Record Store Day is an annual celebration of independent record stores across the country and around the world. Taking place Saturday, April 21, the day is marked by hundreds of special releases (on vinyl, CD, 45, and even 78) and dozens of live shows, all available and/or taking place only in participating independent stores.

In fact, some of the country music artists who are providing Record Store Day releases this year are a big deal, including Zac Brown Band (with the Southern Ground Artists Compilation, Vol. 2), bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, the Pistol Annies (a special vinyl edition of their 2011 album Hell on Heels), and GRAMMY winners Civil Wars.

A handful of country artists are also scheduled to perform in stores around the country this Saturday. These include up-and-comers like Lydia Loveless (who’ll be at Lost Weekend Records in Columbus, Ohio) and Jonny Corndawg (at Euclid Records in New Orleans) on up to superstar Dierks Bentley. Yes, for those lucky enough to be in Seattle, Washington this weekend, the “Home” singer will appear at 1pm at the Queen Anne location of Easy Street Records.

“Record Store Day is such a great event that has hardly had any attention in country music,” wrote Dierks Bentley on his website. “Some of the coolest exclusive product comes out on this day at ind[ie] retailers, and I wanted country fans to be able to get in on the action. I may have a few surprise special guests up my sleeve too. I’m really excited to take over Easy Street for an hour that afternoon…Seattle is such a great music town.”

And those “special guests” could prove interesting. At Bentley’s L.A. show last Friday, for instance, which kicked off his current 2012 Country & Cold Cans Tour, he was joined by Chris Shiflett of Foo Fighters and, later, actor Garrett Hedlund.

Now in its fifth year, Record Store Day is designed to celebrate the vibrant cultures and communities that have been built through the world of record stores–where fans and artists alike have long gathered to meet, greet, flip through the bins, and gain exposure to all kinds of new and exciting music.

Below are some of the country-related releases to look for on Record Store Day (Saturday, April 21):

Pistol Annies, Hell on Heels (LP)
This is a special vinyl release of the 2011 debut album from the group that features Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe.

Ralph Stanley, “Single Girl / Little Birdie” (78)
Two vintage songs from one of bluegrass and country music’s true originals. Note that this is not an LP, CD, or even a 45 — it’s an actual 78 RPM record! A limited release (500 copies total) from the San Francisco-based record label Tompkins Square.

Ricky Skaggs & Tony Rice, Skaggs & Rice (LP)
A classic collection of bluegrass and folk/country songs that showcase the incredible talents of these two artists.

Buck Owens, coloring book and flexi-disc
Here’s a truly unusual item — a vintage, uncirculated coloring book that was commissioned by Buck Owens in 1970. Each book also includes a new 4-track flexidisc and download card for the Owens classics “Act Naturally,” “Together Again,” “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail,” and “Crying Time.”

Lee Hazlewood, The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes, & Backsides (1968-71) (LP)
Best known as the writer behind the ’60s smash “These Boots Were Made For Walking,” the late Lee Hazlewood was a legendary producer and songwriter who regularly blurred the lines between country, pop, rock, and pretty much whatever else he wanted. He recorded some incredible duets with Nancy Sinatra, discovered Duane Eddy, but also produced records on Waylon Jennings, Gram Parsons, and Eddy Arnold, among many others. This new anthology digs into recordings from his own LHI (Lee Hazlewood Industries) label, and includes new liner notes from his friend, British journalist Wyndham Wallace.

Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Hummingbird (10″ EP)
You may never have heard of Mr. Billy (who also goes by his ‘real’ name Will Oldham), but the actor (Matewan, Old Joy) and singer/songwriter often records some unique takes on country classics. Here he covers Leon Russell‘s “Hummingbird” as well as Merle Haggard‘s “Because of Your Eyes.” Expect the sound to be lonesome, lo-fi, and fully heartfelt.

The Civil Wars
Live at Amoeba (CD)
“Billie Jean” (45)
Yes that’s right, the Civil Wars are covering Michael Jackson on a special 45 single. And they do it beautifully. They’re also releasing the limited edition EP/CD Live at Amoeba, recorded live in Hollywood on June 14, 2011.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Live from the Legendary Sun Studios (CD and LP)
The Kenny Chesney collaborator and ACM Award nominee cut a live album at the famous Memphis studio, and the result is sure to be full of firepower.

Find participating Record Store Day outlets in your area!

See all Record Store Day special releases

See the full Record Store Day performance schedule

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