Another year has come and gone, and 2012 was jam-packed with GREAT country music. In fact, I’d say it’s been a long time since we’ve seen such an ecclectic mixture of tunes come out of Nashville. Take a look at what we thought were the best of the best (in no particular order) and let us know what we missed.
Little Big Town ‘Tornado’-
Their smash-hit single “Pontoon” gave this album and group the attention it deserves. “Pontoon” became a summer party anthem while the follow-up single and title track “Tornado” took us in a completely different but not unwelcome direction. Other tunes on the album like “Front Porch” remind us this group hasn’t strayed far from the “Boondocks.”
Taylor Swift ‘Red’-
Although some may argue the country-flare, ‘Red,’ is a songwriting masterpiece, and reminds us that Taylor Swift has a unique way with words. Even those who aren’t fans get the catchy hooks in their heads. Selling well over a million copies in the first week and producing several no. 1 singles on iTunes proves that country has no bounds. “Begin Again” is a favorite that resonates along with “Sad Beautiful Tragic.” This album takes you on an emotional journey from start to finish, proving inside all of us grown women those feelings of love and loss are still fresh.
Jason Aldean ‘Night Train’-
Jason hit this one right out of the box with the catchy country anthem “Take a Little Ride.” Followed-up by a little help from Eric Church and Luke Bryan, “The Only Way I Know” keeps ‘Night Train’ at the top. Other songs like “Talk” give the album depth and emotion, keeping us guessing which song will be the next single. Jason has stuck to what he’s good at, and the sound of ‘Night Train’ is a signature Jason Aldean album.
Kellie Pickler ’100 Proof’-
Kellie didn’t get enough credit for this album, and do to record label conflicts this album didn’t get enough attention. It’s truly a traditional country masterpiece. Kellie has brought country back to it’s roots along with the southern drawl and steel guitar. “Where’s Tammy Wynette” pretty much sums up the style of the album while the title track “100 Proof” and “The Letter” bare the album’s soul.
Dierks Bentley ‘Home’-
Dierks Bentley returns to mainstream country with ‘Home,’ and the title track is an ode to the country he loves. Dierks as a unique ability to mix traditional country, bluegrass, and modern country into a well-thought out style that is all his own. Songs like “5-1-5-0″ and “Tip it on Back” stay true to Dierks’ laid-back country style. Other songs like “Thinking of You” show us a new side to Dierks as a family man.
Easton Corbin ‘All Over the Road’-
Easton has taken his time releasing a follow-up to his debut album. Easton has always swung more toward the traditional side of country, but ‘All Over the Road’ feels like Easton has finally found his own sound and voice. The debut single “Lovin’ You Is Fun” is an easy-breezy song. But my favorite off the album is “Are You With Me.” This song, which will hopefully be a single, is a heart-stopping ballad and really allows listeners to hear what’s inside Easton Corbin. The album is like a country stroll, and a no-song-skipper.
Kip Moore ‘Up All Night’-
It’s been a long time since someone has mosied on into country music with such a successful debut. Kip simply slipped his hat on backwards and cranked out two back-to-back no. 1 singles with “Somethin’ Bout a Truck” and “Beer Money.” But Kip is more than trucks and beer. He proves his worth and puts his unique spin on a typical story in “Where Are You Tonight.” The album is a no apologies portrait of who Kip is and what he plans to do in Country Music.
Lee Brice ‘Hard 2 Love’-
This album is proof that songwriters really do make the best music. Lee has the ability to sing with conviction and strength. The title song says everything a woman wants to hear along with “A Woman Like You.” But break out the tissues cuz not far behind is “I Drive Your Truck.” ‘Hard 2 Love’ showcases Lee’s craftsmanship and is finally giving him some long overdue attention.
Alan Jackson ‘Thirty Miles West’-
Alan can always be counted on for providing fans with the classic country sound he’s been known for since he first began. This album is country to the core and makes me feel cozy and easy like a rocking chair on a front porch. “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” tells a typical story from a different angle and “Long Way to Go” will get you singin’ along in no time. But, as usual, Alan always has a little surprise up his sleeve…and “Dixie Highway” featuring Zac Brown is just that.
Tim McGraw ‘Emotional Traffic’-
The long awaited release from Tim McGraw came with some record label turmoil, but it was worth it if it meant we finally got to hear the music Tim created so long ago. This album is filled with fantastic songs from start to finish. “Felt Good on My Lips” was a completely different sound for Tim, and radio loved it. Other great songs on the album are “Touchdown Jesus,” “Halo,” and “Die By My Own Hand.” The album also features hit single “Better Than I Use to Be.”
Gloriana “A Thousand Miles Left Behind”-
Gloriana’s sophomore record came as quite a sweet surprise to us. The 11 track albums is full of rich vocals and flowing harmonies that kept our ears listening from start to finish. Their first single “(Kissed You) Goodnight” charted in the Top 5 and is their biggest career hit. The love story is one that everyone can relate to and most girls have dreamed about. Here is to hoping that we hear more great music from this trio in 2013.
Carrie Underwood “Blown Away”-
The word superstar is almost not big enough to describe Carrie Underwood. Carrie quite literally blew fans away in 2012 with her latest album. She was able to co-wrote more than half the songs on the album and continues to deliver her flawless vocals and emotions that country music fans love about her. The vocal expression on songs like “Blown Away” brought fans directly into the twisted lyrics while she still kept us dancing with and upbeat with songs like “Good Girl.” Carrie never disappoints her fans and we can all expect much bigger and better things from her in the new year.
Got some country music gossip and don’t wanna be a tattle tale? Email me, Tawny Tucker, Tawny@countrymusictattletale.com Don’t miss a country music beat! Sign up to receive free email updates or subscribe to CMTT via RSS today!