Lists

Country and Americana Albums You Need to Hear This Fall

2018 has been one of the best years in new music in quite some time. It's seen country music heavy hitters like Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood and Kenny Chesney deliver their best albums in years. It's seen Americana outfits like American Aquarium, Sons of Bill and honky-tonkers Mike and The Moonpies release strong and impactful efforts while newcomers like Randall King, Ruston Kelly and Tenille Townes have all began carving out their place in the expansive music scene.

Still, the year isn't quite wrapped up just yet. Here we highlight some of the most promising albums to expect this Fall.

Desperate Man, Eric Church

Eric Church's Desperate Man has been one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2018. To say there's a buzz around Desperate Man's release would be an understatement. So far, Church has been playing his cards right with surefire singles and hints at what Desperate Man is made of. Lead single "Desperate Man," a tune he co-wrote with Texas legend Ray Wylie Hubbard, is charged with grand pop sensibilities and a toe-tapping mantra that highlights producer Jay Joyce's best attributes. The slow-burning "Heart Like A Wheel" feels like a natural follow-up to "Like A Wrecking Ball" while "Monsters" finds the country superstar delivering intimate vulnerability in resonating fashion. In all, all signs point to Church's Desperate Man being the blockbuster it's billed up to be.

Release Date: Oct. 5

My American Dream, Will Hoge

It'd be easy to generalize and call Will Hoge's upcoming album, My American Dream, a collection of protest songs. While they are certainly shaped by the current political climate, they aren't necessarily protesting in the traditional sense--like Hoge's 2012 EP Modern American Protest Music. Rather, songs like "Gilded Walls" and "Thoughts & Prayers" are critical of U.S. policies and the lack of empathy found in the world. Throughout, Hoge highlights the resilience of everyday Americans -- like those still be affected by lead pipes in Flint, Mich. or gun violence. He revisits the anthemic "Still a Southern Man" of a few years back and takes a punk edge on the driving "Stupid Kids."

Release Date: Oct. 5

Borrowed Heart, Heather Morgan

With cuts by Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley and Maren Morris under her belt, Heather Morgan has been quite successful as a songwriter during her time in Nashville. Now, the Texas native is releasing Borrowed Heart, her debut full-length album. Here, she shows she's not just a heartwrenching storyteller but has the piercing vocals to match as well. Songs like lead single "Your Hurricane" glow with resilience and a pristine warmth. Throughout, Morgan draws from vulnerable moments often found in the waning period of a relationship on the rocks. It's in songs like the Lori McKenna co-write "Arms of a Lion" and late-night haunter "A Hundred Miles."

Release Date: Oct. 5

Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing, JP Harris

Honky-tonker JP Harris is an earnest storyteller. On Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing, Harris' third full-length album, he continues unpacking his adventures on songs like the hard-rolling "JP's Florida Blues #1." He packs in the authentic detail of a hard-living rambler out on a late-night bender on the pedal-to-the-metal scorcher. Though he's rugged and ragged throughout, Harris isn't afraid to smooth out the edges for moments of reflective thought. The introspective "When I Keep Drinking" is a hard look in the mirror that echoes out like a classic country jukebox favorite.

Release Date: Oct. 5

Songs of the Plains, Colter Wall

Canadian songwriter Colter Wall has taken very little time to follow up last year's breakout debut, the stellar Colter Wall. On Songs of the Plains, Wall follows old and familiar paths to get back home to his rural Saskatchewan. With nods to the likes of Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Marty Robbins, Tex Ritter and the like, Songs of the Plains is as western as they come. Wall's booming delivery echo out on sparse, yet fulfilling arrangements throughout. Studio veterans like Mickey Raphael and Lloyd Green add lovely harmonica and pedal steel accents. His storytelling continues to evolve and grow on frontier odes like "Saskatchewan in 1881" and "The Trains are Gone" while "Thinkin' on a Woman" and "Plains to See Plainsman" are hearty love ballads--though, with two very different muses in mind.

