Over the years, we’ve always strived to make our “Albums of the Year” a reflection of our own tastes. After all, music is a subjective experience and we’ve always been pretty vocal about who we like and who we don’t like. Once again this year, we can confidently say that we like a little bit of everything. You’ll definitely recognize many of these artists and maybe even own some of these albums, but hopefully, we can leave you with something new to fall in love with as well.
It’s one thing to release a great song, and by no means can we diminish what it takes to pour your heart out on a piece of paper and come out on the other end with something truly exceptional, but the mark of a great artist will always be found in the album. A meticulously crafted, complete body of work.
From the writing room to the studio, all the way to release day, artists set out to tell their story over the course of 10 or 12 songs… I guess even 15 or 16 these days. It takes vision, reflection, vulnerability, long nights, early mornings, passion, and guts. And when it’s all finished, you hand this chapter of your life over to the public to do with it what they will. Every year, hundreds and hundreds of country artists embark on that same path, however only the most talented emerge with a truly great piece of art.
Here’s 40 of our favorites that did this year.
40. Sturgill Simpson – Sound & Fury
*Note: Sound & Fury is admittedly not a country album. It’s a “really sleazy, steamy rock ‘n roll record.” But, it’s Sturgill Simpson so it’s kicking off this year’s list at #40.
39. Kelleigh Bannen – Favorite Colors
38. Randy Rogers Band – Hellbent
37. Maren Morris – GIRL
36. Riley Green – Different Round Here
35. Billy Strings – Home
34. Kendell Marvel – Solid Gold Sounds
33. Joshua Ray Walker – Wish You Were Here
32. Zach Bryan – DeAnn
31. Jake Owen – Greetings From… Jake
30. The Steel Woods – Old News
29. Hailey Whitters – The Days
28. Charles Wesley Godwin – Seneca
27. Caroline Spence – Mint Condition
26. Mike and the Moonpies – Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold
25. Justin Moore – Late Nights and Longnecks
24. Michaela Anne – Desert Dove
23. Koe Wetzel – Harold Saul High
22. Yola – Walk Through Fire
21. George Strait – Honky Tonk Time Machine
20. Aaron Watson – Red Bandana
19. Ian Noe – Between The Country
18. Kalie Shorr – Open Book
17. Emily Scott Robinson – Traveling Mercies
16. Flatland Cavalry – Homeland Insecurity
15. Midland – Let It Roll
14. Runaway June – Blue Roses
13. Whiskey Myers – Whiskey Myers
12. Randy Houser – Magnolia
11. The Highwomen – The Highwomen
10. Reba McEntire – Stronger Than The Truth
9. Cody Johnson – Ain’t Nothin’ To It
8. Erin Enderlin – Faulkner County
7. Kelsey Waldon – White Noise/White Lines
6. Jon Pardi – Heartache Medication
5. Cody Jinks – After The Fire, The Wanting
4. Tanya Tucker – While I’m Livin’
3. Miranda Lambert – Wildcard
2. Tyler Childers – Country Squire
1. Luke Combs – What You See Is What You Get
The Whiskey Riff 2019 Albums of the Year Playlist.