The Road Ahead: Exciting Stuff to Come in 2013

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.

(For more upcoming music, see our Album Release Calendar or bookmark the Country Music Start Page.)

gary allanGary 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.

dale watsonKris Kristofferson – Feeling Mortal and Dale Watson – El Rancho Azul (January 29)

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.

holly williamsThe 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.

kelly willis and bruce robisonBruce 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.

the mavericksEmmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – Old Yellow Moon and The Mavericks – In Time (February 26)

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?

New posts, by email, whenever we’ve got ’em.


  1. KC says

    I’m really excited about the Holly Williams and Ashley Monroe albums. When Williams’ “Here With Me” came out I liked a few songs, but it didn’t really stick with me. I just recently gave it another listen and have finally gotten into it. The clips of her new album on Amazon seem promising.

    I’ve seen a couple Facebook posts from Lori McKenna about being in the studio, so I’m excited she might have an album out sometime this year. The upcoming Pistol Annies record should be great, too.

  2. Andrew Leprich says

    Great list, and I loved your write-ups. My wallet is going to be crying over the next few months. I plan to purchase all of these eventually, many on day one (especially the Crowell/Harris collaboration).

    Totally agree on Gary Allan. While I am a fan of Gary’s more recent efforts, I miss the Gary we had from 1999-2005 when he was releasing killer album after killer album.

  3. says

    I’m excited for the Gary Allan and Ashley Monroe albums.

    I’d also add the new albums from:

    Kacey Musgraves
    Randy Houser
    Brad Paisley
    Tim McGraw
    Darius Rucker
    Thomas Rhett

  4. says

    Nice list. I’m also looking forward to:
    Shooter Jennings – The Other Life (March?)
    Hellbound Glory
    Fifth on the Floor
    Pistol Annies
    Son Volt

  5. Katie says

    Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground coming out in March! His first album ” a Southern Horror” renewed my faith in raw genius and I can’t wait to be blown away again by his unfiltered sound – ✌

  6. Mary Katherine says

    Thank you, C.M., for your lead recommendation. The only unfortunate thing for all the good albums coming out after Gary Allan’s is that I will be too engrossed in his new music to be open to much else for a good 3 months at least if past albums’ patterns hold true. Given the 6 songs I’ve already heard from this album at least once in concert, it is sure to be phenomenol. I love all his music, but I am definitely impressed with these new songs. Counting down the days eagerly!

  7. Rick says

    I will definitely be cherry picking songs from the Holly Williams and Ashely Monroe albums when they are released. Who knows, I might even check out some of these other albums!…Naw, I’ll just wait for the “Prime Cuts” selections to save time and money! (lol)

    The only sure fire CD purchase I envision is the Pistol Annies if they keep the quality quotient intact.

    Am I the only person that finds Gary Allan’s singing voice annoying (well him and Kelly Willis among others)…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>