Joe Nichols returns, Cassadee Pope lets her Voice be heard and Kenny Rogers reconnects with "Old Friends" as new albums roll out Tuesday (Oct. 8).
Almost two years since his last album, It's All Good, Nichols is feeling refreshed and recharged on Crickets.
"As far as where I'm at with my new music ... this is more than a new chapter," Nichols said via press release. "It's a new book."
Sixteen new tracks cover a range of country styling, from the breezy single "Sunny and 75" to a cover of Merle Haggard's "Footlights."
"There's always going to be a traditional element in my music that I won't change and really just can't change," said the singer. "But I can reach beyond my comfort zone, too. Certainly in 2013, it would be foolish not to try."
Pope, season three winner of The Voice, makes her country debut with Frame by Frame and hopes to make a quick connection with listeners.
"As a songwriter, I've always loved to tell stories," she said. "Country music is about being real and genuine, which lets me get really personal and explain different parts of my life."
Along with her infectious single "Wasting All These Tears," the revealing "11" stands out.
"It's about me going through my parents' divorce," Pope admitted. "When you go through that as a kid, weird things go through your mind, and you have no control."
Thirty years after "Islands in the Stream," Rogers has released another duet with Dolly Parton, "You Can't Make Old Friends," the centerpiece of his new album of the same name.
"What a thrill it is for me to work again with my buddy, Dolly Parton, and what a special song," said Rogers. "Working with Dolly is always a little like going home. Everything felt comfortable."
Blending elements of country, rock, soul, gospel, zydeco and Southwestern music, Rogers is especially pleased with You Can't Make Old Friends.
"I can honestly say this may be the best album I've ever recorded," he declared. "The musical diversity is extraordinary."
Independent country releases include Patty Griffin's once-lost Silver Bell album, a project recorded in 2000 but previously unreleased.
Meanwhile, traditionally-minded husband-and-wife Joey & Rory submit Made to Last, while daughter Heidi Feek makes a provocative debut with The Only.
Folksy singer-songwriter Amos Lee offers his fifth album with Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, and rockabilly vixen Lindi Ortega hammers out Tin Star.
Tony Dekker, lead singer of Canadian indie rockers Great Lake Swimmers, releases his quietly personal Prayer of the Woods, Austin's Wild Child live up to their name on The Runaround, storytelling songwriter Scott Miller delivers Big Big World and veteran songbird Kimmie Rhodes offers Covers featuring Rodney Crowell, Delbert McClinton and Marcia Ball.
Finally, the holiday season makes its presence known with Gretchen Wilson's Christmas in My Heart. Also in the holiday offering is the Classic Christmas Album series, a group of releases that include collections by Alabama, Johnny Cash, Martina McBride and George Jones and Tammy Wynette.