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All Country News' 10 Best Country Albums Of 2023

2023 has been a knock-out year for country music, and this group of 10 country music albums represent the best our genre has to offer. Containing introspective ballads to the most streamed song of 2023 - these 10 albums rose to the top of country music!

#1 Stephen Wilson Jr | søn of dad

Welcome country music's mad scientist. The 22 song debut album via Big Loud records is a collection of honest songs about the little ditties that weave in and out of our lives. A homage to his late father, the sonically provocative tracks offer up stages of grief and the realization that he is in fact his father's blood. Highlighted by the poignant patches, the clever and nostalgic "Year to Be Young 1994", the poetic "twisted", and the tear- jerking double entendre of "Hang In There", the depth and dynamics of this album shine. The midwesterner's earnest view of the world around him makes søn of dad our pick for best album of 2023!

#2 Ashley McBryde | The Devil I Know

Ashley McBryde puts it all on the line in perhaps her most in depth project to date. The country badass has never shied away from real life stories told in dynamic and approachable ways, and this project is no exception. Magical moments weave in and out of all 11 tracks, offering up poignant stories for the most acute moments in life. Covering the gambit of life's moments, from finding the best dive bars in town, to dealing with traumas, to knowing that the light is always on in Mama's kitchen, Ashley makes real stories for real people. Highlighted by creative narratives like "Single At The Same Time", "Women Ain't Whiskey" and "Blackout Betty", Ashley once again takes the genre to new heights.

#3 Charles Wesley Godwin | Family Ties

Cinematic storyteller Charles Wesley Godwin has taken the genre by storm. Bringing together the best of classic country themes and more out of the box narratives, Family Ties showcases Godwin's down-home grit and charisma. From note to note, the project is a finite collection of character-driven songs about mortality, hope, and regret, putting an intimate spin on the universal concerns we all share. Tied together by sharp songwriting and sultry instrumentation, magic can be found in every note of this one of a kind collection of stories.

#4 Chris Stapleton | Higher

What can't we say about this album? A true masterclass is songwriting. Higher elevates the genre to new heights. Moments of genius weave in and out of each note. A true musical tapestry of the human condition, the album serves as a mentor for any listeners who may need guidance. From story to story, Stapleton's voice demands your attention in the most poignant of ways. Not forceful or boastful, Chris uses his magnetic creativity to connect with fans on a deeper level. Perhaps the most introspective and thought-provoking track off the album sits proudly in the number ten space. "The Bottom" is the perfect culmination of Stapleton's insatiable creativity. Higher is a country music fan's album. Covering moments of doubt, joy and everything in between, Higher is an album you can have on repeat forever. Country music isn't always about trucks and beer, it is about the stories that connect us all, and with that Chris is our ringleader.

#5 Hailey Whitters | I'm In Love

I'm In Love highlights Hailey Whitters' innate ability to find the best story and allow the words to come to life. Her deep dive into the good and bad of love stories has allowed Hailey to shine! Always true to herself and not afraid to be a little left of center, the reigning ACM New Female Artist is a swift return to the sounds and stories that make country music great! The whole project has a sort of corn fed whimsy to it. Full of stories that allow fans to place themselves into, Hailey once again manages to stay true to her roots and inspire others to live out their own Midwest fairy tales.

#6 Cody Johnson | Leather

Country music's favorite crooner held nothing back. Leather offers up 12 diverse tracks, all brought to life by Cody's Texas tenor. The album provides a plethora of narratives that showcase in depth, finite yet universal moments. Pulling from Johnson's own values, the album celebrates the hardworking folk from every facet of their lives. From celebrating the humble "Work Boot", the gut- wrenching "Watching My Old Flame", and who can forget the masterclass in I love you "The Painter". Cody’s classic tone is unmatched and narrates stories that only come along once in a generation.

#7 Morgan Wallen | One Thing At A Time

Let's just start by saying that the sheer volume of songs of this record-breaking album is something to be in awe of. Superstar Morgan Wallen once again brings country music to the masses with One Thing At A Time. The deeply personal 36-song album combines all of Wallen's musical influences, running the gambit in both sound and subject. With his one of a kind delivery and signature Tennessee drawl, Morgan Wallen's innate ability to bring all 36 songs to life is impressive. Standouts include the record shattering "Last Night", the introspective "Keith Whitley" and the catchy "Cowgirls" alongside friend ERNEST. Covering the gamut of topics that make country music great, Morgan's ability to create engaging narratives for all generations makes this album one for the ages.

#8 Megan Moroney | Lucky

Perhaps one of the best writers on Music Row has bust out of her shell. Full of personality, Megan's debut album proves that she isn't just lucky but a stellar and thoughtful tunesmith. Like stories ripped from a young woman's diary, each song magnifies feelings that seldom get to see the light of day. A true girl’s girl, Megan approaches each song with care and a healthy dash of sass. Highlighted by creative melodies and captivating lyrics, Lucky is one of those albums that will catapult a career.

#9 Chase Rice | I Hate Cowboys & All Dogs Go To Hell

Perhaps the most surprising album of the year left us feeling inspired. Stripping away the chains of who he thought he should be, Chase Rice delivers the project of his career. Injecting his soul and own personal story in all 13 tracks, Chase teamed up with some of the best tunesmiths in town to tell his story, his way. From honoring his father, to perhaps the best song of the year "Bench Seat", Chase oozes confidence from note to note. Taking the driver's seat on a wild ride to personal and professional redemption, Chase manages to not only heal himself, but his fans as well. 

#10 Colby Acuff | Western White Pines

Colby Acuff has stamped his way to country superstardom with his playful and earnest major label debut with Western White Pines. Across these ten tracks, written mainly by Acuff alone, the Idaho native demonstrates his rugged spirit with lyrics filled with grit and a healthy dose of authenticity. A true celebration of the best sonics the genre can bring, Colby leans into sounds and stories that light him on fire. A true breath of fresh air, each song offers up quintessential country narratives backed by Colby's back home tone. Unique from top to bottom, Colby's take on modern country is leading the charge.


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