Country California

Country music. Seriously.

Best Country Albums of 2010: Progress Report

Trailer posted his halfway list at Farce the Music, so I figured I might as well start doing some of the groundwork for my own. The dirty secret of year-end lists is that they’re never done; at some point, you just get sick enough of shuffling things around that you say “good enough” and move on. That said, here’s my current working list of the Top 20 Country Albums of 2010.

It’s roughly organized from top to bottom, but I intentionally left off numerical rankings because the individual positions will certainly continue to change during the second half of the year. So all you can really deduce from the order of this list is that, as it stands right now, I like something near the top of the list a bit more than something in the middle, and something in the middle a bit more than something near the bottom. Make sense? I’d love to hear from you about any glaring omissions so I can be sure to give them a chance at the final list.

Johnny Cash – American VI: Ain’t No Grave
Johnny Gimble – Celebrating with Friends
Mike Stinson – The Jukebox in Your Heart
Eleven Hundred Springs – This Crazy Life
Willie Nelson – Country Music
Elizabeth Cook – Welder
Adam Carroll & Michael O’Connor – Hard Times
Joe Diffie – Homecoming: The Bluegrass Album (upcoming)
Darrell Scott – A Crooked Road
Alan Jackson – Freight Train
The Grascals – The Famous Lefty Flynn’s
Hellbound Glory – Old Highs and New Lows
The Steeldrivers – Reckless (upcoming)
Dierks Bentley – Up on the Ridge
Chely Wright – Lifted Off the Ground
Gary Allan – Get Off On the Pain
Randy Kohrs – Quicksand
Drew Kennedy – Alone, But Not Lonely (live)
Rodney Hayden – Tavern of Poets
Merle Haggard – I Am What I Am

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Amber Digby & Justin Trevino, Catherine Britt, Teea Goans

Jamey Johnson, Joey + Rory, a few nice surprises

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  1. I’ll have to take your word for this CM as the only album on the list I own is Alan Jackson’s “Freight Train”, and that’s because I won a copy! Can’t say I’m motivated to acquire any of the others…

    What, Sunny Sweeney’s new album doesn’t even make the “Expecting To Clear Spots For” list. Having heard it I’m not sure it would make the list anyway. The only upcoming album release I’m really looking forward to right now is from The Wrights sometime in August. They need to redeem themselves after “In The Summertime”.

    I don’t know when The Marshall Ford Swing Band’s album “Its About Dam Time” was released, but I think its far more enjoyable than the Johnny Gimble album. Of course its Johnny’s granddaughter Emily’s lead vocals on most tracks which makes it so irresistible! There’s talent running in that gene pool to be sure.

    I doubt that Catherine Britt’s new self-titled album will make the list once you get to hear it. Its alright but it doesn’t come anywhere close to “Too Far Gone” or “Dusty Smiles & Heartbreak Cures”. Oh well…

  2. CM, if Chet Flippo’s telling the truth, it appears we all need to make room for the upcoming debut album from “The Secret Sisters” later this year. I like the fact they hail from Muscle Shoals, while I’m not so excited to read Jack White is producing some new tracks they are recording currently. Sounds like Brennen Leigh needs to get up to Nashville and stop by Chet’s office so she can charm him with her music as well!

    Chet’s new Nashville Skyline:

  3. I’d say leave a spot for Elvis Costello’s new record, American Ransom, which is coming out in October. Produced by T-Bone Burnett, the players Jim Lauderdale, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Mike Compton, Jeff Taylor, Dennis Crouch, plus some others and features a song called I Lost You he wrote with Jim which is a cracker. I’m pretty excited about this one.

    Can’t wait for the Jamey Johnson record! A double album no less!

  4. Not gonna lie: I’m most excited for the new Little Big Town. I know not everybody ’round these parts digs their records, though.

  5. Good list! I’m glad to see Elizabeth Cook and Eleven Hundred Springs in there. Also, Hellbound Glory’s album is fantastic. Can’t wait to see what the future brings for Leroy Virgil and company!

  6. If you are counting live albums, I really like High In The Rockies from Jason Boland & The Stragglers.

  7. Forgot to mention in anticipated releases section: Marty Stuart.

  8. I hope you left a big spot for Jamey. Guitar Song is sublime.

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