Summer Preview: 12 New Country Albums

Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton Plan New Projects

For many country fans, summer is the season for lounging at the lake, preparing a picnic basket or heading out on a road trip. And don’t forget new music. Not sure what’s coming out? Don’t sweat it. Here are a dozen country albums arriving over the next three months.

Trace Adkins, Proud to Be Here (Aug. 2)
To lead his new project on Show Dog-Universal, Adkins chose the tender ballad, “Just Fishin’,” an ode to father-daughter relationships. Adkins filmed the video at his farm outside of Nashville. Along with a standard version, Adkins will issue a deluxe edition of Proud to Be Here with four additional tracks, including “If I Was a Woman” featuring Blake Shelton.

Luke Bryan, Tailgates & Tanlines (Aug. 9)
With his career momentum escalating, Bryan will celebrate summer with Tailgates & Tanlines, his third album for Capitol Nashville. He co-wrote the catchy first single, “Country Girl (Shake It for Me),” with Dallas Davidson. Bryan will headline CMT on Tour this fall with guests Lee Brice, Josh Thompson and CMT’s Next Superstar winner Matt Mason.

Eric Church, Chief (July 26)
This hardworking singer-songwriter will release his third album, Chief, on Capitol Nashville. The album title comes from Church’s childhood nickname given to him by his grandfather. Church filmed the video for the first single, “Homeboy,” at Nashville’s Tennessee State Prison. Before the album arrives, though, Church will embark on a tour with Toby Keith.

Lady Antebellum, Own the Night (Sept. 13)
Fans at the CMA Music Festival heard a sampling of Lady A’s new project, including the empowering title track and their electric new single, “Just a Kiss.” The group won five Grammys in February, then quickly returned to the studio to harness that energy. They’ll play numerous fairs and festivals this summer, leading up to the album release on Capitol Nashville.

Randy Montana, Randy Montana (July 26)
This young singer-songwriter made inroads with “Ain’t Much Left of Loving You” and “1,000 Faces.” And this summer, he’ll make his full-length debut with a self-titled album on Mercury Nashville. He teamed with his dad, singer-songwriter Billy Montana, to write “Last Horse,” about a man clinging to a fading relationship. Emmylou Harris lends her distinctive harmony to the track.

Justin Moore, Outlaws Like Me (June 21)
On the strength of relatable hits like “Small Town USA” and “Backwoods,” Moore landed numerous high-profile touring gigs with the likes of Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts. When the Arkansas native hits the road this summer, listen for “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” the sentimental first single from his upcoming project with Valory Music Co.

Jake Owen, Barefoot Blue Jean Night (Aug. 30)
Two days after turning 30, Owen will issue his third album on RCA Nashville. The upbeat title track is already a Top 20 hit. Joey Moi and Rodney Clawson produced six tracks while Tony Brown produced five. Owen is currently opening Keith Urban’s Get Closer tour, giving fans a preview of new material as well as his sultry signature hit, “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You.”

Dolly Parton, Better Day (June 28)
Parton will unveil a dozen new tunes on Better Day, released on her own label. After a round of promotional appearances, she’ll launch her world tour in Knoxville (not far from her Tennessee mountain home in Sevier County) on July 17. From there, she’ll travel to major markets like Dallas, L.A., Chicago and Atlanta, before a jaunt to Europe and Australia.

Blake Shelton, Red River Blue (July 12)
This is shaping up as the best year so far in Shelton’s life and career. He co-hosted the ACM Awards, landed on NBC’s The Voice, married Miranda Lambert and scored a No. 1 hit with “Honey Bee.” That buzz-worthy love song comes from his upcoming project, Red River Blue, on Warner Bros. Nashville. Catch him on tour with Brad Paisley this summer.

Ashton Shepherd, Where Country Grows (July 12)
For her second album on MCA Nashville, this Alabama talent ventured into co-writing to show another side of herself. And as a result, she believes the project has something for everyone. Shepherd wrote or co-wrote eight of the 10 tracks, while the lead single, “Look It Up” (written by Angaleena Presley and Robert Ellis Orrall), has proved to be her biggest country hit yet.

Sunny Sweeney, Concrete (Aug. 23)
Earlier this year, this Texas singer-songwriter broke through with a cheating song, “From a Table Away,” and now she’s making more progress with “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving.” Her direct approach to country songwriting has earned critical praise and a dedicated fan base. She’ll release Concrete on Republic Nashville and play early sets for Brad Paisley this summer.

Chris Young, Neon (July 12)
The Nashville Star champ found success by blending traditional and contemporary country on “Gettin’ You Home,” “The Man I Want to Be” and “Voices” — all No. 1 hits. His upcoming third RCA Nashville project features his latest single, “Tomorrow,” which takes a surprisingly dramatic and seductive approach. He’ll hit the road with Jason Aldean this summer.