Raised Rowdy 24 Pack- Top Albums of 2018

Team Raised Rowdy
Music Fanatics 

We wanted to take a moment to say how great of a year of music this had been.  There were truly some special projects by some game changing artists in 2018. Our favorite albums ranged from upbeat tailgate tracks to heart-crushing songs about addiction and lost love.  We at Raised Rowdy would like to thank these artists for being the soundtracks to our lives. Through the good times and the bad the highs and the lowest of lows, country music and these artist songs have been there to heal, enhance and enlighten. That is what country music is truly about.

We would also like to thank all our readers/ podcast listeners, meme likers or anyone that has thrown support our way in any form, without you there is no Raised Rowdy.  We are building what we hoped we could, a community of country music loving people based in positivity to spread the love of country music, a good time and helping the talented artists who deserve more than what they get to see their due.  We can’t thank you enough for coming on this journey with us and please know the best is yet to come.  

Sorry for getting a little off topic there but now on to our albums of the year! 

We took the projects that we loved this year and put them up to vote to our writers. It takes a village to Raise a Rowdy (sorry that was pretty cheesy). but we thought it was important to include our team in the rankings to make sure this was a true reflections of our collective tastes. That is what makes us who we are. So due to that there is no formal rankings. These though are what we as a team came up with for albums of the year. We hope you enjoy our list as much as we enjoyed listening to these killer albums all year.  

 

Adam Wakefield, Gods & Ghosts

Wakefield’s mixture of his soulful voice and authentic lyrics really creates a trust between him and the listener. Each song on this album tells a different story that many can relate to. His presentation and voice are something that many fans will compare to superstar Chris Stapleton, putting him in good company. -Brad

 

Ashley McBryde, Girl Going Nowhere

This album is what country music has needed for a few years now; powerful vocals, incredible backing band and a scale of songs that take you on an emotional roller-coaster. One of my favorite albums of the past 5 years not just 2018. -Nick

Honest songwriting and captivating hooks make this album one of the best of the last decade, much less 2018. When Ashley McBryde tells you a story about living next to a dope dealer or finding herself in a random north Georgia bar — you believe it. That’s what makes an artist next level, and she’s definitely next level. -Chris

 

Ashley Monroe, Sparrow

A collection of songs ranging from sorrow to the struggles and redemption of motherhood. Dave Cobb’s production and Ashley’s emotional lyrics and tone are a marriage made in heaven. -Nick

 

Blackberry Smoke, Find a Light

This album is something that all people can relate to, no matter what genre they prefer. Each songs’s lyrics speak of societal issues and how all of us can work together to get past them while still implementing their southern rock sound. -Brad

 

Brent Cobb, Providence Canyon

Brent Cobb has this unique ability to make lyricism/rapping sound country and cool. He can help anybody find a groove, whether they have rhythm or not. His ability to pair well-crafted lyrics into those grooves is something very few people have the talent to do. -Chris

 

Brothers Osborne, Port Saint Joe

Their mixture of country, rock and blues is something that has been lacking in mainstream country and they have brought those sounds back in this album. With love songs like “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” and the spiritual track “Weed, Whiskey, and Willie”, this album is a project that would make any country legend proud. -Brad

Brothers Osborne’s Port Saint Joe lands on our top albums of 2018 list because of their superb fusion of bluesy vibes and country classic sounds. Both TJ and John Osborne co-wrote all of the ten tracks on the album adding to the distinct Brothers Osborne essence. “While You Still Can” brings home the overall mood that the whole album sets, reminding us, as every good country album does, of the important things in life. -Katelyn

 

Cody Jinks, Lifers

You know a Cody Jink’s record when you hear one and “Lifers” is no different. He maintains that sound country music fans have been longing for without sounding like hes stuck in a rut. My favorite evolution from past records is Jink’s vocal delivery. The difference hit me almost immediately. Not that Cody has ever fallen flat in this department, somehow he takes it to a whole new level. – Jackson

 

