WHISKEY RIFF MADNESS 2022: Country Albums 2010 – Present

Whiskey Riff Madness

Whiskey Riff Madness is BACK!

It’s that time of year again. March Madness is getting ready to kick off, and I’m just sitting back waiting for my bracket to be busted in the first round.

But March Madness isn’t the only tournament going on. For Riff Madness this year, we decided to match up some of the best albums released since 2010, put them head to head, and see what comes out on top.

And as always, we’re letting you, our great Whiskey Riff readers, pick the winner.

Our Methodology

We broke down the bracket into four (very loosely-defined) “regions” – Mainstream, Texas/Red Dirt, Appalachia, and “Indie.” Now, a lot of albums fit into multiple regions, and some of them are hard to define, so don’t take the regions for the albums too literally or come at us because an album is in the wrong region or whatever.

I also couldn’t bring myself to name one “Americana” so I just went with “Indie,” so… deal with it.

And the hardest part of coming up with this bracket was narrowing it down to only 64 albums from all of the incredible music of the last 12 years.

Did we have to leave some great albums out? Absolutely. But we wanted to limit it to one album per artist, and wanted to include a wide variety of albums to choose from – some big mainstream albums, some smaller albums that we really enjoyed, and everything in between.

If your favorite album’s not on there, or if we didn’t choose the album that you think we should have for your favorite artist, it obviously doesn’t mean that we didn’t like it: It’s just impossible to include everything.

Hey, just like March Madness, a lot of deserving teams have to get left out.

And that’s really it. We got the albums narrowed down, got the bracket built, and now all that’s left is the voting.

Here’s the final bracket:

Diagram, engineering drawing

And here’s a closer look at each region:



Texas + Red Dirt






So now it’s time for you to do your part.

Voting is open NOW for the Round of 64, and the first round ends at 11:59 PM central time on Saturday, March 19.

You can vote down below, or by clicking the link here, and you can vote as many times as you want if you have a favorite that you want to see move on to the next round.

And if last year’s tournament was any indication, some of these matchups are going to be CLOSE, so throw a few extra votes to your favorite album if you really want to see them stay alive.

VOTE NOW in the 2022 Riff Madness Round of 64:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock