The 10 Best Country Albums of 2017: Critics’ Picks
You hear a lot about the newcomers each year in country music, but veteran performers had a strong artistic year in 2017, landing the lion’s share of Billboard’s listing of the best country albums this year.
That doesn’t mean we didn’t have love for a couple of newcomers in our rankings, though, with our top two LPs even being debut projects.
1. Lindsay Ell, The Project
After searching for a signature sound the past few years, Ell turned to Kristian Bush to steer the musical ship from the producer’s chair -– and the Sugarland member wisely stepped out of the way and simply let Ell present her music the way that she has always wanted to. The writing and the performing were first-rate, but listen to those guitar riffs – they don’t come from seasoned Nashville veteran players, that’s the artist herself. There are few acts out there as deserving or as hard-working as Lindsay Ell, and she deserves this time in the spotlight.
2. Midland, On the Rocks
3. Darius Rucker, When Was the Last Time
4. Brantley Gilbert, The Devil Don’t Sleep
5. Lee Ann Womack, The Lonesome, The Lonely, and The Gone
6. Chris Stapleton, From A Room, Volume 1
7. Lady Antebellum, Heart Break
8. Kelsea Ballerini, Unapologetically
9. Lee Brice, Lee Brice
10. Sara Evans, Words