We were graced with some great new music in 2018 which included some of our favorite artists releasing new albums or their debut albums. These are the albums we couldn’t get enough of this year.
Home State – Jordan Davis
In 2017 Jordan Davis burst on to the country music scene and made one heck of an entrance with “Singles You Up.” It ended up reaching #1 and he ended up releasing his debut album Home State on March 23, 2018. He released “Take It From Me” and it has steadily climbed the charts, currently at 16. A mix of R&B to Southern Blues, Home State is a complete and well rounded album, with any one of the 12 tracks easily able to become a radio single. From start to finish the album has a little of everything.
Mercury Lane – Jimmie Allen
We are so happy to see the success that Jimmie Allen had this year. His debut single “Best Shot” was resilient and continued to climb the charts, eventually giving him his first #1 song. The best part was that he dropped a full-length album this fall with numerous songs that could be his next big time single. While 2018 brought Jimmie his first #1 song and his debut album, something’s telling us that 2019 is going to be an even bigger 2019.
Ticket to L.A. – Brett Young
While Brett Young released his sophomore album only a month ago, it still makes our list for one of our favorite albums of the year. His debut album ended up with three #1s and a #2 song so the pressure for a successful follow album was on Brett. And he’s certainly delivered. The lead single “Here Tonight” is making its way up the chart, currently in the teens. However, with an array of songs that have major radio play potential this album is going to make Brett Young one of the most played artists next year.
Cry Pretty – Carrie Underwood
Country music is always better when Carrie Underwood is releasing new music. With the release of her 6th studio album Cry Pretty, she made it known that she is back and better than ever. The title track “Cry Pretty” went all the way to #5. Many people, ourselves included, think this is some of Carrie’s best work. It may be a different or newer sounding Carrie than we’re use to, but we’re huge fans of the songs on this fantastic album. We’re anxious to see what comes of it in the next two years.
All of It – Cole Swindell
Cole Swindell released his third studio album All Of It late summer and man is it something to listen to. The lead single “Break Up in the End” peaked at #2 on the charts and his newest release “Love You Too Late” just entered the charts and looks to make a quick climb to the top. The album has everything we love about Cole. There’s the party jam “Sounded Good Last Night,” the somber ballad “Somebody’s Been Drinkin’,” and one his most personal songs to date in “Dad’s Old Number.” This album deserves some award nominations at the awards shows next year.
Dark Horse – Devin Dawson
Newcomer Devin Dawson has taken the country music industry by storm with his first album, Dark Horse. For a debut album, one can tell that Dawson knows exactly who he is and what kind of music he wants to make. Blending numerous genres, with a distinct rock sound, Dawson is a lyrical mastermind. The California native created an album that sounds like nothing that is in country music today. It’s an album that has a darker undertone but still consists of love songs, heartbreak, and Dawson’s own qualms of not being the traditional sounding artist.
Desperate Man – Eric Church
After three long years Church gifted his fans with an 11 track, classic Church sounding album. The songs on the album have more of a 1960s sound to them, light on the instruments, heavy on Church’s haunting and distinct voice. It’s more reminiscent of Church’s earlier albums, Carolina and Sinners Like Me, and less rock and roll than The Outsiders. Each song is fresh and new, but it makes a listener feel nostalgic, like something you’ve heard before.
Girl Goin’ Nowhere – Ashley McBryde
Ashley McBryde shines in her debut, full-length album. Each song tells a story, whether a love story or the dark truth of small town USA. The entire album is so refreshing and unique; you can listen to it on repeat all day and still never tire of it. McBryde and this album deserve more credit than it has been given, because a lot of country fans are missing out on some of the best songs of the year.
Side B – Jillian Jacqueline
A follow up to 2017’s Side A, Side B is a project showcasing Jillian’s incredible songwriting ability. The EP is a refreshing sound that we think needs a permanent place in country music. Her killer voice brings her personal songs to life as well. There is no such thing as too much Jillian Jacqueline music, and the country music world needs more. We’re anxiously awaiting a full-length album.
Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves
Simple yet complicated, sad and happy, the album has an overall sound to it that you don’t hear much in any genre, let alone country music. Musgraves is truly an artist that only writes and sings what she wants, no matter if it will be a commercial success or not. Even if you haven’t traditionally been a Kacey Musgraves fan in the past this album can get you on board with a few songs you’ll love.
Experiment – Kane Brown
This album, which was released in November, is going to make huge waves in 2019. Brown is another artist that does things his way and isn’t afraid to mix musical stylings while still remaining country to his core. Brown knows who he is and what his fans want, so he meticulously blends the modern country sound with some traditional sounding melodies and instrumentals to create a cool project.