All Country News: Best Albums Of 2022
2022 has been an iconic year for country music, and not only because the Turnpike Troubadours are back in action, and the woman are taking over (even though that does help).
I guess you could say COVID-19 was a blessing and a curse for country music. While 2020 and 2021 were hit or miss for live country music, it did allow artists to hone in on their songwriting craft!
As concerts and festivals started back up again and are now in full swing, artists and bands have found themselves with an abundance of new material to record and release. As a result, tons of new music has been coming out each week throughout 2022.
Here are our picks for the best country albums of 2022!
Palomino – Miranda Lambert – 4/29/22
Despite Lambert's longtime stance in the country music community, the ACM and CMA winner was able to make positive light out of down time during the pandemic. Pulling from her Texas roots, Palomino brings out a new vulnerable era to Miranda. Palomino is one of her best yet. “Carousel” “Geraldene” and “If I Was a Cowboy” were all standout tracks.
Shot Glass – Randall King – 3/18/22
Straight out of West Texas, Randall King's signature twang is taking over. With music reminiscent of 80s and 90s country classics, full of traditional instruments, and strong storytelling, Randall's mark has been made. His sophomore album, Shot Glass is a honky tonk dream “Hey Cowgirl” and "Middle of Nowhere Church" are two of our favorites.
Dispatch to 16th Ave. – Muscadine Bloodline – 2/4/22
Proudly independent, Alabama duo of Charlie Muncaster and Gary Stanton absolutely smashed their second album Dispatch to 16th Ave. A unique jab at mainstream country music and the Nashville scene, Muscadine Bloodline keeps it authentically southern. Plus it is hard to ignore the musical artistry as the album seems like one big continuous tune. "Dyin' For A Livin'" "Southern" and "Dispatch to 16th Ave" were standouts for ACN.
Somewhere Between The Secret And The Truth – Wade Bowen – 8/12/22
Country music veteran Wade Bowen has been releasing music for nearly two decades. The album is a perfect blend of Bowen's strong songwriting, Texas tradition and 90s twang. Plus did we mention there are duets with Vince Gill and Lori McKenna! The album is a deep dive into everything Wade loves about the genre and is truly a must listen! We love "Beautiful World" "Other End of The Bar" "A Guitar, A Singer, And A Song."
SUBJECT TO CHANGE – Kelsea Ballerini – 9/23/22
The superstar’s highly-anticipated fourth studio album follows a period of tumult, in both her personal and professional life. The highly introspective record takes the perspective of accepting what life throws at us and embracing change. It contains Ballerini’s signature country-pop vocals, as well as some of the best songwriting we’ve ever seen. “MARILYN,” “DOIN’ MY BEST,” and “WEATHER” especially stood out to us.
Lindeville – Ashley McBryde – 9/30/22
McBryde’s collaboration-heavy project portrays the happenings in a fictional town called Lindeville. With this unique, imaginative approach, the album gives vivid descriptions of various settings, characters, and plots within the small town. “If These Dogs Could Talk,” “Bonfire at Tina’s” and “The Girl In The Picture” especially drew us in.
Bell Bottom Country – Lainey Wilson – 10/28/22
This record is all about country with a flare!! Mixing classic country with mainstream pop and 70s retro influences, Wilson finds her unique sound here. The reigning CMA New Artist and Female Vocalist Of The Year sings of her personal experiences and identity. “New Friends,” “Atta Girl” and “This One’s Gonna Cost Me” have to be our favorites!
On The Edge – Stephanie Quayle – 11/4/22
Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Quayle allows music to heal her past trauma. The album tackles a multitude of emotions attached to grief and subsequent betrayal. Her breakthrough project puts the complex process of recovery in perspective. The whole album brought us to tears, but “The Lost Years,” “Last Breath,” and “Only Good Will Come Of This” especially touched us.
What Else Can She Do – Kaitlin Butts – 4/15/22
Everybody knew Kaitlin Butts had it in her to drop something spectacular at some point, it was just a matter of time. Only her second album, and first since 2015, What Else Can She Do was heavily anticipated and has more than lived up to the hype.
With her dynamic vocals and chilling storytelling, Butt’s is one of the most underrated acts in all of music, and hopefully this album will change that. "It won’t always be this way”, “in the pines” and “she’s using” are our picks!
American Heartbreak – Zach Bryan – 5/20/22
While he was well on his way prior to 2022, Zach Bryan has officially become a country music superstar this year. Containing 34 songs, his third album is the best work of his young career and has catalyzed his ascent to the top of country music.
In true Zach Bryan fashion, the album features unmatched lyricism and storytelling that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotion, and you’ll enjoy every minute of it.
Not only is American Heartbreak the best album of the year so far, it’s the best album I’ve heard in years. “Heavy Eyes” “Whiskey Fever” “Something in the Orange” are our standout tracks.
Tornillo - Whiskey Myers - 2/18/22
A testament to Texas band Whiskey Myers' southern-rock sound, the band's sixth full-length album Tornillo was a hit on the country, rock, and independent charts. Largely co-written by frontman Cody Cannon, the album is a lyrical and sonic maturation for one of the most exciting indie country bands out there right now. "John Wayne" , "Heavy On Me" and "The Wolf" are standout tracks!
Where We Started - Thomas Rhett - 4/1/22
With his sixth studio album, Rhett celebrates his first decade in country music by reflecting on his roots. Like much of his work, the project contains many songs celebrating his wife, but also pays tribute to beer, fishing, the changing of seasons, and a simple lifestyle. We’re obsessed with “Bring The Bar,” “Bass Pro Hat,” 'Death Row" and “Slow Down Summer.”
Raised - Hailey Whitters - 3/18/22
Whitters’ first major-label album showcases the development in her vocals since her 2020 breakthrough. Composed from an authentic Midwest perspective, the record communicates how Whitters grew up and who she is today. “College Town,” “Raised,” and “In A Field Somewhere” are our favorites.
Flower Shops: The Album - ERNEST - 3/11/22
This career-defining project contains many more gems than its breakout title track. ERNEST’s talent as both a singer and songwriter is on full display, embracing a variety of techniques. He infuses classic country, mainstream pop, and rap influences into one flawless record. “Tennessee Queen,” “Sucker For Small Towns, and “Flower Shops” stood out to us.