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