"Bring You Back" - Brett Eldredge
What a year it has been for Warner Brothers. Eldredge is a huge part of that success story, as the Illinois native rolled out a debut album that included one of the format's top radio moments in "Don't Ya," and also brought awareness that one of the most soulful singers since T. Graham Brown or Con Hunley had arrived in town.
"12 Stories" - Brandy Clark
She's a writer extraordinaire, and has earned the praise of true country experts like Marty Stuart. Many jumped on the "Clark Express" after hearing this incredible project that proves being traditional-based need not be hokey. This album might not feature one top-40 hit, and that's just fine.
"Two Lanes of Freedom" - Tim McGraw
In leaving Curb Records behind, McGraw simply wanted to be able to make the kind of record he wanted to make. Enter Scott Borchetta and Big Machine, who allowed the singer to record what has been his most varied album with material both heavy and light. The hits have been great off this disc, but the album cuts? Even better – which is always the case of a great album.
"Same Trailer Different Park" - Kacey Musgraves
We have used the Loretta Lynn comparison quite a bit in The 615 to describe Musgraves and her ability to craft songs and performances that nobody else would have the guts to do, and to be honest – the description applies. This is pure hillbilly poetry as nobody else has done in a long time.
"Like a Rose" - Ashley Monroe
There are few acts that have such a vocal fan club as Monroe does within the industry, and this album more than delivered on that promise. Credit Warner Brothers for believing in the East Tennessee native, Vince Gill for producing one for the ages, but most of all Monroe for her talent as a tunesmith and vocalist. If this is the future -- and Musgraves and Clark come along, too -- then we're in very good hands.