Release Date: Oct. 12

Somewhere In Between, Adam Hood

Adam Hood recorded the bulk of his new album, Somewhere In Between, in two days with producer Oran Thornton at Nashville's Sound Emporium Studios. Though you'd think that'd mean Hood and company would sound rushed, it's quite the opposite. Rather, there's a breathing rawness that captures the roadhouse country blues and the sway of lonesome ballads. He gets a helping hand from Brent Cobb on the infectious groover "She Don't Love Me." Other songs like the slow-burning "Downturn" are intimate snapshots of the inner workings of a relationship. Throughout, he delivers rich detail on everyday life and the things we often take for granted.

Release Date: Oct. 12

Live from the Ryman, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

We often crown Jason Isbell as the best songwriter currently going. It's for good reason. Songs like "Cover Me Up," "Elephant" and "If We were Vampires" cut to the core of the human condition. He tackles tough subjects head-on with "Hope the High Road" and "White Man's World." His attention to detail and vivid storytelling are as thought out and even as they come. Still, one of Isbell's best attributes is surrounding himself with sharp and talented musicians who share his intent and ambitions. On Live from the Ryman, Isbell's second live album, Isbell and the 400 Unit prove they're one of the best tickets in the country.

Release Date: Oct. 19

Malice, Mercy, Grief, and Wrath, Belle Plaine

Malice, Mercy, Grief, and Wrath is the new full-length from Saskatchewan native Belle Plaine. On the forthcoming album, she blends classic country sensibilities with a lush and ethereal sonic palette that draws from rich spacey elements. Songs like the charming and lighthearted "Is It Cheating," where she gets an assist from fellow rural Canadian songwriter Colter Wall, and "Taxes and Death and You" have a keen sense of humor mixed within the heartbreak. Others like the warm "Golden Ring" show off Plaine's velvety vocals and sultry pedal steel.

Release Date: Oct. 19

Jumping Over Rocks, Jamie Lin Wilson

There isn't a better songwriter down in Texas at the moment than Jamie Lin Wilson. She follows up 2015's Holidays & Wedding Rings with another collection of finely written ballads and heartwrenching storytellers with the piercing Jumping Over Rocks. She captures flashes of life that are often intense, sometimes fragile and always significant. Songs like "Oklahoma Stars" and "If I Told You" find Wilson unpacking relationships dilemmas while the weighty "Death & Life" leaves you feeling a flood of mixed emotions as it flutters off into the ether. Wilson and Jack Ingram do Guy Clark's "Instant Coffee Blues" justice as they morph into the sobering characters of the morning after. Jumping Over Rocks is crisp, clean and refreshing with Wilson's delicate storytelling and earthy vocals doing most of the work.

Release Date: Oct. 26

Hard Times and White Lines, Whitey Morgan and the 78's

It's been three years since Whitey Morgan's last album, the rich and '70s country throwback Sonic Ranch, but he's now returned the Hard Times and White Lines. Much like any Morgan project, Hard Times and White Lines is soaked with gorgeous pedal steel, honky-tonk licks and Morgan's dark and dense baritone growl. On opener "Honky Tonk Hell," Morgan offers a grim glimpse that wails as much as it kicks. It's void of light and sees Morgan throwing brimstone onto the fire. "What Am I Supposed to Do" finds Morgan delivering a sad and bleak lament filled with a number of punches to the gut. It leans heavy on blue-collar details and a sobering uneasiness in Morgan's powerful vocals.

Release Date: Oct. 26

Hell On An Angel, Dillon Carmichael

Kentucky's Dillon Carmichael is poised to become country music's next favorite crooner. Much like Jamey Johnson, Chris Stapleton, and White Morgan before him, Carmichael's brand of country pulls from deep traditional roots with a touch of southern rock style. He recorded Hell on an Angel with super-producer Dave Cobb this past year. As should be expected, Carmichael's full-length debut album pops and shines with sharp guitars and rich chorus lines. His whiskey-soaked baritone is as strong as ever on honky-tonkers like "Hard on a Hangover" and fiery on barn-burners like "Hell on an Angel."

