10. John Moreland – In The Throes [Last Chance]
Fifth album from this Oklahoma-based songwriter and lyrical wiz. Northern Kentucky roots and a punk, hardcore, and metal background.
9. Old Crow Medicine Show – Remedy [ATO]
First studio album without founding member Willie Watson doesn’t miss a beat. Another sweet Dylan co-write.
8. Jon Byrd – Route 41 [Longleaf Pine]
South Alabama native drives Route 41 frequently to Nashville and back. Listens to his friends songs and records them for this stellar country album.
7. The Delines – Colfax [El Cortez]
Richmond Fontaine’s Willy Vlautin writes country/soul songs for Damnations singer Amy Boone and scores big time.
6. Lucinda Williams – Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone [Highway 20/Thirty Tigers]
The 12th album by the pride of Lake Charles features guests Greg Leisz, Jonathan Wilson, Ian McLagan, Tony Joe White, Bill Frisell, and Jakob Dylan to maximum effect.
5. Drive-By Truckers – English Oceans [ATO]
Mike Cooley plays a larger role and this Muscle Shoals/Athens band continues a nice post-Isbell groove.
4. Sean Watkins – All I Do Is Lie [Roaring Girl]
The least-heralded member makes the best solo album to come from Nickel Creek yet with this melancholy beauty.
3. Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin – Play And Sing The Songs Of Big Bill Broonzy [Yep Roc]
Their love of Broonzy results in their first album together in 30 years and they follow it up with the best tour of the year. Only the fact that it’s covers keeps it out of the top slot.
2. Rosanne Cash – The River And The Thread [Blue Note]
On her 13th album, Rosanne lyrically and musically tours the South that made her who she is – a master storyteller.
1. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music [High Top Mountain/Thirty Tigers]
Second solo album from this Jackson, Ky., country singer sounds like Waylon fronting Spyboy.