2017 Spring/Summer Country Preview: 25 Anticipated Albums, Festivals

From new releases by Angaleena Presley and Jason Isbell to annual blowouts like Stagecoach and CMA Music Festival

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Jason Isbell
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Jason Isbell

Album: The Nashville Sound
Release Date: June 16th 
The Nashville Sound has been billed as Jason Isbell's big "rock album." Real talk: it isn't. "Cumberland Gap" may be his finest, fiercest guitar-charged anthem since "Go It Alone," but the album packs a bigger punch during its mid-tempo moments, where Isbell examines everything from self-identity ("Last of My Kind") to the mortality of marriage ("If We Were Vampires"). Fatherhood, white privilege and breakups all make appearances, too, as does his trusty band the 400 Unit, whose members receive top billing for the first time since 2011's Here We Rest. With Dave Cobb back in the producer's chair, this is still the Jason Isbell we all know and love: not a rocker, not a folksinger, not an Americana balladeer, but a mix of all three. R.C.

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