Most Anticipated Albums of 2012

We here at Keepin’ It Country can’t wait for another year of killer country music. In preparation we’ve prepared our “Most Anticipated Albums of 2012.” Take a look to see what’s coming up in the year ahead, then sound off in the comments to let us know what you’re most looking forward to.

10. Casey James

He’s not the only American Idol alum on the list, but comes in at number ten. Casey James has made a name for himself as a true musician with great stage presence and killer guitar abilities, as anyone who saw him opening for Sugarland this past summer can attest. Shortly after Idol James sighed with Sony Music Nashville and dropped his first single, “Let’s Don’t Call It a Night,” this past August. Look for a full album from James in 2012!

9. Martina McBride

Fans of Tim McGraw aren’t the only ones counting down until January 17. Martina McBride fans also have something to look forward to in the form of a greatest hits collection being released through her former label, RCA Records. The release is sure to be a must have for anyone who wants all her hits all in one place. The tracklisting features 20 songs from her very first hits up through more current favorites.

Check out the rest after the jump!

8. Kellie Pickler

The second American Idol alum on our list, Kellie Pickler, is known as much for her humorous antics as she is her songs. But for her upcoming record, 100 Proof, Pickler stepped up her game and hired frequent Miranda Lambert producer Frank Liddell. Fans can check out the new tunes when 100 Proof drops on January 24.

7. Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker raised many eyebrows when he entered the country scene. The veteran lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, he was one of several “pop crossovers” at the time. But, he’s made great music and captured the hearts of fans and industry folk alike. This year, he’ll be back with his third country music release. A single is planned for February.

6. Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley is staying busy! Despite just releasing an album in mid-2010, he’s back at it with the upcoming Home due out in the early part of the year. The first single, “Am I the Only One,” reached number one on the Billboard Country singles chart. If that’s any indication, fans are chopping at the bit for new music from Bentley.

5. Rascal Flatts

The hitmaking country trio is back with a new album this April, their first studio release since 2009’s Unstoppable. The band is now signed with Big Machine Records after ten years at Disney’s Lyric Street Records which folded. With their new label, the band is approaching their new album a bit differently, reportedly producing some of the tracks themselves.

4. Carrie Underwood

The American Idol alum is the best-selling Idol of all time and her lifetime sales figure should soar even more with the anticipated release of her new album. Little is known about the release thus far, but Underwood is said to have finished recording before the holidays, so hopefully fans will have some new ear candy soon!

3. Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw’s upcoming album, Emotional Traffic, out January 17, has certainly gotten a lot of attention, but maybe not the kind that McGraw (or Curb Records) is excited about. The release will be his last on Curb, after a long and sometimes very public legal battle. Despite this focus, fans are sure to turn out in droves for new music from the superstar, who hasn’t released a studio album since 2009.

2. Faith Hill

The “Breathe” songstress is back! After an extended break (this is her first non-holiday/non-compilation album since 2005) Hill is ready to reclaim her crown as the Queen of Country. Her first single, a cover of the OneRepublic song “Come Home,” premiered during this year’s CMA Awards and it just the first taste of of what’s to come for Hill in 2012.

1. Taylor Swift

It’s easy to see why Taylor Swift lands at the top of our most-anticipated list. Her last record, Speak Now, sold an astonishing 1.1 million records during its first week and her headlining tour of the same name was the top selling country tour of the past year. With 3 Grammy nominations, she’s also a critical darling and something of a songwriting savant. Little is known about her next record. Swift has indicated that the songs she’s writing are “sad” and that she wants to push the musical envelop, but whatever she does, it seems unlikely that fans won’t be lining up on release day.

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Elise Stawarz

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