Colter Wall, Songs of the Plains

There’s something simplistically powerful about a raspy baritone voice coupled with Kerouacesque lyrics taking you on a ride through the Canadian plains. Another Dave Cobb produced offering, Colter’s sophomore effort doesn’t disappoint. -Ryan

Devin Dawson, Dark Horse

After listening to this album, one would never guess that Dawson’s previous background wa sin heavy metal before stepping into the country music scene. Devin co-wrote all 12 tracks on his debut solo album, including lead single “All On Me”. The tracks range from a mellow, heart-wrenching “Asking For A Friend” to a more rock song “Prison” to pop “Placebo”. Dark Horse is sure to have country music fans hooked in 60 minutes or less. -Brittany

Dark Horse paints images that sit like tintype photos in the corners of your mind. This is as raw and real as it gets. -Trey

 

Dierks Bentley, The Mountain

One of the most complete albums a legit mainstream artist (not named Eric Church) has put out in a long, long time. The Mountain is crafted like a Church record, and Bentley’s ability to sell the songs as an artist showed he has the talent to become more than a “beer drinking song” singer. The entire album — front to back — is something you WANT to listen to on vinyl. That’s a true mark of craftsmanship in the country music world. -Chris

 

Dillon Carmichael, Hell on an Angel

People often say that someone has an old soul, but Dillon has much more than that. His vocals remind you of a time past with musical renditions that are as country as vintage music. Dave Cobb really brought Dillon’s songs to life in this project. “That’s What Hank Would Do” has solid advice for any artist trying to keep true to themselves and also pay tribute to the artists that made them love the genre in the first place. -Nick

This album is as country as it gets in an era when country music struggles to come to grips with how it wants to sound and what it wants to be. With a Kentucky voice that seems to effortlessly borrow from the king, George Straight and Jamey Johnson this Dave Cobb produced album will have you falling in love with country music all over again. -Ryan

 

Eric Church, Desperate Man

Eric Church never fails to deliver with the release of a new record. Desperate Man is no different. This is an album that I can play over and over again without skipping a single song. The classic sound and meaningful lyrics will prove to stand the test of time, securing Eric Church’s place in country music for years to come. “Some of It” is without a doubt one of my top five favorite Eric Church songs of all time. -Katelyn

Eric Church has the ability to take you on a different journey with every album he has released and this one is no different. Eric takes you on roller coaster from the fast paced “Hangin Around”, then slows it down and reminds you of growing up with “Hippie Radio”. While he has sewn in pieces of previous albums, this one stands on it’s own merits. I spent a lot of time trying to pick my favorite song but enjoy the entire thing so much even my Top 5 is difficult to decide. The only thing that I am missing is hearing him perform these songs live (which I will rectify early next year). -Jon

 

Erik Dylan, Baseball on the Moon

Erik Dylan’s music is some of the most powerful in Nashville today. His songs are lyrically spectacular with the stark emotion that only so many artists can achieve. He is not afraid to talk about topics others often shy away from and explore his emotions/societal ideas on a level most men would be hesitant. Erik really is one of the greatest songwriters of this generation and this project cements that for us. -Nick

 

Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour

In a time where country music is predominately filled with male vocals, this record fills a void in country music. With songs like “Slow Burn” and “Space Cowboy”, Kacey Musgraves solidifies her place in country music, not to mention how much of a bop “High Horse” and “Velvet Elvis” are. -Katelyn

Bold. Unapologetic. An album confidently able to stand on it’s own two feet in the absence of radio propping it up. Equally brilliant whether it’s professing love or throwing jabs, Musgrave’s beautiful Texas twang and timeless lyrics will hold up over the test of time as one the best offerings country music can latch itself to. -Ryan

 

Kenny Chesney, Songs for the Saints

When I think Kenny Chesney, my first thought goes to the islands. That is exactly what this record screams. I believe this album is particularity important this year not only because of its awesome sound, but for it’s homage to the devastation of this years hurricanes on the tropical beaches that Kenny sings about. -Katelyn

 

