Country's Mega-Groups to Watch This Fall, From The Highwomen to Zac Brown Band

Alysse Gafkjen
The Highwomen

Nashville is chock-full of solo superstars these days, but many of the fall’s most exciting releases -- from a fearless foursome of women to an internationally flavored boy band -- show there’s strength in numbers.

Who: The Highwomen
What's Coming: The Highwomen (Low Country Sound/Elektra Records), Sept. 6
The Lowdown: A movement as much as a supergroup, Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires are standing up to gender inequity in country.
What To Expect: Stunning harmonies, smart women-first songwriting and also refreshing queer love songs like “If She Ever Leaves Me.”

Who: King Calaway
What's Coming: Rivers (Stoney Creek Records/BBR Music Group), Oct. 4
The Lowdown: Assembled by music executives who scouted the globe, the sextet (from the United States, Scotland and Gibraltar) all play instruments and sublimely sing together.
What To Expect: An "Eagles-meets-One Direction" sound and tunes crafted by the likes of Josh Osborne and Laura Veltz, plus a cover of “Love the One You’re With.”

Who: Lady Antebellum
What's Coming: As-yet-untitled album (BMLG Records), fall TBD
The Lowdown: The seven-time Grammy winners known for stirring vocals start a new chapter with BMLG Records after over a decade (and nine No. 1s) on Capitol Nashville.
What To Expect: If first single “What If I Never Get Over You” is any indication? A return to “Need You Now”-era duets between singers Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott.

Who: Old Dominion
What's Coming: Old Dominion (RCA Records Nashville), Oct. 25
The Lowdown: The reigning Country Music Association group of the year has gone from writing for stars like Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton to headlining its own arena tours.
What To Expect: The quintet co-produces for the first time, working with longtime collaborator Shane McAnally on its clever, compelling songs.

Who: Zac Brown Band
What's Coming: The Owl (BMG), Sept. 20
The Lowdown: After a robust round of touring, including two Fenway Park dates in Boston -- and in the wake of Brown’s divorce -- the Southern-rocking collective returns.
What To Expect: It’s already known for genre-busting, but collaborations with Benny Blanco, Skrillex and Ryan Tedder hint this could be the group’s most expansive set yet.

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 24 issue of Billboard.


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