14: Tears the Size of Texas, Ben Burgess- A tremendous debut effort from Ben Burgess lands him at #14 on our countdown. Burgess songwriting roots come to forefront to craft a project packed with phenomenally crafted songs. Started A Band sticks out as a personal favorite, as Burgess plays the role of heartbroken to triumphant narrator throughout the ever-evolving track. Burgess rocking voice and honest, deeply genuine lyrics form a combo that is distinct and a uniquely intriguing listen.
13: Leave the Light On, Bailey Zimmerman- Sticking with the theme of incredible debut project’s, Bailey Zimmerman’s, Leave the Light On, most certainly did not disappoint. Zimmerman’s raspy vocals and penchant for a heartbreaking lyric has seen him take Nashville by storm throughout the past year, and Zimmerman’s debut album showcases what makes him such a special artist. From the heartbreaking, Fall in Love, to the beautiful, Never Leave, Zimmerman connects with listeners through sheer honesty and vulnerability throughout Leave the Light On.
12: The Last Resort: Greetings From, Midland- The most Midland of Midland albums from the title all the way through, The Last Resort: Greetings From, features many of the classic country elements Midland are known for showcasing, along with many fun and modern twists. Sunrise Tells the Story is the album’s best encapsulation of Midland at it’s finest, chock full of fun wordplay with serious undertones, Sunrise Tells the Story is a sad boy fever dream and emblematic of Midland’s unique way to make old stories sound new and fresh.
11: Bell Bottom Country, Lainey Wilson- It has truly been the year of Lainey Wilson. From capturing both New Artist of the Tear and Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMA’s, Wilson’s already soaring star has kicked into overdrive, and her brand-new album, Bell Bottom Country, only added fuel to the Lainey train. Heart Like a Truck is the obvious standout on this project, but the project is a top-notch listen throughout, as Wilson continues to show why she just might be country’s new IT girl.
10: firstborn, Nicolle Galyon- Hitmaker Nicolle Galyon tried her hand at artistry this year, and the results were simply stunning. Galyon’s ability to turn a phrase is second to none and an unmistakable focal point of each track on the project. Galyon’s way with words is possibly best evidenced on Self Care, breaming with confidence, Galyon learns to let go of the past and quit caring about what no longer holds value in her life, the flawless execution of Self Care and First Born as a whole, is a testament to Galyon’s artistic genius along with her willingness to lean on her collaborators, who just happen to be some of Nashville’s best.