Country music fans, we know it’s been tough. After a quiet summer of no concert tours, no country music festivals, no rowdy outdoor concerts beneath starry skies, it’s easy to think that nothing is happening, no new music is coming out, and it will be forever until the world is back to normal.
Here are 11 Must-Hear Country Albums Arriving Fall 2020 from some of the biggest acts in country music. Though concerts have largely been cancelled for 2020, check out our regularly updated list of Rescheduled Concert Tours in 2021 to see if some of these artists will be taking their new albums on the road.
Keith Urban: The Speed of Now, Part One
Kinetic, creative, and even electric, Keith Urban has concretized his unwillingness to stay between the lines. Though a darling of the country music genre, Urban has opened up stylistically on The Speed of Now Pt. 1, out now, showing his fans that he is only interested in expanding his range.
Neil Young: Return to Greendale
Though Neil Young won’t be returning this fall with new music, we are stoked about the live reissue of Young’s 2003 tour with Crazy Horse, behind his rock opera Greendale. The album, Return to Greendale, is out November 6 on 2xCD, 2xLP, and a deluxe 2xLP edition, which includes the concert film and a making-of documentary on the album called Inside Greendale.
Chris Stapleton: Starting Over
Though fans will have to wait until mid-November to hear the full 14-track album from Chris Stapleton, the artist has already blessed us with the title track. “Starting Over,” written with Mike Henderson, is a stripped-down track that showcases Stapleton’s lulling Americana vocals and command over acoustic guitar. We can’t wait until November 13th, the arrival of Stapleton’s fourth studio album, Starting Over.
Brothers Osborne: Skeletons
So far, Brothers Osborne have released four, banging new tracks from their forthcoming album Skeletons. Known for occupying the beloved space between country and rock music, the Brothers Osborne have furthered their accessibility with each new Skeletons single—most recently with “I’m Not For Everyone,” a track which playfully addresses the band’s selective, not-quite-country appeal.
Dolly Parton: A Holly Dolly Christmas
Dolly Parton will release her first holiday album in 30 years with A Holly Dolly Christmas, due out November 3rd. The 12-song collection features holiday standards, including “Mary, Did You Know,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” as well as six original Dolly Parton songs. A Holly Dolly Christmas holds duets with some of Dolly’s longtime friends, including Michael Bublé, Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus, Jimmy Fallon and Willie Nelson.
Maddie & Tae: We Need Christmas
Though we’ve already been given a new album from the country duo Maddie & Tae this year with April’s The Way It Feels, they’ve decided that not only do they need Christmas. We Need Christmas. In an Instagram post, Maddie and Tae divulged their excitement about releasing a holiday album this year.
“We are so proud of this project and loved recreating some of our favorite Christmas classics as well as write some of our own,” the duo says. “Making We Need Christmas was such a bright spot for us this year and we hope this project brings a little joy and peace to our fans during this difficult year.”
We Need Christmas will arrive soon, on October 23rd.
Brent Cobb: Keep Em’ On They Toes
Country musician Brent Cobb has finally revealed the details surrounding his fourth studio album, Keep Em’ On They Toes, set to drop October 2nd.
So far, the Keep Em’ On They Toes singles remind us of Neil Young, of the kind of country music that feels like a conversation with an old friend over two tumblers of whiskey beside a fire, of catching up after a long day that felt like a lifetime. We can’t wait for the remainder of Keep Em’ On They Toes to let us down from this highly anticipatory place.
Josh Abbott Band: The Highway Kind
On November 13th, fans will get to hear The Highway Kind—an album that Josh Abbott Band feels they should’ve released a long time ago.
Abbott says, “The Highway Kind is the album I wish we had put out seven years ago. The lyrics, the melodies, the subtle touches; this album is the very best effort from our group. These songs were brought to life and curated to reflect where my life is now: happy, fulfilled, blessed. From love songs to songs about friendship, from ballads to bangers, this album has it all. They’re true-life songs. I hope people listen to this record and go, ‘Man, Josh is in a really good place around now.’”
Rascal Flatts: Twenty Years of Rascal Flatts: The Greatest Hits
Why celebrate a 20th anniversary just once? Why not keep the festivities going for a whole year? Though they were unable to have their 2020 reunion tour, Rascal Flatts are commemorating their longevity with Twenty Years of Rascal Flatts: The Greatest Hits. The 20-song album will be out October 2nd.
“When we were putting together the tracklisting for this it was an emotional but nostalgic feeling getting a chance to look back during this anniversary year,” shared Gary Levox. “We hope that our fans feel the same way when they listen to it. This release and this year as a band is all a huge thank you and celebration for them.”
Jeremy Ivey: Waiting Out The Storm
Jeremy Ivey will release his sophomore album, Waiting Out the Storm, on October 9th. The record was executively produced by Ivey’s wife and collaborator, Margo Price. After experiencing his own bout of covid-19 near the beginning of the pandemic, Ivey has infiltrated his upcoming release with a patience, a weariness, a responsibility to tell the truth.
“There’s no such thing as someone else’s problem,” Ivey said in a statement. “As cliché as it is, we’re all a living organism together, and we have to take care of ourselves while taking care of each other.”
Trace Adkins: Ain’t That Kind of Cowboy EP
Though he won’t be releasing a full album, Trace Adkins is dropping a 6-song EP titled Ain’t That Kind of Cowboy on October 6th. In conjunction with his announcement, Adkins released another track from the EP, titled “Just The Way We Do It.”
Ain’t That Kind of Cowboy also includes “Mind on Fishin,’” which featured a music video starring T. Graham Brown. Considering the first Ain’t That Kind of Cowboy “Better Off” has already garnered over eight million streams since its release in mid-March, we are bracing ourselves for this EP to not only go platinum, but for Adkins to follow it up with a full studio album release.