15 Newish Country Music Albums You Can’t Miss Out On

Cody Jinks country music
Tyler Stubblefield

There’s so much great music coming out these days that it can be hard to keep up with it all.

A welcomed predicament, the sheer amount of country and country-adjacent music being released into the world is difficult to digest as a listener in the first place, and it’s difficult too as a writer to cover all of the new music that deserves to be heard.

While we do our best here at Whiskey Riff to cover both the popular artists in the genre, and for me, even more so the underrepresented artists that tie the genre together, there is some amazing music that inevitably slips through the cracks at times.

With that being said, in an effort to retroactively draw attention to some of the best music released over the past six months or so, here are 15 albums that didn’t get covered in their entirety upon its release, but are well worth the listen.

Brit Taylor – Kentucky Bluegrassed

The follow up to East Kentucky songstress Brit Taylor’s Sturgill Simpson-produced 2023 record Kentucky Blue, this aptly titled Kentucky Bluegrassed record puts a string-fueled bluegrass spin on several existing songs from the album, and includes a few brand new tracks like “Saint Anthony” that tie it all together. A powerhouse of a vocalist who knows how to write a country song, too, Taylor is a name that needs to be on everyone’s radar moving forward.

Song Pick: “Saint Anthony”

“Saint Anthony, won’t you please hear my prayer

My baby tied on whiskey wings and flew off to God knows where
Saint Anthony, Saint of the lost and found
If you can just find him and get him on home
By God I’ll do the straightening out”

Cody Jinks – Changed the Game

Cody Jinks is the king of outlaw country music. He’s held the throne for a while, and with the release of his ninth studio album Changed the Game, he’s proved that he has no intention of giving up that title any time soon.

Song Pick: “A Few More Ghosts”

“Fire don’t freeze, nightmares ain’t dreams, memories turn to rust
I feel the breeze and the fire that it feeds, it’s never cold enough
Three AM, I wake up screaming
Pleading for something I never believed in
There ain’t no room in here for no more demons
And the bad ones always haunts me the most
Oh, I could use a few more ghosts”

Daniel Donato – Reflector

A true native of Nashville, TN, Donato grew up fully immersed in music, and has long been considered a virtuosic guitar talent, honing his sound through years of heavy touring and going all in on his self-described style of jam heavy country music called “cosmic country.”

A fitting adjective, ‘cosmic’ can be defined as inconceivably vast, and that’s as accurate an adjective for his music as you’ll find. With so much talent and the ever-evolving improvisation, Donato is transcending sonic frequencies in an unprecedented manner. But you really need to see him live to truly understand the hype.

Song Pick: “Gotta Get Southbound”

“Around here nothing changes
Same fear, same old faces
Staring right through, missing the truth
When you lose your way
You gotta get southbound again”

Holler Choir – Songs Before They Write Themselves

With the release of their debut record Songs Before They Write Themselves in January, Asheville, NC based bluegrass/Americana group Holler Choir has made quite the first impression. Make sure to be on the lookout for Holler Choir moving forward, something tells me they’re going to have a big 2024 once people get a chance to hear this record.

Song Pick: “Hamlet Blues”

“I was bound to disappoint you
Well we both knew that anyway
It’s what we get playing by their rules
Well, and living like there was no yesterday”

Jordan Lee King – By and By

While in the company of some incredibly strong competitors on this list, King’s latest record By and By may contain the best lyricism of them all, and that’s saying something. Hailing from Middlesboro, KY, King could very well be the next Eastern Kentucky artist to gain traction in the music scene, and rightfully so, with his impressive songwriting and uncanny knack to tap into the listener’s emotions.

Song Pick: “Cars and Refrigerators”

“Brother pops pills like his back is broke
‘Cause he likes getting high but can’t legally smoke
Worry and fear run through mama’s head
Like if he ends up in prison, or someone finds him dead
Now I ain’t saying it’s fine to snort your life away
But to say he’s addicted by choice a bold thing to say
How strong can something be to make you steal from your kin
Well that’s a hellish vice I hope no one’s ever caught in”

Jordan Nix – Dirge

They know how to write some songs down there in East Texas too, and Jordan Nix is already a prominent figure in the next generation of Lone Star songwriters ready to take country music my storm. The proof is in each and every song on his latest album Dirge, so make sure you do the right thing and dive on in.

Song Pick: “Blue Birds”

“There’s a four leaf clover coming through the cracks
Ain’t a thing in the world gonna hold it back
Poking through the concrete in the nick of time
Says everything is gonna be fine, fine, fine”

Keller Cox – Good Again, Amen

Another Texan cracking the list, Cox has been making waves as a songwriter in Nashville, too, and he’s got the right people in his corner to take this thing to the next level. Listen to his latest album good Again, Amen and if you take nothing else away from this write-up, remember the name Keller Cox. You’ll be glad you did when he hits the big time.

Song Pick: “Thursday Blues”

‘Cause when the sunrise hits I’ll be on my way
You know I wish could, but baby I can’t stay
Though you’re in my arms, I’m already missing you
I’ve got the Sunday blues on a Thursday afternoon
And I can see that scene, and honey I can’t wait
We’ll have the same front door, same last name
But until that day, I’ll be missing you
I’ll have the Sunday blues”

Kitchen Dwellers – Seven Devils

One of bluegrass’ most underrated acts, the Bozeman, MT based jamgrass outfit Kitchen Dwellers’ latest album Seven Devils is an astounding concept record that takes listeners on a thought-provoking, sonic journey inspired by Dante’s Inferno. With contemplatively allegorical lyricsm and an awesome sound, there is something for everyone in this album.

