It’s an Album Special this week for our regular round-up of new music!
It’s the time of year when things get a little quiet on the new releases front, as everyone holds things back for Christmas and the New Year. However, there’s a been a whole lot of new albums released recently, and we thought we’d pull some of them together for you. Some you’ll already know about, but maybe some you might have missed!
Lady Antebellum – Ocean
Ocean is Lady A’s first album since signing for Big Machine Records, but other than that it’s business as usual. It will satisfy their existing audience, but in truth is unlikely to win them any new fans. The Thing That Wrecks You sees them team up with fellow vocal group Little Big Town on a song that features the expected big harmonies but also a swelling and fading outro. Pictures is catchy pop with a clever juxtaposition of words and melody. The intro to Be Patient With My Love has echoes of Ashley McBryde’s A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega The album title track will be a “torchlight” live show moment, for sure.
Luke Combs – What You See Is What You Get
Luke Combs is probably (?) the biggest name in country music at the moment, and anticipation was off the scale for this second album from the man from North Carolina. Having seen what works, and works incredibly well, there’s really no reason to deviate – and so What You See Is What You Get treads a similar path to This One’s For You. And, like that debut release, there are some real bangers on the new album. Beer Never Broke My Heart is already an established stadium anthem, and both 1, 2, Many and the title track are hugely sing-along-able. But it’s not all alcohol fueled – Even Though I’m Leaving has all the feels, and Better Together is surely going to feature at a whole lot of weddings in the future. Oh, and there’s 17 tracks on the album!
Miranda Lambert – Wildcard
If Miranda’s previous album, 2016’s The Weight Of These Wings, was essentially a classic singer-songwriter style exercise in self-exploration, her new album Wildcard is a total change-up. It’s still full of personal insight and expression, but the confidence and assurance is out there on full display. It features a whole slew of musical styles and influences. It All Come Out In The Wash is very catchy and radio friendly, Locomotive rocks hard, Pretty Bitchin’ has a floaty, trippy feel, Tequila Does fuses waltz time with 90’s bar room… There’s some sharp lyrics in there, but it’s very much a sonic mixed bag. It’s the kind of album that most people will skip tracks on, but they’ll all skip different tracks.
Erin Enderlin – Faulkner County
There’s a reality somewhere where Erin Enderlin is a huge recording artist with album sales off the charts and millions in the bank from record breaking tours. Why it isn’t this reality, I don’t know – maybe she just needs an upbeat superficial song about trucks and beer? Whatever – she’s a killer songwriter with a classic country sound, and Faulkner County just builds on her reputation for character led storytelling. High spots on this album include I Can Be Your Whiskey, The Queen Of Marina del Rey and Sweet Emmylou, but in truth there are no low points to be found here. If you don’t yet know Erin Enderlin, do yourself a favour – take a journey of discovery into Faulkner County.
Micky & The Motorcars – Long Time Comin’
Long Time Comin’ has been exactly that – 5 years, in fact, since 2014’s Hearts From Above, their last studio album. It’s also their first release on the Thirty Tigers record label. For those unfamiliar, this is country rock from the Lone Star State. Brothers Micky and Gary Braun split the lead vocal duties across the album, their differing vocal styles keep listeners on their toes. It would be tempting to assume that the swirling, drum heavy intro to the driving Road To You sets a tone for the album, but there’s a number of slower tracks too, like All Looks The Same and Run Into You that show the band’s softer side.
Chris Janson – Real Friends
Chris Janson’s new album is full of short, punchy, hit-and-run tracks – most are under 3 minutes. They’re perfect for squeezing into radio playlists, but he shouldn’t have any trouble finding airplay for songs like opener Good Vibes, and the title track that features Blake Shelton, but it’s not all party party. Hawaii On Me is a more reflective piece inspired by a real life story about a dying man telling his family not to mourn to hard for him.
Cody Jinks – The Wanting
Released just 1 week after After The Fire, Cody Jinks’ other new album of 2019 is less a companion piece and more a different expression. The Wanting is more in the country rock territory than the straighter country of the first album, with some slightly edgier arrangements and instrumentation. If After The Fire is what you’d hear in a bar, even the slower songs on The Wanting, like Never Alone Always Lonely, are maybe more aimed at the stadium crowd. It’s still Cody Jinks though, so it’s just as rootsy as you’d imagine.
Kendell Marvel – Solid Gold Sounds
Solid Gold Sounds gets underway with Hard Time With The Truth, a dark, brooding 70’s tinged rocker, but it doesn’t stay there. The follow-up to last year’s Lowdown & Lonesome mixes rock, blues and country on an album full of shifts in tone but all held together with Marvel’s distinctive growling baritone. There’s even a cover of the Bee Gee’s I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You in there, and it doesn’t feel remotely out of place.