If the albums scheduled for release over the next few months are any indication, there’s a great year of music ahead of us. Here are just a few forthcoming long-players that we are eagerly anticipating in 2018.
Hansard has the unique ability to combine soothing soulfulness with intense emotion. Expect his latest to build on this reputation.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Afie Jurvanen returns with another easy-flowing collection of jams. The band sound continues to evolve – in this case showcasing some fine 1970’s R&B grooves – without letting go of the vocal harmonies that make every Bahamas album endearing.
Missouri’s Ben Miller Band expand their sound without losing any of their backwoods sensibility. Their latest may be anchored in their mountain country sound, but stretches out into rough-hewn blues and rock.
Will Johnson (Centro-Matic) and Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster (Water Liars) draw inspiration for their new collaboration from a diverse lineage of indie rockers and a visit to famed Sam Phillips Studio in Memphis. The resulting debut has a welcome rawness as it veers from delicate ballads to raucous rockers. For those wondering, the band name comes from two towns in rural Arkansas.
The Portland folk-rockers celebrate their 10th anniversary with an eclectic ode to break-ups that meanders musically from fuzzy rockers to percussive ballads.
Nashville by way of Australia singer-songwriter Ruby Boots serves up an album that leans more towards midwestern rock than Nashville country. This might not be a surprise when one learns that the album was recorded in Dallas with the Texas Gentlemen. Of course it also makes a statement that Ruby Boots is clearly a rocker at heart.
The voice. The songs. The emotion. Yup, it’s just Brandi Carlile continuing to astound with each new release.
What started as an impromptu collaboration has evolved into a powerhouse trio. Individually, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan are among contemporary folk’s leading lights. Together, their harmonies and musicianship – not to mention their songwriting – create a magical musical experience.
The North Carolina-based Caudle’s last album was a more traditional country affair. He shifts to broader Americana-oriented territory on his latest, stretching from acoustic folk to more pop-oriented fare. The one constant — from song to song here and throughout his career — is a tremendous melodic touch that makes his music warm and engaging.
I’ll admit that I had to look up widdershins to learn that it means it: counter-clockwise or a direction opposite to the usual. Phillips forthcoming release is in some ways a return to his Grant Lee Buffalo roots – stripped down but electrified as it reflects on life in anxious times.
Sure, her forthcoming album features Delbert McClinton, Charlie Musselwhite and Cedric Burnside, to name just a few. When Magness unleashes her voice, however, there is little doubt that this is the Janiva show.
The Low Anthem stay true to themselves with their forthcoming release, marrying brooding arrangements with entrancing melodies.
Boston’s Buffalo Tom return with their first album in seven (!) years. Despite the album’s title, the band has never been all that quiet and peaceful. One shouldn’t expect anything different this time around.
Georgia firebrand Malone is back with another collection of Southern rock, fueled by her feisty attitude and tremendous guitar pickin’.
Acoustic folk and blues legend Smither is poised to unleash a new batch of songs that will undoubtedly become a cherished part of the American music canon.
Get ready for another blast of rapturous and, well, sweaty blast of R&B from Rateliff and crew.
If you fancy some truck drivin’, honky-tonkin’ outlaw country, Sam Morrow’s got you covered.
McDermott has been on a creative tear over the past several years. He is a masterful storyteller whose songs are emotionally gripping, both lyrically and musically. His 2016 release Willow Springs topped my list of favorite albums for that year; he’ll undoubtedly be in the running to reclaim the title this year.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.