Song Pick: “The Crow and the Raven (III)”

“You can’t steal a heart if you know you never found it
Lord, at least I admit I tired
Please forgive me for mu trespass for I knew she could sing my death
Leave me by the road in the lonesome fields of rye
Noticed something changing in the corner of her eye
And now I’m back beneath the circle of the blackbirds in the sky”

Kolton Moore & the Clever Few – Kolton Moore & the Clever Few

Kolton Moore & the Clever Few were a staple on the Texas scene between 2012 and 2016, amassing a massive, young following with their electric live shows and the spectacular music throughout the two full length albums and two EPs released during that timespan.

Stepping away from the spotlight afterwards, lead singer Kolton Moore started a family and came back more inspired than ever with the band’s recent self-titled record. Considering the fourth record in their catalog is the one they decided to tag with the band’s name, there must be something special about it, and that’s obvious as soona s the first note hits.

Song Pick: “My Heart You’ll Tend”

“And now look around, I wouldn’t change a thing
I’d have still acted a fool that night, I’d still buy you that expensive ring
On that day in late October, I’d always say ‘I do’
Well the sun goes down and the moon will rise
And no matter what I’ll be loving you”

Matt Koziol – Last of the Old Dogs

Hailing from New Jersey but a longtime resident of Nashville, Koziol has been a steady presence in the Music City, releasing underrated original music consistently throughout the past decade. Paying his dues as a songwriter and touring musician, Koziol has put in plenty of time honing his craft over the years, and it seems like this could finally be the year his music takes off and reaches the masses. With his brand new album Last of the old Dogs, he’s already turning heads like never before.

Song Pick: “Last of the Old Dogs”

“So come on and sit with me a little while
I’ll put another log on the fire
‘Cause one of these days I know we won’t get to
So how about tonight it’s just me and you?
What am I gonna do when you’re gone?
You’re the last of the old dogs”

Secret Formula Band – Roll Them Dice

You may not have heard of Secret Formula Band yet, but that won’t matter after giving this album a listen. Leading up to the release of their debut album Roll Them Dice, the five-piece outfit created a buzz within the budding Charlotte, NC music scene that is well worth taking note of.

With music that serves as an amalgamation of eclectic influences that run the gamut of country, rock, and blues, Secret Formula Band brings forth a unique southern rock sound that will scratch the itch of any fan looking to latch on to an up and coming act.

Song Pick: “Cajun Queen”

“Met a girl down in New Orleans,
She was fourth in line to be the Cajun queen

Poor boy just ain’t her type, you could tell from how she looked in the neon light
Couldn’t tell you if she was a dream or if I was seeing things from the bottle of Beam…”

Taylor McCall – Mellow War

Inspired by his late grandfather, a Vietnam veteran, Greenville, SC native Taylor McCall’s sophomore album Mellow War is some of his best work yet. Drawing additional inspiration from the forebearers of rock and roll tinged country music and the natural world surrounding him as an avid outdoorsman, McCall’s takes on the every day matters they plague humanity prove wise beyond his years.

Song Pick: “Angel Falling Down”

“Tell me I’m your one, or tell me I’m dreamin’
We don’t have to hurt no one,Lord, just to take off all your reasons
There were many times I was blind, many times I held bitter feelings
I tried to take you one piece at a time, Lord knows you never believed in”

The Wilder Blue – Super Natural

The brainchild of Paul Eason and Zane Williams, a bonafide Texas Trouabdour who released eight well-received albums in his previouis career as a solo artist, The Wilder Blue is a band that needs to be on everyone’s radar as they bring a fresh take on a classic country music sound and sure aren’t afraid to rock and roll when the moment allows.

Song Pick: “Bless My Bones”

“Troopers never looked up when we went speeding by
By the time the sun came up, we were feeling mighty fine
We gave a whoop and hollered when we crossed the Texas line
The show was going down in a place called Cook’s Garage
Finally up ahead, I saw the sign like a mirage
Pulled up to the entrance, and a fellow said, ‘who are you?’
I said, ‘well I’m Zane Williams and we’re The Wilder Blue…’

Victoria Bailey – A Cowgirl Rides On

Victoria Bailey may hail from the Southern California city of Huntington beach, but the influence of the Bakersfield sound that originated 150 miles or so north of there and the lore of the old American West are present in each of her deftly penned songs. With eight impressive tracks, her sophomore record A Cowgirl Rides On is an oasis of classic country and western music that holds on to the roots of an ever evolving genre. Timeless and true, Bailey’s latest album is a must-listen for anyone who considers themselves a country music fan.

Song Pick: “Snake Trails”

“As the sun sinks slowly, it paints a golden hue
I’m holding on to the good times, good folks that I knew
The only favor I would ask before I’m called away
Is let me be a cowgirl again for just one day”

Willi Carlisle – Critterland

There aren’t too many true folk artists these days, but Willi Carlisle fits the bill. This is obvious throughout his whole catalog, but especially in his latest project Critterland, a masterful exhibit of lyricism that in Carlisle’s on own words via Instagram “is a love letter to dreams and failures, for friends and lovers lost.”

Song Pick: “The Great Depression”

“They all wandered o’er the salty seas, the prairies wide and more
Just to make a foolish man like me that’s darkening your door
If the Great Depression made us, there is no need to despair
I won’t waste a single moment of the work that brought us here”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock