Time for another year of new music ahead! Last year I did a special post outlining some of the upcoming album releases in country and Americana and it was a very popular post that I knew I had to bring back again in 2016. There has already been a number of announced projects with release dates and a few that are certainly eye-catching when looking at the details of them. There are also a lot of projects that we can expect to see in 2016, but nothing is confirmed. And then of course there are a lot of rumors and stuff up in the air. This post covers it all. Will this cover everything? Probably not. So don’t go into the comments and immediately point out what is missing. Instead add anything not in the post to help out us and your fellow readers. Complaining gets you nowhere except pissing me off. Most importantly have fun speculating and discussing all of the new music that lies ahead.
Officially Announced & Set for Release
Randy Rogers Band – Nothing Shines Like Neon
The Texas-based country band is set to release their first album of new music in three years and their first independently in 11 years. Randy Rogers Band had released their last four albums on major labels Mercury and MCA Nashville. But like many Texas country artist who try their hand on Music Row, they got tired of the bullshit and politics and being forced to make music that appeases record executives. They’re now going back to their roots. Rogers is coming off a fantastic year in which he and fellow Texas country artist Wade Bowen put out one of the best country records of the year, good enough to earn Country Perspective’s Song of the Year and Duo of the Year. This causes enough excitement on its own, but the guests set to join on this new record put up even higher. The guests are Alison Krauss, Jerry Jeff Walker and Jamey Johnson. Needless to say I can’t wait to hear this one. Well known country producer Buddy Cannon will be producing this new record.
Brothers Osborne – Pawn Shop
The debut album from Brothers Osborne was expected early last year and even made last year’s list, but it never came out and got pushed back to now. It’s looked like the best choice, as their current single “Stay A Little Longer” will at least be a top five hit and provide buzz for their long-awaited debut album. Their debut EP I reviewed back in 2014 was solid, but the newest song they just released off the album has me more excited. It’s called “Loving Me Back” and they’re joined on it by LeeAnn Womack. If this song is an indication of the whole album, I think this could be one of the better mainstream country albums we hear in 2016.
Hank Williams Jr. – It’s About Time
This will be Hank Jr.’s first album released under the NASH Icon label. The first single off it was a new recording of “Are You Ready For The Country” where Williams was joined by special guest Eric Church. Other guests on the album include Brantley Gilbert, Brad Paisley and Justin Moore.
The Cactus Blossoms – You’re Dreaming
Will be released via Red House Records and produced by JD McPherson.
Sierra Hull – Weighted Mind
Will be released via Rounder Records.
Aubrie Sellers – New City Blues
Many critics and music insiders are buzzing about this release. For those who aren’t familiar with Aubrie Sellers, she’s the daughter of LeeAnn Womack. I bet you’re interested now. Sellers is poised to be one of the early breakouts in country and Americana in 2016. The album will be released via Carnival Records and Thirty Tigers.
Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts of Highway 20
The Americana icon returns with her first new album in two years via Thirty Tigers.
Freakwater – Scheherazade – February 5
Will be released via Bloodshot Records.
Charles Kelley – The Driver – February 5
The frontman of Lady Antebellum has set out on his own solo career at the moment and his first single, the very name of his debut album, has been nominated for a Grammy. But with the single struggling at radio at the moment and Kelley being forced to cancel a lot of 2016 tour dates, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this release get pushed back. But when it does come out I’ll be interested in its sound.
Vince Gill – Down To My Last Bad Habit – February 12
You know how much of a sucker I am for Vince Gill. Being released via MCA Nashville, it’s the first album of new music from Gill in five years. It’s Vince freaking Gill and you will want to hear it.
Wynonna & The Big Noise – Self-Titled – February 12
Wynonna Judd will be releasing his first album under her and her band’s name via Curb Records. Jason Isbell will be making a guest appearance on it.
Lorrie Morgan – Letting Go…Slow – February 12
Her first new album in five years will be released via Shanachie Entertainment.
Lake Street Dive – Side Pony – February 19
Not a lot of details, other than Dave Cobb is producing it. That should be enough to warrant your attention.
Waco Brothers – Going Down in History – February 26
This will be the first new record from this group in over ten years. Will be released via Bloodshot Records.
Loretta Lynn – Full Circle – March 4
The country music legend will be covering old classics, collaborating with legends and releasing a few new tunes on this record.
Various Artists – Southern Family – March 18
There’s no other project in country and Americana circles right now that has people more excited than this album. Let’s run down the details:
- Dave Cobb is producing it and will be released via Cobb’s Elektra Records
- The inspiration for it comes from the classic White Mansions album that included Waylon Jennings and Eric Clapton
- The artists on this record are staggering and impressive. The list of artists on this record include: Chris & Morgane Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Holly Williams, Jamey Johnson, Shooter Jennings, Rich Robinson, Anderson East, Zac Brown, John Paul White, Jason Isbell, Brandy Clark and Brent Cobb.
