Joshua Wallace’s Top 50 Albums of 2018

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Dec 232018

By Joshua Wallace

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the time of year where all music journalists put out their best of lists.  Gary Hayes will have his own list coming up soon.  This is my personal Top 50 Country Albums of 2018. I could probably double this list to 100 with all of the awesome releases that have come out in the past year.  It has been that good of a year. However, that being said, I feel like these 50 albums represent the best of what I heard over this year. I reviewed many of these during the year and you can find every one of those reviews on this website.  I will link a few of them here in this article. Every record on this list is worth your time, from number 1 to number 50. Gary Hayes will have his own separate list published later this month, check it out too. Let’s kick things off with the album of the year and Top 10, and then immediately following that will be 11 – 50.

**ALBUM OF THE YEAR** 01.  American Aquarium – Things Change  **ALBUM OF THE YEAR**

This album stuck with me the most throughout the year and thus, it is my number one record of 2018.  From the heartland rock politically inspired tune “The World Is On Fire” all the way to the country balladry of “‘Till The Final Curtain Calls”, this is the best album American Aquarium has ever put together.  I doubt you can find another band that can weave in and out of heartland rock and roll and country with the skill and ease this band does. I look forward to whatever comes next from BJ Barham and company. Check out my full review of Things Change from earlier in the year.

02.  Ashley McBryde – Girl Going Nowhere

This album had me last year with the single “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega”.  That song was out well before the album and has stuck with me ever since. The album itself ads more great tracks to Ashley’s repertoire and there isn’t a bad cut on this one.  I predict big things for Ashley McBryde in 2019 and I’m looking forward to seeing her open for George Strait in Atlanta next year. Check out my review of this record here.

03.  Randall King – Randall King

Randall King is a throwback to an era of country we don’t have many throwbacks to.  He takes the best elements of 90’s country music and brings them to modern times. His songs “Mirror, Mirror”, “Tuggin’ On My Heartstrings” and “Cool Under Pressure” have stuck with me and this album is often played front to back when it comes on.  Check out my review of the record here.

04.  Josh Card – With A Heavy Heart

The sound on this record is perfect.  Everything is spot on and these are the best tracks Josh Card has ever put out.  Check out a couple of my favorites in “Suffer” and “Won’t Chase Your Love Anymore”.  Read my full review of the album here.

05.  Whitey Morgan & The 78s – Hard Times & White Lines

This is straight up the best live honky tonk band going right now.  This album is another great chapter of their music adding some killer new originals, some new Dale Watson and even ZZ Top to their live set.  Give this one a spin however you listen to music and read my review here.

06.  Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Years

This album is punk rock outlaw country at its best.  Sarah Shook put out her best record yet with Years. It has been high on this list all year and lands at number six.  Do yourself a favor and read my review of the record here, and then go out and buy a copy and see her live when you get a chance to.

07.  Belle Plaine – Malice, Mercy, Grief & Wrath

Belle Plaine has released some solid country gold right here.  I’m still digging on “Taxes, Death and You” and “Is It Cheating” featuring Colter Wall.  Do yourself a favor and give this one a spin. My full review of this record is here.

08.  Colter Wall – Songs Of The Plains

Colter Wall does not disappoint on his sophomore full length release.  This album has some great tunes with “Plain To See Plainsmen”, “Thinkin’ On A Woman” and the Billy Don Burns cover “Wild Dogs”.  This album could have been number one if this year wasn’t so stacked with awesome releases. Check out my review of this one here.

09.  Jamie Lin Wilson – Jumping Over Rocks

In her follow-up to 2016’s Holidays and Wedding Rings, Jamie Lin Wilson has put out her best stuff yet with tracks like “The Being Gone”, “Everybody’s Moving Slow” and a cover of Guy Clark’s “Instant Coffee Blues” featuring Jack Ingram sticking with me in heavy rotation.  Do yourself a favor and give this record a spin, you won’t regret it. Check out my full review here.

10.  Dallas Moore – Mr. Honky Tonk

I knew when I first heard Dallas Moore’s track “Mr. Honky Tonk” that this would be a killer record.  This album represents a high mark in Dallas Moore’s career and there isn’t a bad track on it. I’m still digging on “Shoot Out The Lights”, “Killing Me Nice and Slow” and “You Know The Rest”.  Do yourself a favor, check out my review and pick up a copy of this one.

