Top 21 Albums of 2021
There was a lot to be thankful for this year in terms of music. Some credit staying at home with not much else to do. Others have shared that they were already working on new music when everything was shut down due to COVID19. The albums, and EP's that circulated were fantastic with many among our best of list. We will share the albums list next week. For this best of list, we wanted to share the singles, and songs that pulled us through this tenuous time be it through an uptempo danceable ditty or a wistful ode to a lost love and everything in between.
Our methodology for how the albums were picked is very straightforward. The listeners of the #StoneColdCountry show click on the heart icon on our web player when they like a song. We also counted the web chats, and website form sends stating a particular song was well received, and not just a general like for the artist. We then took note of multiple songs liked from the same album.For the tie breakers, we let our member community vote through an emailed poll. In order to qualify, the album had to be released in 2021. The list is not in any particular order. We as a rule do not rank music or choose a top album for the year. As always, we ask you to follow the artists across social media, share their music across your accounts, buy their merchandise, and see them live whenever possible. And don't forget to share this post which will help music fans to discover awesome music, and expand the reach of the artists. Don't forget to subscribe to our blog here. Also, we are still working on this list y'all. Your patience is appreciated..
The Top 21 Albums of 2021
Alan Jackson-Where Have You Gone
Alan Jackson has long been one of the remaining pillars of traditional country. His long awaited album promised to be a throwback to the music that established his legacy.
It did not disappoint with over 20 songs of nothing but stone cold country! This album carries one of the most beautiful songs I've heard Alan sing "So Late, So Soon". One of the only songs not written by Alan. The album debuted at number one all-over the world, which was no surprise to us given the feedback we received early on. This one is not only flawless, but gave us hope for traditional country, and personally inspired me. Thank you Mr. Jackson..
Asleep At The Wheel-Half a Hundred Years
Asleep At The Wheel is one of the most enduring bands in Western swing thanks to an unwavering commitment to the roots of the music. Half a Hundred Years is a celebration amongst friends with a tsunami of notable collaborations. The title came by way of a chance encounter with Jamey Johnson. Ray Benson, told Jamey it had been fifty years that the band was together. Jamey mused that was half to a hundred..Willie, Lyle, George Strait, and Lee Ann Womack are just a few that provided their talents to what is one of the finest releases of 2021!
Addison Johnson-Dark Side of the Mountain
Addison Johnson might not be on your radar just yet, but he should be. Tar Heel born, but now based in Nashville, his story songs take you on journeys of life, love, and loss. Dark Side of The Mountain is Addison's third album. It is partially reflective with snapshots into what Addison went through while battling alcohol. This album shows an increased songwriting maturity, and progression in craft. The stories are well written, and take us on an interesting journey where anything is possible. The album debuted at #2 on the iTunes Country Pre-Order Chart.
Dallas Moore- The Rain
Mr. Honky Tonk went deep, and reflective on this one. Written, and recorded during the pandemic, Better Days, On Through The Night, and Ain't No Place In The Sun are narratives
we can relate to. However, it was In My Last Days that stopped us dead in our tracks. It's a side of Dallas we have not heard before. It may well be the best song he's ever written, and given the passing of his longtime friend, and bandmate Chuckie, we wonder,if it was written about him..
Caleb Daugherty- Mornings
One of the rising stars in bluegrass is a phrase I'm starting to hear more frequently when describing Caleb Daugherty. Rhonda Vincent recognized Caleb's talent early on, and asked him to join her on the Grand Ole Opry stage in 2016. His performance with Rhonda Vincent on the Smithsonian Folkway's Industrial Strength Bluegrass project is northing short of heavenly. Mornings is Caleb's third album, and is not as bluegrass as Burnt The Sawmill Down. Mornings is squarely traditional country with nods to one of his greatest influences Keith Whitley. By the way, Lorrie Morgan, is a fan of Caleb's, and invited him to perform at the Annual Keith Whitley Memorial concert. I was happy to see an old song from ex Lefty Frizzell songwriting partner Whitey Shaffer dusted off. But the standout is a little known song written by Dean Dillon, and George Strait! The song in question is "Drinkin' Man", and it also made it to our best songs of 2021 list.
Rory Feek- Gentle Man
What can be written about Rory that is not already known? His life was picture perfect until his beautiful wife passed on in 2016. The movie, To Joey With Love chronicles the unfortunate series of events. This is Rory's first album since, and it is a deeply reflective, and mature take on life, love, and faith. The latter something that has clearly supported, and strengthened Rory throughout. Several of the songs were co-written by Rory, and gives us a peak into where he was, and where he is. This is a beautiful album that doesn't downplay or glamorize heartache. It does however, give us permission to feel our pain, while tightening our hold on the hope that only tomorrow can bring.
Jamie Richards-The Real Deal
For the past 20 years or so, Jamie has pulled no punches with his strait forward brand of honky tonk country music. The Real Deal, Jamie's fifth studio album gives us more of the traditional country, we've grown to love from him. Aptly titled, this album made Jamie take several trips to the Texas Regional Radio Charts. And of course, nearly every song was written by Jamie. With his latest crop of #1 singles, Jamie sits at nine Texas chart toppers wow!
In a year where there wasn't a lot of instability in music, our honky tonks were shut down, and some were not able to open back up ever again. It was nice to know that you could depend on Jamie to bring a smile back on our faces with stone cold country music. Jamie was also, my most played artist on Spotify for 2021. Thanks Jamie, can't wait to hear what's next!
Ray Scott-Cover The Earth