Apart from some initial delays and postponements, 2020 ended up feeling like any other year in the music calendar, albums wise anyway.
What we don’t know is how 2021 will play out. So far we have some releases scheduled but nowhere near as many big names as in previous years. You wonder if delaying until 2022 makes more sense for most especially in alternative, roots and Americana music which relies so much on touring to promote a record. At the same time independent artists may fear losing career momentum if they don’t release a record at all.
All we can do to counter some of these issues is to support the artists who do decide to release new music by buying their albums, merchandise and spreading the word to others.
So here are a selection of new albums I’m really excited to hear in 2021!
1.Pearl Charles – Magic Mirror (January 15th)
January is one cold, dull and depressing month so thank god we have an album of Californian sunshine and sparkle coming from the adorable Pearl Charles. Think Linda Ronstadt meets ABBA and you’re there.
2.Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno (March 13th)
Vivian Leva’s last album ‘Time is Everything’ was full of beautiful roots ballads which showcased a quietly blossoming talent. Her collaborator on that album Riley Calcagno gets full billing here on this new self-titled duo record due out March. From the first few songs released we can expect another set of stunning heartbreakers.
3.Senora May – All of My Love (February 14th)
In January last year I was lucky enough to see the lovely Senora May play live at Celtic Connections and I’m pleased to say she is preparing to release her new solo album ‘All of My Love’ next month. From the gorgeous previews I’ve heard this one is going to be a real treat.
4.Julien Baker – Little Oblivions (February 26th)
After the success of the boygenius project it will be interesting to see where Julien Baker takes her new solo album Little Oblivions. The lead single Faith Healer suggests she’s bringing a more lush and melodic side to her emo-serious sound.
5.Loretta Lynn – Still Woman Enough (March 19th)
A few years back, before her stroke, Loretta recorded over a hundred songs, old and new, at the Cash cabin with her daughter Patsy and John Carter Cash as producers. Two excellent previous albums have been released from these sessions, and now the third ‘Still Woman Enough’ is slated for release. The album features guest appearances from Tanya Tucker, Margo Price and Reba McEntire.
Others artists with album/ EP release dates confirmed include The Staves, Darci Phenix, Arlo Parks, Sun June, Jane Weaver, The Weather Station, Katy Kirby, Ani DiFranco, Tiffany Williams and Sarah Klang.
In terms of releases we know about without confirmation dates the two big ones are Lana Del Rey’s ‘Chemtrails Over the Country Club’ which is rumoured to feature a collaboration with the original highway queen herself Nikki Lane (who also owes us a new album). Also on the way is a new one from St Vincent which she has described as having a more seventies, Taxi Driver inspired sound.
Other artists who have dropped hints about new albums or have been mentioned possible recording sessions include Amythyst Kiah, Valerie June, Hurray for the Riff Raff and Amanda Shires. I am still waiting on that Natalie Hemby album she promised us last year, and Ashley Monroe has definitely been in the studio so I’m optimistic about something from her being announced soon.
Who knows what other treats may be in store but we are going to need music more than ever to get through another year of this pandemic. Let me know if you are aware of any further new releases or what you are hopeful for!