The Best Of The Rest:

11.  Shooter Jennings – Shooter

12.  Caitlyn Smith – Starfire

13.  Cody Jinks – Lifers

14.  Pistol Annies – Interstate Gospel

15.  Joshua Hedley – Mr. Jukebox

16.  Bri Bagwell – In My Defense

17.  Brent Cobb – Providence Canyon

18.  Dillon Carmichael – Hell On An Angel

19.  Kayla Ray – Yesterday And Me

20.  Josh Ward – More Than I Deserve

21.  Josh Grider – Good People

22.  Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You

23.  Paul Cauthen – Have Mercy

24.  Blackberry Smoke – Find A Light

25.  Jason Boland & The Stragglers – Hard Times Are Relative

26.  T.J. Hernandez – Who I Am

27.  Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain

28.  Old Crow Medicine Show – Volunteer

29.  The Brother Brothers – Some People I Know

30.  Ward Davis – Asunder

31.  Craig Gerdes – Smokin’, Drinkin’ & Gamblin’

32.  Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

33.  Courtney Patton – What It’s Like To Fly Alone

34.  John Prine – The Tree Of Forgiveness

35.  Ashley Monroe – Sparrow

36.  Pat Reedy & The Longtime Goners – That’s All There Is (And There Ain’t No More)

37.  Kyle Park – Don’t Forget Where You Come From

38.  Lori McKenna – The Tree

39.  James Scott Bullard – Full Tilt Boogie

40.  Adam Hood – Somewhere In Between

41.  Kristina Murray – Southern Ambrosia

42.  Chelsea Nolan – Chelsea.

43.  Abe Partridge – Cotton Fields and Blood For Days

44.  Mike & The Moonpies – Steak Night At The Prairie Rose

45.  Sara Morgan – Average Jane

46.  Jason Sinkhorn – Junction City, Kentucky

47.  Urban Pioneers – Hillbilly Swing Music

48.  Joe’s Truck Stop – American Dreams

49.  JP Harris – Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing

50.  Darci Carlson – Darci Carlson

Jul 222014


Well folks I have to say outright some of y’all will say Pistol Annies are
pop country or too mainstream.
Well, I’m not writing this article to analyze anything they do nor will
I critic the fact I don’t personally care for Miranda Lambert.
I WILL SAY that her latest release “Platinum” had a few good songs on it
and probably WAS her best album yet.

But I MUST admit I have a guilty pleasure and it’s Hippie Annie, Holler
Annie and Lone Star Annie A.K.A. Pistol Annies.
Their first album didn’t leave my CD player for half of 2012…UNTIL..

Ashley Monroe released her second album “Like A Rose”.
When I heard that Vince Gill co-wrote three songs and produced the
album AND Paul Franklin was behind the steel guitar I KNEW it was
automatically good.
And Daggumn it if it wasn’t one of 2013’s BEST albums! Hell it
is STILL in my current constant rotation of CD’s.
The song “Monroe Suede” just BLEW ME AWAY!

Now honestly they were not getting a mega ton of airplay
together as the Pistol Annies and they were not playing a ton of dates
on tour together either.
So honestly I can NOT tell you whether the Pistol Annies are or are NOT
together..may be they are on hiatus.
Their website has listed no show dates right now cause I would LOVE to see
them again live.
Ashley Monroe had publicly said they didn’t have enough time to
rehearse for the tour so they did not tour for their second album
“Annie Up”.

Ashley Monroe puts on one HELL of a damn fine show all by her lonesome
and her writing talents are just amazing!
Kind of trashy but yet in a middle class way so to speak.
I believe she defiantly identifies with middle class working people
MUCH LIKE the days of older country music…like Merle Haggard that
still rings true today.
Merle Haggard is one of the best legends left.
These gals are showing mainstream country it’s OK to be “curvy”
and average and fed up with your husband!

She debuted a song called “Has Anybody Ever Told You” for the first
time ever on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.
Now,another reason I really like her is because of her involvement with
the Opry.
I applaud her always taking the time to stop and perform on it as often
as she does.

Now I want to tell you about the debut album from Angaleena Presley.
The album will hit you on October 12th and it will be called
“American Middle Class” and it will be released on Slate Creek records.
So let me remind you JUST WHO is head honcho at Slate Creek Records.
The master behind Don Williams….Garth Fundis.
And she will be co-producing the album with her husband Jordan Powell.

ONE THING you will read constantly on this website are the three
pillars or fundamentals of country music.
The producer, the songwriter and the steel guitarist.
You have two or all three of them you have a classic country album.

She is almost finished with the album and is currently
doing some dates with the Indigo Girls.
And there will be some singing presence from Country singer
Patty Loveless.

So there you have it folks, you can take it for what it’s worth.
I myself firmly believe we will see the Pistol Annies together
BUT when I pay to see them I REALLY hope they do NOT play their
solo music during the show.
I was once upset during an Eagles show..cause I paid to hear them