With a sunny season around the corner, it only seems right to take a look at the upcoming country releases that will brighten our spring months. Here are a dozen that we can’t wait to hear.
Kelsea Ballerini, Kelsea (March 20)
With her third album imminent, it’s impossible to guess which vibe she’ll pursue. Will it be the upbeat country tunes that made her a star? The pop-flavored singles like “Miss Me More?” Or more in line with the thoughtful songs, such as her latest single, “homecoming queen?” Our guess: All of the above.
Ingrid Andress, Lady Like (March 27)
This eloquent newcomer enters the Top 10 at country radio this week with “More Hearts Than Mine.” Although it’s been a slow build, the single has gained fans like Tim McGraw, Dan + Shay, and Thomas Rhett, who have all invited her on tour. The candid title track has already proven to be a fan favorite.
Sam Hunt, Southside (April 3)
More than five years after releasing Montevallo, Sam Hunt is back on the racks with Southside. Of course it includes his latest No. 1 hit, “Kinfolks,” but also stretches back to digital singles such as “Body Like a Back Road” from 2017. Interestingly he’s leading the album with “2016,” a song about multiple regrets.
Ashley McBryde, Never Will (April 3)
Expectations are high for Ashley McBryde, who earned widespread notice for her major label debut album – including three Grammy nominations. For Never Will, she’s introduced new songs like “One Night Standards” through a video trilogy, a tour, and a spot on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.
John Anderson, Years (April 10)
A true legend in country music, John Anderson possesses an inimitable voice that is perfectly suited for this batch of all-new songs. After a health crisis where he had to face his mortality, “Years” is particularly poignant, while “Tuesday I’ll Be Gone” with Blake Shelton would sound mighty good on radio.
Maddie & Tae, The Way It Feels (April 10)
Has it really been five years since “Girl in a Country Song”? Yes, and while the landscape hasn’t changed much, Maddie & Tae have been on a journey. With a new label deal and some momentum with singles like “Die From a Broken Heart,” they’ll be touring through most of 2020. Maybe in the heartbreak van?
Luke Bryan, Born Here Live Here Die Here (Updated: Now August 7)
Can we even talk about spring break without a reference to Luke Bryan? Currently competing for ACM Entertainer of the Year, he’s back with Born Here Live Here Die Here, which encompasses hits like “Knockin’ Boots” and new tracks such as “Proud to Be Right Here” — also the name of his new tour.
Willie Nelson, First Rose of Spring (Updated: Now July 3)
The album won’t be out by 4/20, but Nelson did issue the title track to digital platforms not long after winning his tenth Grammy earlier this year. For this project he introduces two new compositions, covers a few friends (Toby Keith, Billy Joe Shaver), and unearths a new Chris Stapleton track, “Our Song.”
Pam Tillis, Looking For a Feeling (April 24)
Fans of ‘90s country will embrace Pam Tillis, who resurfaces with her first solo album in 13 years. Though she’s an Opry member and the daughter of a Nashville legend, Pam indulges in less obvious influences here, like the Muscle Shoals sound and the Beatles. Still, we can’t wait to hear “Dolly 1969.”
Kenny Chesney, Here and Now (May 1)
Speaking of the ‘90s, did you know that Kenny Chesney released his first Top 10 single in March 1995? That means he’s been on the scene for 25 years, and Here and Now brings him back to the spirit of songwriting that inspired him so deeply. The feel-good, globe-trotting title track is out now.
Hot Country Knights, The K Is Silent (May 1)
Even the biggest ‘90s fans can’t quite place Hot Country Knights. We’ve heard that Dierks Bentley is putting his reputation on the line for these “Asphalt” singers. Anyway, if they’re good enough to record duets with Travis Tritt (“Pick Her Up”) and Terri Clark (“You Make It Hard”), they’re OK with us.
Travis Denning, Beer’s Better Cold (May 15)
After coming up as a songwriter, Travis Denning is launching his own career with his current Top 20 single, “After a Few,” as well as a six-song EP, Beer’s Better Cold. The Georgia native has already appeared on Today, and after touring with Dustin Lynch earlier this year, he’s joining up with Sam Hunt in May.