New This Week: Niall Horan, Darius Rucker, Willie Nelson, and more

Wendy Geller
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Searching for something to listen to this weekend? Yahoo Music has you covered with a rundown of some of this week’s biggest and buzzing releases, including Niall Horan, Darius Rucker, Willie Nelson, and more. Check back every Friday for a fresh list of albums to help fuel your weekend playlists.

Niall Horan: Flicker (Capitol). Each of the One Direction boys has gone his own sonic pathway, with Horan’s being probably the most divergent of the bunch. His “direction” is folky, delicate, romantic; it stands out ironically for its subtle approach, and as a result he is likely the 1D member who will most be able to age gracefully in his musical career for years to come.

Darius Rucker: When Was the Last Time (Capitol Nashville). The guy casual rock fans once called “Hootie” has long since evolved into a legitimate country star. Don’t expect him to go back down the Blowfish route any time soon, as he recently told Rolling Stone, “I set out to make country records; I don’t want to make pop records.”

Willie, Micah, & Lukas Nelson: Willie and the Boys: Willie’s Stash Vol. 2 (Legacy Recordings). Nelson is joined by his two youngest children on this album, the majority of which was recorded six years ago. The family puts its talents to covers of country music standards and classics, including a whopping seven by Hank Williams Sr.

Various artists: Tegan and Sara Present The Con X: Covers (Warner). On this innovative release, a variety of artists — including Ryan Adams, Hayley Williams, CHVRCHES, Sara Bareilles, City and Colour, and PVRIS — cover songs off Tegan and Sara’s The Con to mark their debut album’s 10th anniversary. All net proceeds go to the Tegan and Sara Foundation to benefit LGBTQ girls and women.

Boyz II Men: Under the Streetlight (Sony Masterworks). The R&B vocal icons have been at it for 25 years now, and they’re celebrating with an album full of cool covers of vocal standards — plus an original song thrown in for good measure. Guests on the set include Brian McKnight, Take 6, and Amber Riley.

Chris Young: Losing Sleep (RCA Nashville). Freshly minted Grand Ole Opry member Young celebrates a second milestone this week with the release of his latest album. He co-wrote every track, which is a first in his prolific catalog.

Lindsey Stirling: Warmer in the Winter (Lindseystomp Music / Concord). Violinist Stirling has gone way beyond a viral phenomenon at this point, and the release of her first Christmas album just solidifies that point. Guests Trombone Shorty, Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, Sabrina Carpenter, and Becky G help out on a variety of holiday favorites, with three originals included.

Cheap Trick: Christmas Christmas (Big Machine). The power-pop pioneers take on the holidays with their very first Christmas album. The set includes nine classics, plus three new songs they wrote themselves.

Sons of Apollo: Psychotic Symphony (InsideOut Music). What could be better than new supergroup featuring former members of Dream Theater, Guns N’ Roses, and Journey? Well, if you’re a fan of somewhat retro rock/metal/prog vibes, the answer is: Not much. Lotsa power in this release, if it happens to be your vibe.

98 Degrees: Let it Snow (UMe). It really is (’tis?) the season for Christmas albums, with this cheerful set from the vocal quartet joining the ranks. It’s their first new album in four years, and a welcome follow-up to their highly successful first holiday record from nearly two decades ago.

Gwar: The Blood of Gods (Metal Blade). This is the band’s first album since the passing of frontman Oderus Urungus. A new singer, Blothar, has bravely stepped into his shoes, and the set deals with Urungus’s passing, among other topics.

Keyshia Cole: 11:11 Reset (Epic). Cole’s latest stands out for its powerhouse roster of guests: DJ Khaled, Remy Ma, French Montana, Young Thug, Kamaiyah, and Too $hort all lend a hand here.

John Carpenter: Anthology (Movie Themes 1974-1998) (Sacred Bones). For film buffs, here are 13 newly recorded versions of the sci-fi/horror director’s film themes. A perfect release for the upcoming Halloween parties on your radar.

Margo Price: All American Made (Third Man). Celebrated new country artist Price teams with her songwriting partner/husband, Jeremy Ivey, who produces her candid, soulful sophomore release. Willie Nelson and the McCrary Sisters make guest appearances.

Europe: Walk the Earth (Hell and Back Recordings). These rock stalwarts have been around since 1979, and there appears to be no final countdown on their watch, at least not for the moment. This set follows up 2015’s War of Kings, and proves that the band is still full of grooves.

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn: Echo in the Valley (Rounder). The latest album from the couple dubbed “king and queen of the banjo” shows off their twin talents solidly — unsurprising but highly satisfying as always.

NRBQ: Happy Talk (Omnivore Recordings). This five-song EP contains three originals and two covers, and comes right on the heels of last year’s High Noon: A 50-Year History of NRBQ retrospective set.

Tracy Bonham: Modern Burdens (Second Motion). Bonham tackles a reimagining of her 1996 debut album, The Burdens of Being Upright, recruiting a variety of guests including Kay Hanley, Rachael Yamagata, Tanya Donelly, Angie Hart, Nicole Atkins, and Kathryn Calder.

Casting Crowns: It’s Finally Christmas (Beach Street/Reunion). Those looking for a more nonsecular offering amid the plethora of Christmas albums available this season will appreciate this six-song EP from the contemporary Christian stalwarts. This is their second holiday-themed release.

Buffalo Killers: Alive and Well in Ohio (Alive Naturalsound). Brothers Zachary and Andrew Gabbard — who are, indeed, from Ohio — self-produced this set of rustic, multigenre tunes at their home base, Howler Hills Farm Studio. It’s clear they took their time, in such a comfortable setting, as reflected by the sonic vibes.

Elizabeth and the Catapult: Keepsake (Compass). This singer-songwriter excels at personal, loose-memory flow storytelling, which she puts to work on her latest release. Prepare to dive deep into her tales.