12 Albums We Can’t Wait To Hear In 2016

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2015 was great for country music. Albums from Kip Moore, Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves and Chris Stapleton proved that there is plenty of room for a diverse collection of influences. Sometimes there’s pop; sometimes there’s soul; and still, other times there’s hard-hitting southern rock. But beneath all the production, there is a strong adherence to powerful lyrics and roots-driven storytelling.

As the new year beings to unfold, Country Outfitter takes a look at 12 albums we can not wait to hear.

Brothers Osborne // Pawn Shop (Jan. 15)

Their music is a little bit rock and a whole lotta roll. Sample tracks like “Loving Me Back” (with the soulful Lee Ann Womack) and “Stay a Little Longer” are the kind of forward-thinking songs country has been needing for quite a long time. This album drops very, very soon…and we could not be more excited.

Erik Dylan (TBD)

This singer and songwriter landed his first major artist cut with last year’s “Comeback Kid” on Kip Moore’s Wild Ones. He has also been working away in the studio piecing together a new album, and he’s previously demonstrated that he has something truly significant to say (see: “Color Blind” and “Ashes”). His album should be packed with punch.

Mickey Guyton (TBD)

It’s not clear if she will get the chance to release an album, after her powerful “Better Than You Left Me” waltz stalled at radio. But a voice like hers would be tragically misused if she didn’t get the opportunity to at least show she has the staying power to do some good on a full-length. Sign us up for more tracks like “Why Baby Why,” too!

Frankie Ballard (TBD)

This relative newcomer has the soul and the voice to change the mainstream in big ways. With songs like “Sunshine & Whiskey” and “Helluva Life,” he proves his fun-loving and thoughtful sides. 2016 is his time to challenge not only himself but everyone around him.

Dierks Bentley (TBD)

His Riser album remains one of 2014’s finest moments, with the title track and “Say You Do” some of his best work. Now that the album has set the stage for even more exploration, the follow-up could be his defining moment and take him to the next superstar level (where he belongs). His new single “Somewhere on a Beach” arrives shortly.

Miranda Lambert (TBD)

Her solo writes are particularly noteworthy (such as “Bathroom Sink” from 2014’s dynamic Platinum LP), and the pain through which she’s been in the past year should yield some incredibly dark and visceral new songs. Heartache is a long stretch of creative highway that reaches far back in country music’s history. There’s certainly plenty she can discover.

Jennifer Nettles (TBD)

Her 2014 solo bow That Girl was severely underrated and held up extremely well in a changing sales landscape, considering virtually no airplay. She can sing with the best of ’em, and her next album should be even more engaging.

Dave Cob // Southern Family (March 18)

Bringing together some of the best in the business, this concept album (centered on growing up with a sibling) could be the most important record of the year. Brandy Clark, Jamey Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Jason Isbell, John Paul White and Zac Brown all contribute tracks. That should give you reason enough to be pumped.

Brandy Clark (TBD)

Speaking of Brandy, her new single “Girl Next Door” drops in a few weeks, which means her sophomore LP is just over the horizon. As you’ll see in the performance below, her songwriting is sharper, wittier and even more potent.

Sturgill Simpson (TBD)

As one of the many Americana men changing the country landscape with every ounce of his soul, his follow-up to 2014’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music should be every bit as dynamic and compelling.

Charles Kelley // The Driver (Feb. 5)

Since taking some time away from Lady Antebellum, his solo career has already begun to flourish. His new single “The Driver,” with Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay, is up for a Grammy, setting the stage for his breakout moment.

Scotty McCreery (TBD)

He is somewhat a traditionalist in the broader scope of the format, even if “Southern Belle” is a bit too R&B for his talents. His previous albums showed tremendous reach as a viable (quality) hit-maker. He’s just one smash away from being country’s next leading man.


Image Source: UMG, CMA, Warner, Jeremy Scott for Country Outfitter