2014 was a big year for country music. Garth Brooks made an official comeback, Taylor Swift bailed for pop, Bro-Country hit the big time, and some of the best music in many years hit the airwaves and digital retailers. Here is CMTT’s picks for the top albums released in 2014. Love ‘em or hate ‘em.
10. Moonshine in the Trunk: Brad Paisley – Brad Paisley keeps his sense of humor and his ability to craft a stunning story alive with this album. “River Bank” takes us all back to the basics of a good time while “Perfect Storm” shows his appreciation for the female. “Gone Green” is an ode to his bluegrass inspirations.
9. Bringing Back the Sunshine: Blake Shelton – Blake’s new album has been made great thanks to some lovely lady harmonies. Ashley Monroe and Blake create haunting harmony in “Lonely Tonight.”
8. Platinum: Miranda Lambert – Miranda’s sass is back, and ‘Platinum’ surprised many with a medley of not-so-radio friendly songs that speak volumes about who Miranda Lambert really is. She’s sticking to her guns and her own sound bringing an old time country twist to some girl power tunes.
7.Pain Killer: Little Big Town – Little Big Town has proven that the summer belongs to them with their release of “Day Drinking.” The quartet has no bounds to their talents, creating a glorious and sassy album.
6. Sundown Heaven Town: Tim McGraw – Tim McGraw is more current than ever thanks to ‘Sundown Heaven Town.’ Tim managed to bring the memories of earlier days and finer moments to life in this new album. I’m calling it his best album to date. It feels so authentic to where Tim came from.
5. I Don’t Dance: Lee Brice – Who expected the singer of “Parking Lot Party” to come with the next wedding song. Lee proves that he is at his best when he’s singing with a purpose and from the heart.
4.Same Trailer Different Park: Kacey Musgraves – Not since Taylor Swift has country music seen such a unique wordsmith as Kacey Musgraves. She has a way of weaving lyrics on subject matter that pushes the country envelope yet wrapped in a country sound that sounds more like Loretta Lynn than Florida Georgia Line. Kacey has managed to weave nursery rhymes into pot-smokin’ and girl-kissing poetry.
3. Just As I Am: Brantley Gilbert – Brantley left it all on the line with ‘Just As I Am,’ cranking out sexy tunes like “Let it Ride” and “Bottoms Up” along with super sad “Lights of My Hometown” and “I’m Gone.”
2. The Outsiders: Eric Church – Every album Eric Church makes, is full of pride and impeccable story telling. ‘The Outsiders’ is no exception. Eric has honed his own unique style of story telling with his signature rebellious flare.
1. Riser: Dierks Bentley – Dierks has brought his A-game with ‘Riser,’ his most personal record to date. Dierks lets it all out there, with songs like “I Hold On” and “Damn These Dreams.” His ever present party and fun-loving side is clear in “Drunk on a Plane” which took on a life of it’s own at his live shows.