Congratulations, you made it to 2023. And now it’s time to take a look forward at what country music may have in store for the new year.
If we’re being honest, the beginning of 2023 looks very thin when it comes to the amount of confirmed releases and big projects compared to what we’ve seen in years previous at this time. What’s the reason for this? 2022 had an insane amount of releases—so much so that we’re still trying to catch up. Perhaps that’s resulting in a slow start to 2023.
But don’t worry, the second half of 2023 could be very action packed. How do we know? Because the “Rumor Mill” with chatter about releases that might be coming up but are yet to be confirmed is very noisy at the moment (see bottom). That means that a slow winter 2023 might give way to a busier late spring and summer.
Nonetheless, there are still some stellar records to be released in the coming weeks and months, and you can find a list of top releases below, as well as a more detailed release radar of all confirmed releases in country and roots music below that.
Hint: Bookmark this page, and come back each Friday to stay up-to-date with releases. This list will be updated regularly under the “confirmed releases” heading as new albums are announced, though older albums won’t be removed from the list so people can look back at what they might have missed.
PLEASE NOTE: No artist or album was overlooked, snubbed, or disregarded here. If you know of an album to be released that you believe is of interest to country and roots music, please feel free to share the information below in the comments section for the benefit of everyone.
Whitehorse – I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying – January 13th
Canadian duo Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet have worked both inside and outside of country music in their acclaimed careers as they’ve racked up five JUNO nominations in three separate genres. But I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying unapologetically leans heavily on their classic country influences in new original songs.
Starting off to record an EP of 70s country songs as a way to pass time during the pandemic, the creativity started flowing, and all of a sudden they had written a full blown classic country album themselves. As can be heard in the debut single, “If The Loneliness Don’t Kill Me,” this will be a twangy record, and one not to miss.
Pony Bradshaw – North Georgia Rounder – January 27th
You will struggle to find a more thoughtful and literary songwriter than Pony Bradshaw, who impressed many with his previous album Calico Jim. A proud North Georgian who reminds us that Appalachia officially stretches into the Peach State, he will put his amalgam of literary influences into his new album North Georgia Rounder.
Though Georgia and Appalachia play a role in the new album, it also works as a travelogue in some respects, also making visits to Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as Louisiana and Arkansas in the 10-song album. As early tracks like “Kindly Turn the Bed Down, Drusilla” and “Notes on a River Town” prove, this will be an important singer/songwriter album for 2023.
JD Clayton – Long Way From Home – January 27th
Arkansas native JD Clayton is known as one of those “real deal” artists with authenticity behind the words he writes and delivers with conviction. After releasing an EP Side A in 2022, he’s now readying the release of his debut LP co-produced with Thomas Clayton, and recorded at The Planetarium in Nashville.
“When you’re from Fort Smith, Arkansas you’re expected to graduate high school and either start work for a manufacturing plant or move off to college with the hope that you’ll be back one day to work for the family business or get a desk job booking freight at Arc Best,” says JD Clayton. “It’s pretty hard to explain how a kid from Fort Smith could make it in music, but I tried my best with these songs.”
Brit Taylor – Kentucky Blue – February 3rd
From the Country Music Highway region of Kentucky, Brit Taylor’s new album was produced by Sturgill Simpson with David Ferguson, and recorded at “Cowboy” Jack Clement’s Cowboy Arms Hotel and Recording Spa in Nashville. Kentucky Blue is said to have a little bit of a funky attitude in spurts, but otherwise is pure country. Co-writers include Kimberly Kelly, Pat McLaughlin (known for writing with John Prine), and Adam Wright.
“Kentucky Blue—both the song and the album—is so indicative of love and life and Kentucky,” Taylor says. “Whether you are mourning the death of a relationship, of a dream, of a family member or even of a personal idol such as Loretta Lynn, ‘Kentucky Blue’ speaks to your heart in that unique musical language of Appalachia.” (read more)
Rob Ikes & Trey Hensley – Living In A Song – February 10th
Dobro player Rob Ikes and guitarist Trey Hensley are already revered worldwide within the bluegrass discipline as top-notch players, songwriters, and collaborators. Ikes has won the IBMA Dobro Player of the Year a whopping 15 times, and ever since Hensley debuted on the Grand Ole Opry at 11 years old with Earl Scruggs and Marty Stuart, he’s been shattering expectations.
But for their first album in nearly five years, the duo is distinctively exploring their classic country music roots in ten original compositions as well as a couple of covers. Co-writing some of the tracks with producer Brent Maher, this will be the bluegrass duo’s foray into country music, while also mixing in some bluegrass and Americana influences for good measure. If you’ve been waiting for a good opportunity to give this duo your undivided attention, this may be it.
The Shootouts – Stampede – February 24th
Ohio’s official throwback traditional country honky tonk band has a new album on the way, and it’s produced by Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel, and features appearances by Marty Stuart, Raul Malo of The Mavericks, and Jim Lauderdale. Sam Seifert also helped produce.
