The chill in the air says summer is over, but hot new country albums are still on the way. Titles from Billy Currington, Justin Moore and Chris Young are just a few to arrive Tuesday (Sept. 17), along with a slew of projects from independent artists.
Currington's fifth album, We Are Tonight, is the beach bum's first release in three years and builds off the gold-certified success of "Hey Girl." Also boasting a cameo from Willie Nelson ("Hard to Be a Hippie"), Currington says We Are Tonight was a long time coming.
"It's like you work so many years to get it -- and you finally got it," he says. "I feel so blessed."
Meanwhile, Moore's third studio album, Off the Beaten Path, has him feeling more like he's standing on the edge of a cliff.
"The artists that do take that quantum leap from where we are to the next level," he recently confided to CMT Hot 20 Countdown, "they generally do it on this album."
Helping him make the jump are the single "Point at You," which has entered the Top 5 of Billboard's country airplay chart, and guest appearances by Miranda Lambert and Charlie Daniels.
For Young's fourth album, A.M., the Tennessee native is hoping to show he's more than the sensitive crooner of "Tomorrow" and "Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song)."
"The songs that comprise A.M., especially the tempo tracks, are reflective of the life I'm living right now," he says. "I get to interact with the crowd in a totally different way than with ballads."
The album's first single "Aw Naw" is joined by titles like "Nothin' but the Cooler Left," "Text Me Texas" and "Lighters in the Air."
Also arriving in stores Tuesday is the genre-bending High Cotton: A Tribute to Alabama, where Americana artists such as Old Crow Medicine Show, Jason Isbell and the Blind Boys of Alabama cover hits of the classic country group. The track listing includes "Dixieland Delight," "Mountain Music," "Old Flame" and many more.
Bluegrass fans will appreciate The Streets of Baltimore, the Del McCoury Band's latest project that takes its name from the 1966 Bobby Bare hit, as well as McCoury's early musical experiences in the city.
Other new releases include Pete Anderson's Birds Above Guitarland, Audrey Auld's Tonk and the Band of Heathens' Red Dirt-tinged Sunday Morning Record.
Nashville multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin arrives with the two-CD set The Fatman Cometh & World of Wonder, while rootsy Tift Merritt returns with an acoustic version of Traveling Alone (packaged with an illustrated book) and Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott reunite for Memories & Moments.
Finally, look for Mack Pickerel & His Praying Hands' Tess, Austin-based indie-rockers the Reynolds Number's self-titled debut and 70-year-old country-soul man Tony Joe White's Hoodoo.