Country California

Country music. Seriously.

Best Country Albums of 2008

All of these albums have been amply covered elsewhere, so I’m just going to list them and throw it to you for discussion. First, though, one note: I didn’t make a point of trying to police the boundaries of the genre, so anything that gets talked about in country publications in print or online was fair game. As a result, there’s everything from contemporary country to folk to almost straight-up rock to traditional country of various sorts (drawing on different eras and traditions). It’s a list that pretty well encapsulates my interests in the country-ish arena. To see some of the other albums that were in contention, visit the Best of 2008 section in my Amazon store.

Feel free to post your own list (only six more weeks!) or just make fun of mine.


Call Me Crazy

Lee Ann Womack


The New World

Bruce Robison



Reckless Kelly



Kathy Mattea


The Good Life

Justin Townes Earle


Sleepless Nights

Patty Loveless


Trouble in Mind

Hayes Carll


The Life of a Song

Joey + Rory


Rattlin’ Bones

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson


That Lonesome Song

Jamey Johnson

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  1. Methinks we’re going to have a fair bit of overlap, though our CU lists won’t be coming down the pike for a little while yet.

  2. You mean you’re waiting until the end of the year? Pttff.

    I’ll have my 2009 list up in March.

  3. It seems like every day there are multiple little reminders for me to get Rattlin’ Bones, maybe I’m destined to listen to it or something. xD

    Love the addition of Coal on your list, truly a spectacular album, I say while listening to Beyonce’s new CD. xD

  4. You’re just so subversive and we’re just so conventional.:)

    I like your list. I’d probably play around with your top six a bit, but my list would look very similar to yours. What a shock, huh?

    Chris D,

    Email me at
    [email protected].

    And, no, I won’t be offering him any illegal music. Don’t worry.

  5. Leeann, I sent you an e-mail.

  6. Patty’s not #1!!!

    Just kidding. I refuse to divulge my list yet, but Patty Loveless will not be at the top of it. You heard it here first.

  7. I obviously meant to intersperse question marks with exclamation points in that first phrase.

  8. Really, Blake? I thought you were simply shouting that Patty isn’t #1.:)

    I really don’t think my number one is a secret, though the rest of the list will be. Now that my #1 has been revealed, does my list really matter now?

  9. Nice picks! At least six of those are in my top 20 of the year.

  10. I like the early posting — allows me to put some of these on my Christmas list! :)

  11. Well, looking at this list again, I realize that there’s only one album that I don’t already own on it, the Womack album. Since we agree so much on music, please tell me why I should get it and I’ll likely take your word for it. I wasn’t really impressed with the clips, but my mind has been changed before and you have the best chance of doing it again.

  12. I believe the Womack album is deserving of your attention because, while its sound is not as consistently traditional as There’s More Where That Came From, the fact that she’s still coming from a place of essential traditionalism inflects even much of the poppy type material, making the album as a whole more serious, adult, and sad than we’re used to seeing from a mainstream artist.

    How was that?

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