I could very easily see this end up being one of the best records of the year in all of music. It could also end up being one of the most important albums of the year and maybe in country music history, as this album unites the brightest names of country and Americana. All of this talent working together under the guidance of Dave Cobb has me giddy in anticipation to hear it. It could be what unites mainstream country, independent country and Americana together. Can March 18 get here?
Margo Price – Midwest Farmer’s Daughter – March 26
Brandy Clark – Big Day In A Small Town – April 1
This will be the sophomore album from the accomplished singer-songwriter. I expect this to be even better than 12 Stories, which means I think this has the potential to be an album of the year candidate.
Hayes Carll – (Yet To Be Named) – April 8
Will be released via Thirty Tigers.
Expected in 2016, But No Official Release Date
Keith Urban – Ripchord
We know the name, but no release date.
The Band Perry – Heart + Beat
There were rumors of them collaborating on a song with Nicki Minaj, which supposedly forced the release date back. But really it was because “Live Forever” bombed at radio and commercially. They would be better off just scrapping this album.
Karen Jonas – Country Songs (?)
Back in November Jonas said on Twitter she was working on her record. We could be seeing it sometime as early as spring 2016. Whenever it comes out I’m anxious to hear it, as her 2014 debut album Oklahoma Lottery netted her our 2014 Female Artist of the Year award and was an album of the year finalist.
Would be the followup to Country Perspective 2014 Album of the Year finalist With Love From Brushy Mountain.
Working with Dave Cobb on a new record.
Jack Ingram – Midnight Motel (?)
Ingram supposedly has enough music recorded for several records.
Natalie Stovall & The Drive – Heartbreak
Rumors & Speculation
Sturgill Simpson’s Third Album
You have to think Simpson will be releasing his third album this year and his first under major label Atlantic Records. His first two albums were released less than a year apart. Last year Sturgill didn’t release any new music and didn’t need to as more people continued to buy Metamodern Sounds in Country Music and pack his concerts full. The little bit we know about this third album is that Dave Cobb is producing it again, it’s already been recorded last year and there’s plenty of material that could be considered for it based off a 2014 interview Dave Cobb had with Rolling Stone. Cobb also said in the same interview regarding Sturgill’s next record: “We’re already doing something totally different and it will probably make a lot of people mad.” So the intrigue for this album should be varied and high when it’s announced.
When he released his comeback album in 2014, he also said there would be another album to follow it. But nothing has been said and Garth has ceased releasing singles to radio. It’s hard to tell with Garth, but a new album from him could come in 2016.
Jamey Johnson did a lot of cool collaborations in 2015 (George Strait, Don Henley) and yet he didn’t release a new album. What gives Jamey? He promised at the beginning of last year we would see multiple releases from him throughout the year and he only released two singles. Last year I guaranteed we would see a new album from him. This year I’m just going to say we’ll see it eventually.
It wasn’t a good 2015 for Miranda Lambert, personally or professionally. She divorced fellow country music superstar Blake Shelton and was practically non-existent at country radio and awards shows. It was a down year in every way for Lambert. But 2016 could be a huge year for her, as it’s been two years since her last album, so she’s poised to released a new record. You have to think this past year will fuel many of the songs on the record and make for some interesting music.
They’re embarking on their first North American tour in several years. You have to think a new album may come out too. And if they release an album I’ll be highly intrigued to see the reception and reaction of the country music industry.
I haven’t seen any clue for a new album from this supergroup, but I have a hunch that it’s possible. What makes me think this is after the year women had in country music in 2015, Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley all want to make a statement. What better way than release another Pistol Annies album?
Florida Georgia Line
In an interview with Billboard, the duo said they will “probably” release a new album in spring 2016. With bro country dead, Florida Georgia Line will be forced to take a new direction. Their last big was the best song they’ve ever released, “Dirt.” It was also their most serious song. So maybe they might take a more serious approach. I could also easily see them donning three-piece suits and ripping off Bruno Mars. I think it’s best to keep expectations low with these two and then be pleasantly surprised later if they release something good.
Josh Turner & Gary Allan
I put both of these artists together because both are in the same exact situation. Both released singles in 2015 and neither lived up to their usual expectations. Turner released a solid love song in “Lay Low” and ended up peaking just inside the top 30, which was unfortunate. Allan catered to trends with “Hangover Tonight” and it bombed in every way. This caused both of their labels to put albums that were expected to come out in 2015 on an indefinite hiatus. It’s a shame because I think both will be good albums. I heard some of Allan’s new songs in-person and they were very good. Turner always delivers. Let’s hope we hear both albums in 2016.
Others Highly Likely/On Track To Release New Albums This Year:
- Brantley Gilbert
- Cole Swindell
- Granger Smith
- Jason Aldean
- First Aid Kit
- Shovels & Rope
- Old Crow Medicine Show
- Dierks Bentley
- Sunny Sweeney
- Wade Bowen
- Lee Ann Womack
- Blake Shelton
- Jon Pardi
- Mo Pitney
- Eric Paslay
- Brad Paisley
- Kenny Chesney
- Little Big Town
- Sam Hunt