Over the course of 2017 there were plenty of albums that I listened to (over 20,000 minutes of music) according to Spotify. However, there were plenty of great releases that slipped through the cracks during an extremely busy and complicated year for me. That’s why instead of doing a best of 2017 list I thought it would be more appropriate to list my favorite albums of 2017. Here are my favorite albums of this year, 1 year after I created Critically Country.
Very Honorable Mentions: Puxico (Natalie Hemby), At Home in the Big Lonesome (Drew Kennedy), Hell of a Highway Ep (Jake Worthington) and Canyons of my Mind (Andrew Combs
10. The Nashville Sound (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit) My favorite Jason Isbell project that tackles topics like politics, love and race. Sharp, honest songwriting and a lively sound.
9. Purgatory (Tyler Childers) Many people’s pick for album of the year, this album has sharp songwriting and represents traditional/independent country well. I love the instrumentation on this album.
8. Rule 62 (Whitney Rose) I have yet to hear a bad song from this Canadian born artist through 3 albums and an ep. A throwback sound with a modern spin.
7. Chris Stapleton (From a Room Volumes 1 and 2): Chris Stapleton is one of the top vocalists and songwriters in all of music. My biggest criticism of these albums is that there aren’t enough new songs and it would have been better to just have one album with the best of Volumes 1 and 2.
6. Vaquero (Aaron Watson) Pleasant is the best word that comes to mind when discussing Vaquero. The albums lead single “Outta Style” is also Watson’s first career top 10 song on the Media Base country chart.
5. Trophy (Sunny Sweeney) My number 1 album for much of 2017 Sweeney delivers her best album making the album that she wanted to. Sweeney’s cover of “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight” is one of the best songs of the year.
4. On The Rocks (Midland) I couldn’t care less about any authenticity concerns. Midland’s music is the real deal traditional country sound that is completely missing from the airwaves in 2017.
3. A Long Way From Your Heart (Turnpike Troubadours) Was there any doubt that this would be an absolute masterpiece? A Long Way From Your Heart further cements the Troubadours as country musics best and most consistently great band.
2. Silence in These Walls (Flatt Lonesome) This Bluegrass group gets better with each album. This heartbreak album came out during a particularly difficult time of the year for me making this album so relatable.
1. Tenderheart (Sam Outlaw) My favorite album of 2017 and without a doubt one of my all time favorite albums. This smooth California country album never gets old despite being released way back in April.