Jake Owen enjoys his Days of Gold, Carrie Underwood delivers The Sound of Music and Deana Carter continues her Southern Way of Life as new albums arrive Tuesday (Dec. 3).
Following the No. 1 success of Owen's previous release Barefoot Blue Jean Night, four consecutive No. 1 singles and the birth of his first child, Owen's Days of Gold aims to pair a live-life-while-you-can mindset with the maturity that comes from being a new dad.
"I want people to feel more than they did with my past albums, and I think they will," Owen says. "Days of Gold is going to be a step forward.
"An artist's career is defined by their catalog of songs, and that's really what I want to put together on Days of Gold," he continues. "Alan [Jackson] wrote songs that were fun-loving, but he also had 'Remember When.' That's what I want in my own career -- to record the best songs I can and give them to people."
Still, Owen isn't looking to recreate anyone else's success. He'd rather blaze his own trail, as evidenced by the album's fast-talking title track and first single, "Days of Gold."
"When you take risks, you get great rewards," he says. "And that's how I've always approached life."
Also arriving Tuesday is The Sound of Music -- Music From the NBC Television Event featuring Underwood in the beloved lead role of Maria von Trapp.
The album of studio recordings includes all of the musical numbers performed by the cast during the three-hour live telecast, which airs Thursday (Dec. 5). Among them are Rodgers & Hammerstein favorites "The Sound of Music," "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi" and "Sixteen Going on Seventeen."
Meanwhile, Deana Carter returns with Southern Way of Life, the country singer-songwriter's first album of new material since 2005's The Story of My Life.
"There's been a lot of writing, and a lot of living," Carter tells Billboard about her time away from music. "I've been through a lot. I pulled back to focus on my son. ... Now he's in the fourth grade and saying, 'When are you gonna sing again?' When your son says that to you, you think, 'Maybe I should do that.'"
Best known for her 1996 hit "Strawberry Wine," Carter has released the first single from the new project, "Do or Die."