16. Kacey Musgraves "Same Trailer Different Park"
Wonderful writing with a beautiful voice and a great mix of traditional soul along with some modern sound. Hopefully this album serves as a template for female country singers for years to come. Hell, most the guys could learn something from this as well.
15. The Wild Feathers "The Wild Feathers"
This songs are so catchy you'll find yourself humming them so much you'll drive yourself nuts. Not quite rock and well beyond pop in my opinion, but I could care less. I listen to good music and don't pay attention to genres and this is definitely good music.
14. John Moreland "In The Throes"
Probably higher on every other list you'll read (unless they never got to listen to it) but this is my opinion only, so this is where it is. Very few albums this year will be able to top the songwriting you'll find on these ten tracks and John's voice is one that can't be forgotten.
13. Alan Jackson "The Bluegrass Album"
The same process that went into naming the album seems to have made its way into the musical content as well. Keep it simple and honest, and that's what you'll find here for sure. I'm just glad Alan was able to finally do this the way he wanted.
12. Eastbound Jesus "Northern Rock"
I can't believe I have to rank this album this low. I guess that's just the ultimate proof of what a year for music it has been. It's very easy to get lost in the great story contained within every song and the wonderful music that accompanies them.
11. Holly Williams "The Highway"
Some of the strongest and most emotion filled songs I've heard are on this album, unfortunately it also contains a few average songs and a couple that are rather weak. "Drinkin'" and "Waiting On June" are enough to stop anyone with a heart dead in their tracks and show how great of a songwriter Holly is.
10. Clutch "Earth Rocker"
Rock isn't dead, you're just looking in the wrong place. From the in your face rhythm of "Cyborg Bette" to the slow bluesy ballad "Gone Cold" there is something for everyone on this one. Certainly shows that Clutch has not lost it over the years.
9. Dallas Moore Band "Blessed Be The Bad Ones"
100% honky-tonk goodness that takes you for a ride of both the good and the bad times and everywhere in between. I was lucky enough to review this album earlier in the year and still listen to it often and may even enjoy it more now than then.
8. Sturgill Simpson "High Top Mountain"
This could be the album that many country traditionalist have been waiting for over the past few years and anything you've heard about it is true. (unless it was bad, then that person is an idiot) Not a weak song to be heard on this one.
7. Last False Hope "Dig Nails Deep"
One of the most original and unique albums you'll ever hear. So unique, it's actually hard to put into words a description that does any justice to what you'll find on the debut, full-length album by Last False Hope, or to say anything I didn't already cover before.
6. Shooter Jennings "The Other Life"
Talk about a guy with a full schedule, on top of coming up with a fine album himself, Shooter also produced two other albums on this list, went on a nationwide tour and made a short film with Judd Films featuring songs from this very album. One of the strongest albums Shooter has ever released and featuring a sound and attitude that many fans have been asking for.
5. Band of Heathens "Sunday Morning Records"
I'm still amazed by the amount of people that haven't listened to anything by this group. This album is spot on with beautiful harmonies and wonderful instrumentation that just makes you feel good and holds you until the end while featuring some of the most original arrangements to come out this year.
4. Statesboro Review "Ramble on Privilege Creek"
One word to describe this album: pleasant. Yeah, that'll work because that's exactly what it is. So easy to just listen to you won't even notice how long you've been just laying there in a trance. Hell, it took me three days to type that line while listening on my computer.
3. Fifth On The Floor "Ashes & Angels"
While Fifth On The Floor has never put out a bad album, this is a large step forward as a whole in both writing and subject matter. This one has a bit of everything, southern rock, straight up rock and roll and some classic country to keep everyone happy.
2. Jason Isbell "Southeastern"
Are you tired of everyone kissing this guy's butt and calling him the greatest thing going? Me neither, especially since it's all true. A masterful songwriter is an understatement as Jason continues to grow and travel to new heights with every release. "Southeastern" is no different and continues this upward trend and give hope that a clear-headed Jason Isbell may be the one to knock down the barriers that are keeping so many quality artist hidden from the mainstream.
1. Buffalo Gospel "We Can Be Horses"
Who? Don't feel bad, that's exactly what I said before I had my first listen to this album. Just a few songs in I knew I had come across something special and after a full listen I had a feeling early on that this masterpiece of oddly named tracks would not head south and would be able to be claim this top spot by the end of the year. The only hard thing about this collection of high quality tunes is picking a favorite song as all are at a high level and deserve multiple listens.
Song of the year
Holly Williams (feat. Gwyneth Paltrow) "Waiting On June"
I'm not sure what's gonna kill the slight bit of credibility I have more, picking a song of the year that features Gwyneth Paltrow or explaining why I did. Every time I hear this song I start thinking about my own life and my beautiful wife Amy. As I listen I usually start associating our lives with the characters in the song and by the time I've reached the final moments, I'm crying like a twelve year old girl in the front row of a Justin Bieber show. Mainly, this connection along with superb songwriting is why I feel this song is my top pick this year even though Pepper Potts is tagging along. Justin Bieber still is a thing isn't he?