Now that the dust has pretty much settled on 2012, nobody say a word about Best of 2013 lists until after Thanksgiving. I haven’t even heard any of this music yet and I’m already overwhelmed.
Gary Allan – Set You Free (January 22)
The ninth studio album from one of contemporary country’s best voices arrives January 22 on MCA Nashville. Allan tells The Boot: “Looking at song titles, when I laid it out the very first time it read like a breakup. The first song was ‘Tough Goodbye’ and the last song was ‘Good as New,’ and it covers everything in the middle, from spinning out on alcohol and drugs, to anger, to reflection.” He’s about due for another great album – his last two have been merely pretty good – so here’s hoping this is it.
Kris Kristofferson is on a hot streak, with 2006’s This Old Road and 2009’s Closer to the Bone representing some of his finest work since the early ’70s. The US release of Feeling Mortal (which is already out in the UK, with samples available here) should continue the pattern. Meanwhile, Watson’s alleged “honky tonkiest album” yet includes such song titles as “I Lie When I Drink,” “I Drink to Remember,” “Drink Drink Drink,” “I Hate to Drink Alone,” and “Thanks to Tequila.” Can’t say he didn’t warn you.
The Steeldrivers – Hammer Down, Holly Williams – Highway, and Townes Van Zandt – Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions & Demos 1971-1972 (February 5)
February 5 is cracking up to be a very strong release day indeed, with blues-grass supergroup The Steeldrivers’ first new album since replacing Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson, Holly Williams’ follow-up to the excellent Here With Me (which ranked among our Best Albums of 2009), and unheard demos and studio sessions from Townes Van Zandt in his prime.
Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis – Cheater’s Game (February 12)
It’s Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison. Is more information even necessary? Oh, fine. Includes Robison originals and covers of Robert Earl Keen’s “No Kinda Dancer,” Hayes Carll’s “Long Way Home,” Don Williams’ “We’re All the Way,” Dave Alvin’s “Border Radio,” etc. Kelly says: “We really wanted a sound that was unique to our little combo. Something quiet and not what you’d expect, something no one else would do. We went on the road all summer as a quartet… with a stand up bass and Bruce not playing electric guitar… and in all that we found this.” Bruce adds: “This is very old school, but we try to approach it from the left flank: a little quirky, a little old and obviously very much what Kelly does so well.” It’ll be out on vinyl, too.
It’s almost here, it’s almost here! The long-awaited Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell duet album is almost here. Songs by Hank DeVito, Roger Miller, Matraca Berg, Kris Kristofferson… oh, and Rodney Crowell. The Mavericks release date seems to keep sliding back, so hopefully all’s well there and February 26 will actually see the release of their first full album since 2003.
Ashley Monroe – Like a Rose (March 5)
Originally scheduled to come out on CD this month, the release got pushed back to allow for the inclusion of a new Ashley Monroe/Vince Gill cowrite. Hard to imagine that not being worth the wait. Details, minus the changed street date, here.
What are you looking forward to in 2013?