With autumn comes an unprecedented wave of new country music album releases from some the genre’s legendary names, today’s top stars and a host of rising newcomers.
Typically, the months leading into the holiday season are popular for new albums, but that has rarely never been more true than this year. Between now and December, close to 30 country albums have release dates on the books — and even more are in the works.
Here’s what to expect:
Thomas Rhett:”Life Changes”
Easily one of the most anticipated country albums of the year, “Life Changes” is the follow-up to Rhett’s platinum-selling “Tangled Up.”
Dustin Lynch: “Current Mood”
Lynch’s third album is deeply infused with R&B, pop and rock. The albumincludes Lynch’s hit songs “Seein’ Red,” “Small Town Boy” and the soulful duet with Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild , “Love Me or Leave Me Alone.”
Kip Moore: “Slowheart”
Moore blends the passion and connection for which he’s known with a new self-awareness that will speak to both commercial and underground audiences.
Home to “Fix a Drink,” the fastest rising song of Janson’s career, this is the follow-up album to the singer’s breakthrough hit “Buy Me a Boat.”
Midland: “On the Rocks”
Country music fans met the modern retro-country rule breakers when the trio broke into the genre this year with “Drinkin’ Problem.”
Home Free: “Timeless”
The vocals-only country group won season four of NBC’s a cappella singing competition “The Sing-Off.”
Dolly Parton: “I Believe In You”
The album is Parton’s first children’s album, and she wrote every song in the collection.
Shania Twain | “Now”
Twain’s first album in 15 years includes new singles“Life’s About To Get Good” and “Poor Me.”
Blake Shelton: “Cheers, It’s Christmas”
Shelton first released this album in 2012, but the reissue will contain three new songs.
Jerrod Niemann: “This Ride”
Niemann rose to popularity with songs including “Lover, Lover” and “Drink to That All Night.”
Kane Brown: “Kane Brown: Deluxe Edition”
The deluxe version will add four new songs to his self-titled debut, including a duet with Brown’s hero, Chris Young.
Russell Dickerson: “Yours”
Dickerson’s debut album is on new label Thirty Tigers and is home to his current single of the same name.
Carly Pearce: “Every Little Thing”
Carly Pearce is in the process of making a name for herself in country music with the title track, which is edging toward the Top 10 on Billboard’s country radio airplay chart.
Reba McEntire: “My Kind of Christmas”
The reissue will have three additional songs featuring Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Darius Rucker and Lauren Daigle.
Chris Young: “Losing Sleep”
This is the follow-up to Young’s ACM-nominated “I’m Comin’ Over.”
Tyminski: “Southern Gothic”
Southern Gothic is the work of Dan Tyminski, the Grammy-winning voice behind George Clooney on the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack and on Avicii’s EDM smash “Hey Brother.”
Darius Rucker: “When Was The Last Time”
This is home to Rucker’s 8th eighth No. 1 song, “If I Told You,” and “First Time.”
Kenny Chesney: “Live in No Shoes Nation”
The album is packed with more than 30 hit songs from 10 years of live performances in stadiums, bars and, of course, on the beach.
Craig Wayne Boyd: “Top Shelf”
Boyd won “The Voice” in 2014, wowing audiences with his baritone voice.
Granger Smith : “When the Good Guys Win”
Smith grabbed the attention of country fans with radio hits including “If the Boot Fits” and “Backroad Song” from his 2016 album “Remington.”
Kelsea Ballerini : “Unapologetically”
Ballerini’s follow-up to her debut “The First Time”is home to her current single, “Legends.”
Billy Ray Cyrus : “Set the Record Straight”
He rocketed to stardom in the ’90s with “Achy Breaky Heart,” which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.
Chase Rice: “Lambs & Lions”
Rice is known for Top 5 hits including “Ready Set Roll” and “Gonna Wanna Tonight.” He also co-wrote Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise.”
Danielle Bradbery : “I Don’t Believe We’ve Met”
Fans grew to love Bradbery when she won “The Voice” in 2013.
Walker Hayes: “Boom”
Hayes is a father of six who worked at Costco while waiting to break through in country music. His production, lyrics and phrasing push the boundaries of the country genre.
Coming soon: By the end of the year, expect to see new albums from Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Luke Bryan and Chris Stapleton, plus an Alabama Christmas album. The albums have been confirmed, but release dates haven’t been set.
Cindy Watts,USA TODAY Network