Release Date: Oct. 26

Carousel, Carson McHone

Austin songwriter Carson McHone follows up her promising full-length debut Goodluck Man with the dark and rootsy Carousel. Though she quickly made a name for herself in Austin's spirited music scene as a country traditionalist with a honky-tonk edge, McHone expands her sonic palette on Carousel. Teaming up with veteran producer Mike McCarthy seems like a natural fit. It finds her digging deep on "Dram Shop Girl" and "Spider Song." The ever-charming "Maybe They're Just Really Good Friends" is an instant classic while lead single "Sad" is a sharp self-aware ache that warbles with pedal steel and McHone's soulful country vocals.

Release Date: Oct. 26

I Serve a Savior, Josh Turner

Last week, Josh Turner announced I Serve A Savior, the country crooner's seventh album of his career. Turner's never shied away from his faith. It's often been the source of inspiration with songs like the breakout hit "Long Black Train." Still, Turner has never done a full-on gospel album until now. In some sense, it's a return to Turner's roots and upbringing--growing up, Turner founded a gospel quartet called Thankful Hearts. On I Serve A Savior, Turner cuts timeless traditional hymns such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Amazing Grace" and Hank Williams' "I Saw the Light." In addition, he revisits "Long Black Train" and "Me and God" with new live versions.

Release Date: Oct. 26

Magnolia, Randy Houser

Mississippi songwriter Randy Houser announced Magnolia, his fifth studio album, about a month ago, but we heard the first offerings of the album back in early June with lead single "What Whiskey Does." Written by Houser, Keith Gattis (who produced the album) and Hillary Lindsey (who also provides harmony vocals), "What Whiskey Does" has the slow-moving sway of a classic drinking song with a shimmering guitar warble that feels progressive and new. Magnolia is sharp with hearty melodies and lively choruses with the best example being the anthemic traveling song "No Stone Unturned," which is perhaps the best Houser has ever sounded.

Release Date: Nov. 2

She Remembers Everything, Rosanne Cash

Last week, Rosanne Cash announced She Remembers Everything, the fifteen studio album of her storied career. It marks as her first since 2014's critically-acclaimed The River & the Thread. She continues diving further into her southern American roots for inspiration. With the newly shared songs "Everyone But Me" and "She Remembers Everything," Cash delivers two of the most intimate and vulnerable moments of the year. They're heartwrenching and as personal as anything we've heard from the legendary Cash. In addition, Sam Phillips, Kris Kristofferson and Elvis Costello all make appearances on She Remembers Everything.

Release Date: Nov. 2

Other Noteworthy Albums Coming This Fall

Oct. 5 - Michael Martin Murphey, Austinology: Alley's of Austin
Oct. 5 - Tanner Fenoglio, Lucky Man
Oct. 12 - The Watson Twins, Duo
Oct. 12 - The Bottle Rockets, Bit Logic
Oct. 12 - John Hiatt, The Eclipse Sessions
Oct. 12 - Jimmie Allen, Mercury Lane
Oct. 12 - Morgan Evans, Things That We Drink To
Oct. 12 - Tracy Lawrence, Frozen In Time
Oct. 12 - Lauren Morrow, Lauren Morrow EP
Oct. 19 - The Dirty River Boys, Mesa Starlight
Oct. 19 - Martina McBride, It's the Holiday Season
Oct. 26 - Town Mountain, New Freedom Blues
Oct. 26 - Carter Sampson, Lucky
Oct. 26 - Blackberry Smoke, Southern Ground Sessions EP
Nov. 2 - Meadow Mountain, Meadow Mountain
Nov. 2 - The Mavericks, Hey! Merry Christmas!
Nov. 2 - Rodney Crowell, Christmas Everywhere
Nov. 2 - Carter Winter, Temptation
Nov. 9 - Kane Brown, Experiment
Nov. 16 - Mumford & Sons, Delta
Nov. 30 - Wheeler Walker Jr., WWIII
Dec. 7 - Brett Young, Ticket to L.A.

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Country and Americana Albums You Need to Hear This Fall