The Shootouts weren’t exactly planning on releasing a new album this year after releasing the Chuck Mead-produced Bullseye in 2021. But when Ray Benson agreed to produce a new album, they couldn’t help but oblige. Though Akron, Ohio isn’t exactly an epicenter of country music, that rust belt authenticity nonetheless makes a good backdrop for The Shootouts, and they’ve made a name for themselves in the Midwest and well beyond, getting nominated for Best Honky Tonk Group at the upcoming 2023 Ameripolitan Awards. (read more)
Matt Hillyer – Glorieta – February 24th
We knew the frontman from legendary local Dallas country band Eleven Hundred Springs wouldn’t be on the sidelines for too long after the band announced their retirement in 2021. Matt Hillyer had already done ample time as a solo artist, and now he’s readying his first post-Eleven Hundred release produced by John Pedigo of the O’s, who’s also worked recently with Joshua Ray Walker.
On his solo career, Matt Hillyer says, “To me they’re all just songs I had a hand in creating, whether it’s an Eleven Hundred Springs song or one of my solo songs and I’m really proud of them. Those songs have gone places and have taken me places. I’m also excited to see where the new music will take me, because I have no plans to stop doing this anytime soon.”
Lucero – Should’ve Learned by Now – February 24th
Alt-country rockers Lucero were mostly dark and broody on their last two albums Among the Ghosts (2018) and When You Found Me (2021). One of the reasons for this was a purposeful attempt to be more weighty and intense. As many Lucero fans will attest, they were successful in that attempt, no matter how you feel about the songs themselves.
But it wasn’t that they weren’t writing any lighter material, they were just holding it back. It’s those songs that will comprise the new album. “All that fun stuff has a home!” the band says. “It’s time to get these songs out into the world! That’s how we got to the appropriately-for-us-titled album ‘Should’ve Learned by Now.’ The album is basically about how we know we are fuckups and I guess we are ok with that.”
Michael Cleveland – Lovin’ Of The Game – March 3rd
Michael Cleveland continues to be a significant part of the resurgent swell we’ve seen in the popularity of bluegrass over the last few years. Both as a solo artist and as a collaborator, he’s brought such authority and passion to the fiddle discipline, it’s infectious with the audience. A 12-time IBMA winner, his last album Tall Fiddler won the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album.
Lovin’ Of The Game will feature appearances from Béla Fleck, Billy Strings, Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke, Jeff White, The Travelin’ McCourys, and Vince Gill, perhaps making this album Michael Cleveland’s biggest breakout yet. “He plays fearless and it’s intoxicating to play with him because he makes you play fearless,” says Vince Gill. “He takes no prisoners but he plays with restraint and a soul. He plays without abandon.”
Nicholas Jamerson – Peace Mountain – May 19th
Not only is Nicholas Jamerson’s band Sundy Best releasing a new album Feel Good Country on February 3rd, Jamerson is also releasing a solo album, with the title track featuring Charles Wesley Godwin out now, along with two other tracks. It is the followup to Jamerson’s previous album The Wild Frontier.
“’The Wild Frontier’ was about finding faith; whereas ‘Peace Mountain’ is about practicing faith and making peace with life, trusting that the work has been done, and enjoying the process,” says Jamerson. Peace Mountain will be his 6th studio album overall.
OTHER ANTICIPATED/CONFIRMED RELEASES
January 10th – Juniper – She Steals Candy
Whitehorse – I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying
Margo Price – Strays
The Bombadils – Dear Friend
Myron Elkins – Factories, Farms & Amphetamines
Laid Back Country Picker – Go West
Peach & Quiet – Beautiful Thing
Erik Vincent Huey – Appalachian Gothic
Zach and Maggie – The Elephant in the Room
Brothers of the Heart – Listen to the Music (country Gospel)
Laura Zucker – Lifeline
January 23rd – Johnny Nicholas Presents Moon and the Stars: A Tribute to Moon Mullican
January 24th – Dust Bowl Faeries – Carnival Dust EP
Starling Arrow – Cradle
Erik Huey – Appalachian Gothic
Elle King – Come Get Your Wife
Coleman Jennings and the Roaddogs – Know No Leash EP
JD Clayton – Long Way From Home
Gibson Brothers – Darkest Hour
Joe Henry – All The Eye Can See
Pony Bradshaw – North Georgia Rounder
February 1st – Simon Linsteadt – Mud Season
Jarrod Dickenson – Big Talk
Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams – Live at Levon’s!
