1. Chris Knight
Well yeah. Chris tours like crazy, but there have been no new tunes from his camp since 2012's Little Victories.
5 years is way too long a meantime to wait for songs from one of the best modern troubadours on the planet.
The writer of favorites like "Down the River" and "Enough Rope" has found his writing pen a little low on ink in recent years, according to statements to Juli Thanki a year or so ago.
Here's hoping the muse has been a little more giving recently.
Since trimming the horn section from their road show, the alt-country favorites have gone quiet… at least on the recorded music front. They're still touring, though a bit less than their road warrior days. I heard they were in the studio early last year, but whatever they cut is still in the can. Hopefully, with their 20th year in existence
coming in 2018, they'll grace us with another classic. It looks like their tour dates pick up a
good deal in February, so maybe that's a good sign.
3. Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen, whose debut album Failer, is one of my favorite alt-country albums ever, last released a full album with 2012's Voyageur. In the years since, she's taken a sabbatical from music to run a cupcake shop or something or other, but she's played some shows this year. Anyway, I'm not sure what's up, but I want her back. She's a witty, passionate writer with an unmistakable voice. She's also adept at music with a purpose - songs with political and social messages that tear at the seams of injustice without yelling at anybody. Perfect for 2018, huh?
4. Dirty River Boys
Just about the time I discovered these guys for myself, they ceased putting music out there for me to hear. What gives? Their sound bizarrely combines Americana, punk, red dirt, and skate rock and somehow works perfectly. 2014's self-titled record is the last we heard from them. C'mon back fellas.
5. Adam Faucett
Adam landed in our top 5 with his last release, Blind Water Finds Blind Water. The keening Arkansas songwriter has toured, but there hasn't been a peep from the studio since 2014. The dark songs and that clear, haunting croon with the even more haunting falsetto are needed right now in my ears. I'll throw in on a Kickstarter.
6. Kelsey Waldon
Yeah, it was just 2016 when Kelsey last graced us with her songs, but what can I say? I'm greedy. Oh, and she should keep her name out there. There's a growing swell of awesome female country artists and songwriters and I just know the success of folks like Kelsey, Caroline Spence, Lillie Mae and others is inspiring a whole new generation of women to take up the guitar and tell us their stories. The more the merrier.
7. The Gaslight Anthem
Nothing since 2014's Get Hurt. Lead singer Brian Fallon has been doing the solo thing and it's fine and all, but I want the band back together, pumping out sad Springsteen-esque rock for my listening enjoyment in 2018.
8. Jack White
He's a busy man, running a record label, producing stuff, pulling recording stunts, and playing with other artists, but it's time man. Lazaretto in 2014 was the last release of a 'proper' Jack White album. If 2018 is Jack-White-album-free, he'll be sorry… when I complain a bunch about it online.
I don't know why I love this ridiculous costumed occult bunch so much, but I do. It hasn't been all that long since they put out new music, but now that I'm hooked, I need it with swiftness. Though categorized as metal, their 70s style rock is more akin to Queen (in theatricality, not sound) than Slayer. It's absurd, tuneful, surprisingly accessible given the subject matter, and highly addictive. They almost broke through (as much as a rock act can nowadays) to the mainstream with their hit "Square Hammer" last year, so it's time to strike while the iron is hot.
10. High on Fire
Give me my sludge metal now! I just read that they are writing a new album right now, so perhaps I should give this slot to another artist, but no. Hurry up with it, guys. I need my fix of down-tuned guitars and strangely melodic screaming right away.
Honorable Mentions: Northcote, Pistol Annies, Run the Jewels,
Baroness, Julie Roberts, Danny Brown, Car Seat Headrest.
Cody Jinks is in the studio now, so don't say he's missing from this list...
*or else nothing