This has been a strange year to release a new record in, but that hasn’t stopped folks from releasing some great albums. Here is a list of my Top 20 Albums of 2020 So Far. I know I could have included more artists here, but I am working on a Top 50 list that will be published at the end of the year. I have included links to previous coverage of albums when we have it. Check these records out and support these bands while they cannot tour for their new records by buying merch or tipping during a livestream.
1. Kyle Nix – Lightning On The Mountain And Other Short Stories
We are big fans of Aubrie Sellers here at Gary Hayes Country. Her first album New City Blues introduced us to her low fi grungy brand of garage country and we’re looking forward to hearing more. I particularly dig “Drag You Down” from the pre-release singles.
Feb. 15: Billy Don Burns, The Country Blues
There is a new Billy Don Burns album out this month. While there is no pre-release single out yet, you can expect this album to be as real as it gets. A new Billy Don Burns album is always on our most anticipated albums list. This album includes some updated versions of some classic Billy Don Burns tunes such as “Runnin’ Drugs Out Of Mexico”, “Wild Dogs” and “Stranger”. “Wild Dogs” was recently covered by Colter Wall and “Stranger” was recently covered by Cody Jinks. Since there is no pre-release track from this ablum, I will include a link to hear the original version of “Runnin’ Drugs Out Of Mexico” from the Heroes, Friends and Other Troubled Souls album.
March 6: Brandy Clark, Your Life Is a Record
Brandy Clark is quickly becoming one of the top female country artists you should know. Her new album Your Life Is A Record promises more somber moments as indicated in pre-release tracks “Who You Thought I Was” and “I’ll Be The Sad Song”.
March 6: The Panhandlers, The Panhandlers
I think most of our Texas Red Dirt fans probably already have March 6th circled on their calendars. That is the release date for the new super-group The Panhandler’s debut self titled album. If you don’t know, this group features the likes of William Clark Green, Cleto Cordero, Josh Abbott and John Baumann. Check out the track “No Handle” for a preview.
March 27: Lilly Hiatt, Walking Proof
Lilly Hiatt’s 2017 album Trinity Lane was one of our favorites that year and her new record Walking Proof is probably going to continue that streak. Pre-release tracks “P-Town” and “Brightest Star” showcase a rock forward country sound.
April 3: Ashley McBryde, Never Will
This is a big one. If “A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega” did big things for Ashley McBryde, “One Night Standards” and the trilogy of songs that it begins has been even bigger. I’m particularly a fan of the rocking murder ballad “Martha Divine” which is the middle part of that trilogy. This is one of our most anticipated albums of 2020.
April 3: Caleb Caudle, Better Hurry Up
Caleb Caudle is back with a follow up to his 2018 album Crushed Coins. This record was recorded with a bit of the soul of Johnny Cash at the Cash Cabin. The title track is out now and I’m really digging the sound he’s taking on with this one.
April 10: John Anderson, Years
One of the biggest surprises early this year was a new single from John Anderson. Years is an entirely new release produced by mega producer Dan Auerbach. Auerbach was already responsible for one of our favorite 2020 albums with Marcus King’s El Dorado. Some are comparing this record to Johnny Cash’s American Recordings albums and it could be a similar career revival for John Anderson. Check out the title track everywhere now.
April 18: Whey Jennings, Gypsy Soul
Whey Jennings has a new record coming out this year called Gypsy Soul. You might have heard of Waylon’s grandson as a touring act performing mostly cover songs and a few originals. As far as I can tell, this is his first recorded LP and I’m looking forward to hearing the entire record. The title track “Gypsy Soul” is out now and you can get a copy of the album at it’s album release show on April 18th at The Nashville Palace which is one of Whey’s favorite venues to play.
April 24: Whitney Rose, We Still Go To Rodeos
Finally, Whitney Rose has announced the follow up to her amazing 2017 album Rule 62. This one is titled We Still Go To Rodeos and you can hear the single “Believe Me, Angela” now. It’s not a typical cheating song in that it’s more about compassion than revenge. This has me looking forward to hearing the entire album in April.