Sunny War – Anarchist Gospel
Mile Twelve – Close Enough to Hear
Sundy Best – Feel Good Country
Tim Stafford & Thomm Jutz – Lost Voices
Helene Cronin – Landmarks
Brit Taylor – Kentucky Blue
Jill Barber – Homemaker
Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley – Living in a Song
February 13th – The Bear and the Bison – Self-Titled
Jaimee Harris – Boomerang Town
Alex Mabey – The Waiting Room
Tina Ross – While I’m Here (folk)
Rose’s Pawn Shop – Punch-Drunk Life
Matt Hillyer – Glorieta
Lucero – Should’ve Learned by Now
The Shootouts – Stampede
The National Parks – 8th Wonder
Karen Jonas – The Restless
Michael Cleveland – Lovin’ Of The Game
Chris Williams and Kid Reverie – Something From Nothing
Matt Andersen – The Big Bottle of Joy
Robert Jon and the Wreck – One Of A Kind EP (roots rock)
Dylan Earl – I Saw The Arkansas (old school country)
Doug Paisley – Say What You Like
The Lucky Valentines – Losses
One Night in Texas: The Next Waltz’s Tribute to the Red Headed Stranger (Live)
Nicholas Jamerson – Peace Mountain
THE RUMOR MILL
The Travelin’ McCoury’s were in the studio with Tyler Childers in late October. Stay tuned.
Dolly Parton is working on a rock album to go along with her recent induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Pistol Annies have been writing together, and with others like Lukas Nelson, likely for a new album.
Cody Jinks was in the studio in November of 2022, and is going back in January. Expect a new album in 2023.
Cody Jinks has signed Erin Viacourt to his Late August Records label, and she is finishing up an album as well (read more).
The Turnpike Troubadours were rumored to have been in FAME studios in Muscle Shoals in February of 2022, with some now linking Shooter Jennings to the project as producer. Bassist RC Edwards also confirmed the band has been in the studio and writing new songs. Evan Felker did play a new song in Houston on May 7th called “Cat In The Rain.” Expect news and/or a debut single in early 2023.
The Wood Brothers have a new album on the way in the spring called Heart Is The Hero. No specific release date yet.
Luke Grimes, aka Kayce Dutton from Yellowstone recorded a Dave Cobb-produced album in Nashville in the fall, and worked with Brent Cobb, Jamey Johnson, Jon Randall, Josh Osborn, Jessi Alexander, The Love Junkies (Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey) as songwriters. It will be released by UMG Nashville in 2023. (read more)
Zach Bryan will have a new album called Writers and Fighters, and probably, another two or three others.
Milk Carton Kids have released a new song called “When You’re Gone” ahead of a new album.
Canadian Gothic country artist Lindi Ortega says that she will be recording an album in 2023.
Kyle Nix of the Turnpike Troubadours says his second album is almost done and that the new one will be recorded with his backing band The 38’s.
The War & Treaty have signed to UMG Nashville, and have a Dave Cobb-produced album ready for release.
Ray Wylie Hubbard: “Warning: the new record is not the pretty girl singing Jolene at the national finals rodeo in Las Vegas..its the Huntsville prison rodeo when the death row clown gets gored distracting the bull away from the arsonist who got thrown.”
Dierks Bentley has new album on the way, and released a single with Billy Strings called “High Note.”
The Wilder Blue have been working at The Sonic Ranch in West Texas on a new album with Brent Cobb acting as producer.
Uncle Lucius has reunited, and is working on new music. (read more)
Colter Wall posted a photo of himself in the studio in September.
Former Saving Country Music Album of the Year winner Slackeye Slim has a new album called Scorched Earth, Black Heart coming out in the Spring. New song “Everything Follows This” out now.
Marty Stuart has signed with European label Snakefarm Records, and supposedly has THREE albums in the can ready to go. He recently released a single, “Country Star.”
British traditional country artist Ags Connolly had a Kickstarter campaign recently for a new album called Siempre.
Jake Worthington has signed to Big Loud. New album in the works.
Johnny Falstaff has moved back to Houston (from Germany) after kicking Cancer’s ass, and was spotted in Nashville recently recording a new album.
Dale Watson has recorded an acoustic album using a 1950s 12-string Stella with David “Fergie” Ferguson producing, recorded at the studios of Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound.
Brennen Leigh: “We’re making a Country record. It’s a beautiful honor to have my brother Chris Scruggs producing these songs. I flew home for a day to add some final touches. It’s so Country I’m not sure y’all can handle it 🙂 Stay tuned.”
Jason Hawk Harris, who was a refugee after Bloodshot Records went defunct, recently ran a crowdfunding campaign on Twitter, and promises he’ll be finishing up a new album soon.
Channing Wilson has a new album on the way he recorded with Dave Cobb. New songs “Blues Comin’ On” and “Drink That Strong” out now.
Dalton Domino has a new album on the way from Lightning Rod Records called Arizona. No release date yet, but the first songs “Wannabe” and “Rock and Roll Should Kill You” out now.
Jordan Nix also has a new album on the way Dalton Domino has been touting hard.