seasons – April 17th
THE RUMOR MILL
The Dixie Chicks are preparing a new album called Gaslighter produced by Jack Antonoff. No details on a release or any more info at the moment. (read more)
Asleep At The Wheel – Still Comin’ Right At Ya – date TDA
Reckless Kelly is promising two new albums and twenty new songs in May of 2020.
Kyle Nix of the Turnpike Troubadours says he’s working on a solo album called Manifesto #1. Fiddle legend Byron Berline plays on it. No further details at the moment.
Mo Pitney says he finally has new music coming.
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)
Viral songwriter Zach Bryan is working with producer Dave Cobb. (read more)
Jason Isbell has finished recording his latest album with Dave Cobb in Studio ‘A’ in Nashville. David Crosby will guest on a track. Expect a title and release date in the coming weeks.
After a drought of writing new material, Chris Stapleton has been featuring some new songs in concert in 2019. Don’t be surprised if we hear a new single, and details of a new album in 2020. (read more)
Jessi Colter has a new album on the way produced by Margo Price. They were in the studio together in May 2019.
Pam Tillis has signed with ONErpm, and is planning the release of her first solo record in 12 years. No title yet, but some reports have a release date of February 28th. (read more)
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)
The Panhandlers supergroup consisting of William Clark Green, Cleto Cordero, Josh Abbott, and John Baumann have formed, and don’t be surprised if we hear details about a new record released by Bruce Robison’s The Next Waltz project very soon. (read more)
American Aquarium will have a new album called Lamentations co-produced by Shooter Jennings.
Railroad Earth – All for the Song. No release date yet.
New Ray Wylie Hubbard album, April or May-ish.
Jaime Wyatt has a new album on the way produced by Shooter Jennings.
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…”
Uncorroborated reports had Margo Price in the studio in 2019, possibly with a big time producer. Stay tuned.
Ben Haggard‘s long-awaited debut album could be on the way very soon. Don’t be surprised if a famous name is tied to the release from Merle’s son.
Ward Davis is prepping a full LP to be released via Thirty Tigers.
John Baumann has been recording in Nashville with producer Eddie Spear.
Elizabeth Cook says that she has finished writing her next album.
Parker McCollum has signed with Universal Music Nashville, and released a new single ahead of an upcoming album.
Corb Lund released a covers EP in 2019, and says he has a new studio LP coming soon.
Dwight Yoakam dropped two new songs in May of 2018, but no word if a new album to accompany them will be forthcoming.
Garth Brooks has a new album coming called Fun and has released a couple of songs from it, but no release date as of yet.
New Pat Reedy album called Make It Back Home coming. No release date yet.
Rachel Brooke has a new album finished. Stand by for more info.
James McMurtry has signed to New West Records. New record coming.
Both Jesse Daniel and Zephaniah OHora launched successful crowdfunding campaigns, with Zeph’s project completed. Expect to hear more news soon.
Cam is promising new music in 2020.
Bob Wayne has a new album on the way called Rogue. A new single called “Promised Land” was supposed to show up December 16th, but we’re still waiting. He’s also going on a world tour to try to break the world record for most shows played on a tour.