Music

10 Albums for the Adventurous Country Music Listener

Free the Birds Records, Nonesuch Records, Magnolia Music, Old Prince Records, High Top Mountain Records, The Oh Hellos

Here are some albums that any country music fan is bound to love.

10. Medicine Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

Image via Magnolia Music
Image via Magnolia Music

Acoustic accompaniments, plenty of steel guitar, and beautiful simplicity make this album a must-listen for country fans looking for comfortably catchy music. These honest songs from native Tennessean Drew Holcomb and his band are the perfect background for a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

9. Metamodern Sounds in Country Music  Sturgill Simpson

Image via Bandcamp
Image via Bandcamp

Okay, yes, Sturgill Simpson’s music is country (hence the album title), but his sound is nothing like what you’ll hear on the radio these days. In fact, his music sounds like it’s from a different era entirely. This album has enough twang to be a truly enjoyable throwback.

8. Through the Deep, Dark Valley – The Oh Hellos

Image via The Oh Hellos
Image via The Oh Hellos

With its combined feel of upbeat rock and mellow acoustic pop, this album has a tune for every mood. The fast tempo of “Second Child, Restless Child,” even feels a little like jolly mountain music.

7. A Dotted Line – Nickel Creek

Image via Nonesuch Records, Inc.
Image via Nonesuch Records, Inc.

This “newgrass” group took a hiatus in 2007, but in 2014, they reunited to make this album and tour after its release. That wait was tough, but their signature down-home sound is back with more soulful personality than ever.

6. Hourglass – Emily Hearn

Image via Old Prince Records
Image via Old Prince Records

Emily Hearn’s pop-folk sound is grounded by heart-stirring lyrics about real life experiences and emotions. “Oak Tree,” a nostalgic song about the passing of time, is one of many highlights on this album. Emily’s crystal clear voice carries old-fashioned honesty that’ll stop you in your tracks.

5. Boys & Girls – Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes
Image via Alabama Shakes LLC

From the time this smooth rock album starts, it’s sprinkled with the feelings of old country tunes and a touch of jazz. It’s far from what we consider “country music” today, but it has unmistakable Southern influence and foot tappin’ rhythms!

4. Wide Open – Steve Moakler

Image via Free the Birds Records
Image via Free the Birds Records

You might recognize a song on this record—Steve Moakler wrote the title track for Dierks Bentley’s latest release, and Steve recorded his own version of “Riser” for Wide Open. Any country fan is sure to relate to this album’s stories of the simplest of pleasures and the hardest of workers in life.

3. Kids These Days – Judah and the Lion

Image via Good Time Records
Image via Good Time Records

Driving beats with traditional bluegrass instrumentation lend to Judah and the Lion’s truly unique sound. The lyrics are at times both lighthearted and thought provoking, and you’ll hear plenty of banjo and mandolin riffs to satisfy your inner hillbilly.

2. Then Came the Morning – The Lone Bellow

Image via Descendant Records
Image via Descendant Records

Laidback rhythms are paired with passionate vocals on this Brooklyn-based group’s latest record. Traditional harmonies make their sound into something almost choir-like at times, and their simple and honest lyrics are sure to strike a chord with country fans.

1. Southeastern – Jason Isbell

Image via Southeastern Records
Image via Southeastern Records

If you can’t hear the raw emotion behind Jason Isbell’s voice on every song on this album, you aren’t listening close enough. Simple but interesting rock accompaniment creates the perfect background for haunting, grounded lyrics about the struggles and thoughts of a human life. When you’re in the mood for something edgy, but not far-fetched, this album is perfect.

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10 Albums for the Adventurous Country Music Listener