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New Country Album Releases in 2012

A slew of superb country records are scheduled for 2012

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What's in store for country music listeners in 2012? New records from Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, and Faith Hill, for starters. Here are the hot new country albums slated for 2012.

The Little Willies - 'The Good Times' (January 1)

for the good times album cover
Image courtesy of Blue Note Records
Norah Jones lends her smoky vocals to The Little Willies, a band returning with this second collection of country covers. The group take their name from the Redheaded Stranger, but they've also got love for Hank Williams ("Lovesick Blues"), Dolly Parton ("Jolene"), and, yes, Burl Ives ("Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves").

Martina McBride - 'Hits and More' (January 17)

hits and more album cover
Image courtesy of RCA Nashville
Following the 2011 release of Eleven, Martina McBride unleashes this storehouse of her greatest hits and best songs. Unlike 2001's Greatest Hits, this package is culled from the years 1993 to 2009. Hits and More features such top tunes as "My Baby Loves Me" and "Independence Day."

Tim McGraw - 'Emotional Traffic' (January 24)

emotional traffic album cover
Image courtesy of Curb Records

The release of Tim McGraw's eleventh album has been one-upped by the war of words and legal battles between the country singer and his erstwhile label, Curb Records. Songs include "Hey Now," "I Will Not Fall Down," and "Die By My Own Hand." Emotional Traffic indeed!

Kellie Pickler - '100 Proof' (January 24)

album cover 100 proof
Image courtesy of BNA Records

Kellie Pickler's third record is one of the most anticipated albums of the year, with the self-possessed single "Tough" already making an impression on listeners.

Glen Campbell - 'Live in Japan' (January 24)

live in japan album cover
Image courtesy of Capitol Records
Ghost on the Canvas was Glen Campbell's final studio album. But this live album, from a 1975 concert in Tokyo, features the Rhinestone Cowboy in his prime. The track list features "Galveston," "Amazing Grace," and "My Way."

'Waylon - The Music Inside, Volume II' (February 7)

waylon the music inside volume ii
Image courtesy of Scatter Records
The first volume of this Waylon Jennings tribute featured Trace Adkins on "You Ask Me To" and Alabama's take on "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way." Volume Two features Hank Williams Jr. singing "Waymore's Blues" and Colt Ford on "Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line."

Dierks Bentley - 'Home' (February 7)

home album cover
Image courtesy of Capitol Records
"Am I the Only One" and the self-titled "Home" are the lead-off singles from this seventh album from Dierks Bentley. Watch out for appearances by singer Karen Fairchild (Little Big Town) and bluegrass icons Tim O'Brien and Sam Bush.

Darrell Scott 'Long Ride Home' (January 13)

long ride home album cover
Image courtesy of Full Light Records
Rodney Crowell, Guy Clark, and Patty Griffin appear on this new album from Darrell Scott that sports a back-to-basics country sound.

Lyle Lovett - 'Release Me' (February 28)

release me album cover
Image courtesy of Curb Records
Lyle Lovett has been out of action since 2009's Natural Forces, but he's back with Release Me. Is the title directed at Curb Records, for whom this is Lovett's last record? Given the hodgepodge nature of the album (covers, Christmas songs, originals), I wouldn't be surprised.

Craig Morgan - 'This Ole Boy (February 28)

this ole boy album cover
Image courtesy of Black River Music Group
Craig Morgan releases his sixth studio album featuring the songs "More Trucks Than Cars" and the hard-to-believe "I Didn't Drink"
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