Lori McKenna, The Tree

When successful songwriters get the chance to showcase their ability as an artist it usually goes to one extreme or the other. I’d say 75 percent of the time, it’s not as good as it would’ve been had a more mainstream artist cut the songs. With this record, that’s simply not the case. Lori McKenna is a strong vocalist with something to say, and hearing it from her with this record was exactly the way it was supposed to be told. -Chris

 

Meghan Patrick Country Music Made Me Do it

Proving you don’t have to have southern lineage to make a splash in Nashville,Canadian Meghan Patrick firmly establishes herself as a power player in the industry with vocals that soar as well as they croon. Touching on a wide ranging spectrum of topics, Patrick delves into heartache as well as joy, showing off a unique songwriting ability that serves this record very well. -Ryan

 

Mitchell Tenpenny, Telling All My Secrets

We are all thankful that Mitchell snuck in this album just before the close of the year. This album will make you laugh your ass off to “Drunk Me” and then cry your eyes out with “Walk Like Him”. -Katelyn

 

Morgan Wallen, If I Know Me

Whether I’m working, driving or at the gym this album has been on repeat since it came out. Morgan has put together an album that has jams like “Up Down” that get a room moving and love songs like “Not Good at Not” that everyone can relate to their life. “Redneck Love Song” is possibly my favorite love song ever. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the mullet helps with my rating of this album. -Jon

 

Pistol Annies, Interstate Gospel

This supergroup’s 3rd album contains sounds of southern rock, honkytonk and a dash of blue-grass. With a sense of wit, virtue and honesty, the trio co-wrote each song about their personal experiences. We’re sure every female can relate to these songs from the heartbreak in “Cheyenne” to the regret in “Milkman”. -Brittany

One of the most anticipated offerings of the year held nothing back and gave us everything we expected. Miranda, Ashley and Angaleena wear scars like trophies and aren’t afraid to let you know where they came from. From divorce to love and all the trappings in between, The Pistol Annies will call your ass out and then buy the next round. -Ryan

 

Ruston Kelly, Dying Star

This album lights a fire in me on so many levels. Lyrically, Ruston takes us on a journey through the depth of dispare and sorrow while at times peaking out of the abyss to catch some daylight. You can feel the authenticity in every song on this album. Sonically, you can hear songs like “Mockingbird” and “Faceplant” played next to the mainstays of mainstream country or adult contemporary without so much as a thought otherwise. What makes them stand out is their personal messages while still being relatable. I have always said if a song can make me 2-3 emotions in one song you can tell how special it is. Dying Star is full of tracks with exactly that. This is Ruston’s Southeastern and I do not throw out that parallel lightly. -Nick

 

Wade Bowen, Solid Ground

This record surprised me. I wasn’t expecting Wade to put out a hardcore ‘Texas’ album. Of course he nailed it.. he’s Wade Bowen! I love how this record is produced; it’s not over-cooked in any way. That being said, it’s also not missing anything. The songs speak to Wade’s lyrical style with hints of Springsteen and cutting honesty. My favorite part about Wade’s music has always been his ability to combine catchy arrangements that don’t drag you down alongside lyrics that touch your soul. Solid Ground exemplifies this combination front to back. – Jackson

 

William Clark Green, Herbert Island

This record emphasizes my favorite aspect of WCG’s writing style. He pens lyrics that are deliberate and ‘on the nose’ without sounding cheesy. Aside from the writing, which can be seen throughout all of William’s albums, Herbert Island has a fresh vibe. The way this record is mixed opens up WCG’s voice showing nuances I haven’t heard thus far. The tracks sound more crisp top to bottom, but not in a way that seems disingenuous. WCG just seemed to find the perfect way to execute the production of these songs to compliment their sentiment.- Jackson

 

Wilson Brother Band, Self Titled

As someone who’s been listening to these two brothers’ solo careers for about a decade, I can’t even put into words how much better they are together than separate. This album has a groove, and the melodies are catchy while still being true to a real “outlaw” or “rock” country sound. Being able to put out a record with both those qualities is tough, but man… they knocked it out of the park. -Chris

 

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