It’s been a good year for country music so far. We’ve gotten solid releases from old favorites like Vince Gill, Loretta Lynn and Randy Rogers Band, as well as promising debuts from newcomers like Margo Price and Brothers Osborne.
Sturgill Simpson delivered on his first record since worldwide acclaim and Granger Smith broke into the mainstream, while Jennifer Nettles just released what should end up one of the best albums of the year. And we’re just getting started!
Here are 10 new country albums we’re excited for this summer.
Dierks Bentley — Black (May 23)
We’re intrigued by country concept albums, and Dierks Bentley has repeatedly said Black will be his most interesting and challenging work. Bentley has a fantastic knack for satisfying the radio masses while still sticking true to his rootsy sound in well-rounded albums. This one should be no exception.
Maren Morris — Hero (June 3)
Expect good things from this Texan, who isn’t afraid to explore her many influences on her debut record Hero. She skyrocketed with “My Church,” but don’t plan on hearing that same song over and over on this record. Her powerful vocals punch through on every track, whether they lean country, gospel, pop or rock.
Craig Morgan — A Whole Lot More To Me (June 3)
Craig Morgan has always felt like an artist we can all get on board with. His sound is modern enough for the kids but classic and country enough that the genre’s vets can get on board too. He lives and breathes his sound and always has a sincerity in his voice, which helps too. On his seventh album, he promises there’s a whole lot more to his career.
Brandy Clark — Big Day In A Small Town (June 10)
Ever since he Grammy-nominated debut 12 Stories we’ve been anxious to hear more from Brandy Clark. Thanks to her prolific writing, we often get it from other artists. But with Big Day In A Small Town we finally get to hear more of Clark’s beautiful voice.
Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin — Colvin & Earle (June 10)
Now this is a cool collaboration: Steve Earle, one of country’s true badasses, is teaming up with Grammy-winning folk star Shawn Colvin. This album promises to be dark, clever, brooding and insightful all at once. Get excited by checking out their smoky vocal blend on their first single, the fantastic “You’re Right (I’m Wrong).”
Kris Kristofferson — Cedar Creek Sessions (June 17)
Kris Kristofferson is celebrating his 80th birthday by releasing a double album of 25 songs recorded over three days in Austin in 2014. The album will feature new, stripped-down versions of some of his biggest hits as well as collaborations with Sheryl Crow.
Jack Ingram — Midnight Motel (June 24)
Jack Ingram quietly announced his new record deal and first new album in seven years a few months ago. Midnight Motel is a culmination of years of songwriting, with songs inspired by personal stories and events over the past seven years. He’s also got some great co-writers on the record and has been playing a few of them live for years. Now we finally get to hear the finished product.
Kenny Chesney — Some Town Somewhere (July 8)
With Kenny Chesney’s pedigree, any time he releases a new country album fans usually pay attention. The first taste from the record, “Noise,” tackles a familiar issue for most people and stays true to Chesney’s gift for delivering relatable tunes. Hopefully Chesney will stick to his greatest gifts and avoid chasing trends on the record.
Cody Johnson — Gotta Be Me (Summer)
We don’t have a release date for Cody Johnson’s new album just yet, but we know it’ll come out this June and we expect big things. Johnson has really proven himself in the Texas country world with a string of steady hits and well-rounded records. With any luck, his star will keep rising with his new record and he’ll get to take it well beyond Texas.
Eric Paslay — Dressed In Black (Summer)
Another phenomenal Texan making waves in Nashville, Eric Paslay hasn’t shared the date of his new record Dressed In Black just yet, but from what he’s been saying about it, it shouldn’t disappoint. The “She Don’t Love You” singer has more than earned his keep as one of the best songwriters in country, and his sophomore effort will hopefully establish him as a consistently quality artist as well.