WHISKEY RIFF MADNESS 2022: Country Albums 2010 – Present Sweet Sixteen Is LIVE

A collage of George Strait

We have our Sweet Sixteen.

For Whiskey Riff Madness 2022, we’ve put 64 of the best albums from 2010 to today, from all across the spectrum of country music, up against each other. And then we let you the readers vote to see which one would come out on top.

And I’ve gotta say, this next round is absolutely STACKED.

But let’s take a look back at some of the results from the Round of 32.

In the Mainstream region, Luke Combs’ debut album This One’s For You lost to his hero and mentor Eric Church’s 2011 album Chief. And a couple of legends went at it, with George Strait’s Honky Tonk Time Machine coming out ahead of Alan Jackson’s latest album, Where Have You Gone. And Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album had a stronger performance than in the first round, beating Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings with 68% of the vote.

But the biggest blowout in this region came to us courtesy of Jamey Johnson’s The Guitar Song, which topped Carly Pearce’s incredible 2021 album 29: Written In Stone.

Down in the Texas/Red Dirt region, Turnpike Troubadours unsurprisingly continued rolling with an impressive 91% of the vote against One To Grow On from Mike & the Moonpies. And Whiskey Myers had a STRONG performance against some stiff competition, with Firewater beating Josh Abbott’s She’s Like Texas with almost 90% of the vote.

Rounding out the Texas region were a pair of Codys pulling out wins, with both Johnson and Jinks getting over 70% of the votes to win their matchups and set up a Cody vs. Cody showdown in the Sweet Sixteen.

The Appalachia region brought us both the biggest blowout and the closest margin of victory of the Round of 32. Tyler Childers’ Purgatory dominated against Cole Chaney’s Mercy with a pretty staggering 94% of the vote. And in my personal favorite matchup of the round, Wheeler Walker Jr.’s Redneck Shit managed to knock out country legend Loretta Lynn’s Full Circle by just a handful of votes.

Is Ol’ Wheeler the St. Peter’s Peacocks of this tournament? (There’s an easy joke in there, but I’ll let you make it yourselves).

Chris Stapleton’s Traveller and Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music both easily won their matchups to round out the Appalachia region, setting up what may be the toughest decision in the next round.

Then down in the “Indie” region, Zach Bryan’s DeAnn knocked off Jason Isbell’s Southeastern, while Colter Wall won a close matchup with Ryan Bingham to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. And rounding out our bracket we have Blackberry Smoke’s The Whippoorwill and Billy Strings’ Home to complete the field of sixteen.

And now it’s time to vote.

The Bracket

Whiskey Riff Madness bracket


A white paper with text

Texas + Red Dirt






Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous has looked vulnerable, so will it have a place in the Elite Eight? Can Tyler Childers’ Purgatory continue its absolutely dominating run, or will Wheeler Walker Jr. pull off the biggest upset in Whiskey Riff Madness history? And how the hell am I supposed to pick between Traveller and Metamodern Sounds in Country Music?

I guess we’ll find out soon, because voting is open now until 11:59 PM central time on Friday, March 25.

You can vote as many times as you like – and we’ve seen people voting hundreds of times in a row for their favorite album, so just know that every vote matters.

And make sure you’re following our Instagram too, because we’ll be throwing some of the close matchups on our stories to give you a chance to vote there too.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock