Kevin's Top 15 Albums of the Year

To join in on the fun and add context to every time I’ve written and said on our podcast that “2017 has been a great year for music” I humbly present some of my favorites of the year. The list is ranked for the sake of ranking, but most of these albums are very close in terms of how great they are.


15) Jason Eady – Jason Eady

A guy that I don’t think gets enough recognition despite having put out several tremendous albums. His Daylight & Dark album is one of my favorites from 2014.

Favorite song: Barabbas

14) Chris Stapleton – From A Room, Vol. 1

In the follow up to Traveller, the much anticipated second solo album from Stapleton does not disappoint outside of the small track count. Volumes one and two contain 9 songs each, which means 18 total songs for us this year, but each album does not feel like a full album. At least we know his increased fame from Traveller hasn’t spoiled his musical direction.

Favorite song: Either Way

13) Willie Nelson – God’s Problem Child

Willie’s still not dead (check that song out at least, if you don’t listen to anything else), and thank god he’s not. Just a purely good album from the legend.

Favorite song: He Won’t Ever Be Gone


12) Parker McCollum – Probably Wrong

Most of the album was released in the form of two EP’s earlier in the year which were then put together with a few extras on the main release. One of the rare albums where you go through it and can’t find a single bad song.

Favorite song: I Can’t Breathe
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11) The Steel Woods – Straw in the Wind

My favorite Southern Rock album in a long while. Outside of Tyler Childers’ album, this may be the one that I’ve listened to the most this year. I look forward to seeing what these guys keep putting out in the future.

Favorite song: Better In The Fall

10) Colter Wall – Colter Wall

A 22-year-old Canadian who’s voice sounds like anything but. The traditional sound mixed with Wall’s deep, smoke stricken sounding voice makes for a strong debut album.

Favorite song: Kate McCannon

9) Zephaniah Ohora and The 18 Wheelers – This Highway

The most traditional sounding offering of the year, which reminds me heavily of my all time favorite: Merle Haggard. This album has received high critical acclaim despite nearly zero mainstream exposure.

Favorite song: I Do Believe I’ve Had Enough

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8) Erin Enderlin – Whiskeytown Crier

We were lucky enough to get to interview Erin for our podcast to promote the album. A songwriter who has written songs for folks such as Alan Jackson gets her own debut album and it does not disappoint.

Favorite song: The Blues Are Alive & Well

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7) Kody West – Green

A guy I was relatively late to the party on. I didn’t hear this April release until later in the year, but as soon as I was through the album once I was already a big fan. Several of the tracks on the record are regulars on many of my spotify playlists now.

Favorite song: Ledges

6) Turnpike Troubadours – A Long Way from Your Heart

Turnpike did it again. The band that continues to put out well written albums where there are no songs that you’d want to skip when giving it a listen. It’s amazing how well respected they are despite very minor exposure outside of the Texas/Oklahoma scene. Seeing a packed Medicine Stone crowd singing along with every word and then coming home to Iowa and having nearly none of my friends recognize the band’s name shows how wrong the mainstream is about them.

Favorite song: A Tornado Warning

5) Ira Wolf – The Closest Thing to Home

Despite having over a million streams on several of her songs, Ira Wolf continues to have limited exposure, most noticeable in the sizes of the shows that she plays (regularly doing private house shows). Her calm, thoughtful songwriting and delivery makes the album worthy of more press.

Favorite song: Sunscreen

4) Sunny Sweeney – Trophy

Probably my favorite female artist in the game right now – not that I even want to qualify her, or music overall as male/female – but due to the criminal underrepresentation of females in country airplay right now, I feel like pointing it out.

Favorite song: Unsaid

3) John Moreland – Big Bad Luv

Another self-proclaimed ‘non country’ artist, this album (and Moreland overall) features some of the best songwriting you could ever ask for.

Favorite song: Sallisaw Blue

2) Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound

Nominated for a Grammy in the Americana category instead of country – but as self proclaimed by Isbell, he doesn’t think he makes country music anyway, so I guess it makes sense. As I wrote in my review, I thought this album was a masterpiece despite not being my favorite Isbell record. That spot is reserved for Southeastern for now.

Favorite song: Anxiety

1) Tyler Childers – Purgatory

My favorite of the year, if nothing else, based the amount I re-listened to it in it’s entirety. Produced by Sturgill, Tyler Childers has a very bright future if he keeps it up.

 Favorite song: Feathered Indians