12:25 AM CDT, September 16, 2011
Here come the would-be blockbusters. The music industry inevitably rolls out new releases by its biggest artists in the fall, just in time for holiday gift-giving. This year is no exception, with studio albums expected from Drake and Mary J. Blige; a host of reissued and archival material by revered rock acts such as U2 and Nirvana; and new long-form downloads (or discs) from both the first “American Idol” winner and the most recent. Here’s a rundown of what’s in store:
LeAnn Rimes, “Lady and Gentlemen” (Sept. 27): The singer puts a feminine spin on country classics previously recorded by male vocalists, including tunes associated with Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and George Jones.
Rodney Atkins, “Take a Long Road” (Oct. 4): Atkins prefers baseball caps to country Stetsons and he’s usually good for a handful of hits with a small-town flavor on each album.
Scotty McCreery, “Clear as Day” (Oct. 4): The youngest male winner in “American Idol” history, the 17-year-old makes his country-tinged debut.
Hank Williams Sr., “The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams” (Oct. 4): Contemporary artists ranging from Alan Jackson to Norah Jones create new songs out of some of the country legend’s unused lyrics.
Martina McBride, “Eleven” (Oct. 11): One of Nashville's most durable voices will release 11 tracks on her 11th studio on Oct. 11. Could it be called anything else?
Toby Keith, “Clancy’s Tavern” (Oct. 24): The latest from the former Oklahoma oil-field worker and author of the flag-waving, boot-stomping anthem "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)" in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Miranda Lambert, “Four the Record” (Nov. 1): One of mainstream country’s “bad girls” aims to keep her string of platinum-plus albums intact.
Van Hunt, “What Were You Hoping For?” (Sept. 27): After a lengthy hiatus, enforced in part by record-company problems, the gifted songwriter releases his first album since “On the Jungle Floor” in 2006.
The Knux, “Eraser” (Sept. 27): Kentrell "Krispy" Lindsey and Alvin "Joey" Lindsey, the duo behind the hit "Cappucino," update their scruffy boho-rap-rock hybrid.
DJ Shadow, “The Less You Know, The Better” (Oct. 4): Josh Davis has taken the art of sampling and pastiche composition to new heights in the last two decades, plotting each album with careful consideration; this is his first since 2006.
Drake, “Take Care” (Oct. 24): The follow-up to Aubrey Drake Graham’s best-selling 2010 release, “Thank Me Later.”
Mary J. Blige, “My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act I)” (November): The singer’s 10th studio album is being billed as a sequel to her classic 1994 merger of hip-hop and soul, “My Life.”
Tori Amos, “Night of Hunters” (Sept. 20): The singer-pianist dives into classical music with this song cycle about a woman’s transformation.
Tony Bennett, “Duets II” (Sept. 20): The follow-up to the crooner’s multimillion-selling 2006 release, “Duets,” with his singing partners including Lady Gaga, Aretha Franklin and the late Amy Winehouse.
Feist, “Metals” (Oct. 4): Leslie Feist made her reputation with quiet, melancholy tunes, but promises a makeover to better showcase other facets of her songwriting and guitar-playing on her first album in four years.
Susan Boyle, “Someone to Watch Over Me” (Nov. 1): After selling 14 million albums in little over a year, the ballad singer who burst into fame during the 2009 “Britain’s Got Talent” season returns with her third album.
Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger” (Oct. 25): The original “American Idol” tries to revive a career that started strong but has slowed in recent years.
Pearl Jam, “Pearl Jam 20” (Sept. 20): Soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s forthcoming documentary on the band’s 20th anniversary, loaded with rarities spanning the decades.
Superheavy, “Superheavy” (Sept. 20): Mick Jagger moonlights from the Rolling Stones with Eurythmics founder Dave Stewart, R&B singer Joss Stone, “Slumdog Millionaire” composer A.R. Rahman and reggae star Damian Marley.
Wilco, “The Whole Love” (Sept. 27): With its current lineup intact for three consecutive albums – a lifetime by Wilco’s once-volatile standards – the band creates a stylistically diverse collection of songs to debut its new label, dBpm Records.
Tom Waits, “Bad as Me” (Oct. 4): The singer’s first album of new material in seven years, once again with his wife, Kathleen Brennan, as coproducer.
Bjork, “Biophilia” (Oct. 11): Iceland’s grandest contribution to pop eccentricity tells the story of the universe’s creation in song, with accompanying iPad apps.
Coldplay, “Mylo Xyloto” (Oct. 24): The British band resumes its collaboration with producer Brian Eno on its fifth studio album, and includes a guest vocal by Rihanna on the track “Princess of China.”
Nirvana, “Nevermind (Super Deluxe)” (Oct. 25): The cannon shot from the Seattle trio that opened the alternative-rock era is retooled with bonus tracks and a DVD.
Lou Reed and Metallica, “Lulu” (Nov. 1): The season’s unlikeliest collaboration matches the godfather of punk with the thrash metal pioneers, with production by Reed’s confidante Hal Wilner. One track clocks in at more than 19 minutes, and two are 11 minutes long.
U2, “Achtung Baby (Super Deluxe Edition)” (Nov. 1): The Irish quartet reissue one of their most revered albums on its 20th anniversary with all the trimmings.
Beach Boys, “The Smile Sessions Box” (Nov. 1): The great, lost Beach Boys album from the ‘60s is finally unearthed with copious documentation.
The Who, “Quadrophenia: The Director's Cut” (Nov. 15): Pete Townshend’s second major rock opera makes a lavish reappearance.
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