Album title: Edens Edge
Label: Big Machine Records
Management: Virginia Davis, B.A.D.
Release date: June 12
Big Machine Label Group president/CEO Scott Borchetta offered Edens Edge a deal after seeing the band perform at the annual Nashville Songwriters Assn. International Awards. Since then, the trio-Hannah Blaylock, Dean Berner and Cherrill Green-has delivered a debut EP and the top 20 Billboard Hot Country Songs single "Amen," which showcased the act's earthy, organic sounds and stellar harmonies. Edens Edge will hit the road this summer with Rascal Flatts, and new single "Too Good to Be True" just arrived.
Album title: Punching Bag
Label: MCA Records
Management: Renee Behrman Greiman, Modern
Release date: June 12
Turner wrote or co-wrote eight tracks on his fifth studio album, "Punching Bag," in a log cabin he built on his College Grove, Tenn., property as a writer's retreat. Led by the single "Time Is Love," the album was produced by Frank Rogers (Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker). The Grand Ole Opry member will preview "Punching Bag" during an hourlong special on HSN (May 25) sponsored by Cricket.
Album title: And So It Goes
Label: Sugar Hill Records
Management: Robert Pratt, Royale Chimes
Release date: June 19
Keith Urban, Alison Krauss and Vince Gill lend their talents to "And So It Goes," the first new release in eight years from Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams. "We weren't looking to reinvent Don, just to make a good, new Don Williams record," says producer Garth Fundis (Trisha Yearwood, Sugarland). The album includes songs written by Kieran Kane, Ronnie Bowman, Al Anderson, Leslie Satcher, Williams' son Tim and Williams himself. "And So It Goes" arrived April 30 in the United Kingdom supported by shows in May, and Williams will tour the United States this summer and fall.
Zac Brown Band
Album title: Uncaged
Label: Southern Ground/Atlantic
Release date: July 10
Since exploding in 2008 with the No. 1 single "Chicken Fried," the Zac Brown Band has become one of country's hottest acts. Label debut "The Foundation" has sold nearly 3 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and 2010 follow-up "You Get What You Give" has sold 1.5 million. "Uncaged represents a musical freedom that comes from not having any pressure on us to create," ZBB fiddler Jimmy DeMartini says. "The only people we have to answer to are our fans and ourselves."
The set features guests like Amos Lee and Trombone Shorty. ZBB's Coy Bowles describes the album as taking "the scenic route through multiple genres," and although it incorporates a variety of musical styles the band's Clay Cook sees it as a more focused effort. "The last couple albums have just been a collection of songs that we had been playing," Cook says. "This is an album."
The group's expansive tour opportunities influenced the direction of "Uncaged," in particular ZBB's European tour with Kings of Leon. "That experience, mixed with Zac's Southern roots," ROAR Management partner Bernie Cahill says, "are woven into this new album." The band remains on the road this summer.
Hank Williams Jr.
Album title: Old School . . . New Rules
Label: Bocephus Records/Blaster Records
Management: Ken Levitan, Vector
Release date: July 10
In ramping up to release his new collection, Hank Williams Jr.'s Bocephus Records partnered with Cleveland-based Blaster Entertainment Group (distributed by Warner), and first single "That Ain't Good" was just released to country radio. "Old School . . . New Rules" features duets with Brad Paisley and Merle Haggard as well as a special tune that unites Bocephus sonically with his legendary father. Williams will support the release this summer with fair and festival dates.
Album title: Declaration of Independence
Label: Average Joe's Entertainment
Management: Shannon Houchins, Average Joe's
Release date: July 31
Former professional golfer Colt Ford has found a successful second act in country music. He launched Average Joe's in 2008 with Shannon Houchins and has built a roster that includes Montgomery Gentry, Corey Smith and Kevin Fowler. As a songwriter, his credits include co-writing the Jason Aldean chart-topper "Dirt Road Anthem." "Declaration of Independence" is Ford's fourth studio album on Average Joe's. Guests on the 15-song collection include Aldean, Boyz II Men, Kix Brooks, Jake Owen and Darius Rucker.