Raised Rowdy’s Top Albums of 2022

Boy, oh boy. 2022 has been quite the year for music. With it coming to a close, it’s that time where everyone puts out their lists of favorite songs, least favorite songs, favorite artists, least favorite artists… you get it. Well we’re all about positivity here at Raised Rowdy, so we’re going to stick to a good list. Below, you will see each of our top albums of ’22. We’ll mostly stick to the top three format, but there will be exceptions and honorable mentions because we all are terrible at narrowing down fantastic records and picking favorites.

So, without further ado, here are the Raised Rowdy crew’s top albums of 2022:

Nicky T:

Tears the Size of Texas – Ben Burgess

Burgess’s debut album is such an amazing mix of western imagery and modern takes on that western styling. After years of being the man behind the song, Burgess finally steps into the spotlight with a statement album that I can’t stop listening to.

Flower Shops – Ernest

Flower Shops is solid country gold. Sonically, Ernest’s sound really developed on this album and on top of his hit single Flower Shops, Ernest packed the album with amazing songs like Feet Wanna Run, Comfortable When I’m Crazy, Tennessee Queen and so much more. I will be listening to this album for years to come.

Growin’ Up – Luke Combs

Luke Combs is back with another great project. The album has so many songs in what has come to be Luke’s signature sound.  The part that really stands out on this record is Luke’s vocal. It’s the absolute best his voice has sounded to date and that is saying something.

We Were Cowboys – Kameron Marlowe

Kameron Marlowe’s voice is absolute butter and this album has that mix of highs and lows that makes my heart so happy. We Were Cowboys has me coming back over and over to listen.

Honorable Mentions:

Lindeville – Ashley McBryde

Ashley and crew’s new project will have you smiling from ear to ear. I can’t wait to see the live performance at the Ryman.

Bell Bottom Country – Lainey Wilson

Lainey Wilson has arrived and is bound to be one of the next stars in country music. She really cements that role with this new album, her iconic look and marketing.  Can you say “star”?

 

Stacie:

What Else Can She Do – Kaitlin Butts

It’s been out since April and I’ve listened to it at least once a week since then, but somehow I’m still in awe of this record. It checks all of the boxes both lyrically and sonically, and unfolds as an immersive experience with a resounding sense of completeness. Butts has a hauntingly powerful voice that adapts to match each of the portraits presented in these songs, moving from the nonchalant and observational delivery of tracks like what else can she do to the raw emotion in bloodWhat Else Can She Do is many things simultaneously: despondent and hopeful, stagnant and effervescent, classic and unconventional. It’s one of those projects where you can’t pick a standout. There isn’t one. It’s just the whole damn album.

Quaalude Lullabies – Chris Canterbury

Sometimes the best country music is going to make your heart hurt, and Quaalude Lullabies lands squarely within that category. The distinct vocals, top-notch songwriting, and stripped-down production make this headfirst dive into the dark side of living stand out from the rest of the releases I’ve heard this year. (I probably said it better here). 

Denim & Diamonds – Nikki Lane

The effortlessly cool, rock-leaning sound of this album has kept me coming back to it over the last few months. Denim & Diamonds is easy on the ears and has an anthemic swagger to it, pairing Lane’s smoky voice with tracks that celebrate self-reliance and forging your own path. That said, it still has depth that rewards a careful listen.  

Peyton:

Bell Bottom Country – Lainey Wilson

Lainey Wilson is slowly becoming the female face of country music. All 16 songs on the Bell Bottom Country album exceeded my expectations.

Palomino – Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert has never put out a bad song in her career in country music. Some people believed she was past her prime. The Palomino album proves that Miranda is far from being that.

Shot Glass – Randall King

Randall King is in my top five current country artists. He is one of, if not the most, underrated artists in the industry. Albums like Shot Glass are what is keeping real country music alive.

Honorable Mentions:

Longcut – Mike Ryan

Raised – Hailey Whitters

Sara:

Bell Bottom Country – Lainey Wilson

Louisiana is famous for a lot of things and I’ll be damned if Miss Lainey Wilson ain’t at the top of that list. The bell-bottom wearing, hillbilly hippie has released another highly anticipated record in October of this year that is still on repeat. The buzz from her single releases earlier in the year had fans on the edge of their seat waiting for the full project. The rising country music star has been front and center since releasing them this last year on radio, the music charts, award shows and even made her acting debut on Yellowstone, which led to her landing a full-time character role on the latest season. As for the record, Wilson delivered 16 songs that were unapologetically true to her roots. Preaching of her southern raisin’, first time love (in my personal favorite, Watermelon Moonshine), bad ass weekend rebellion, following your dreams, a good buzz and her undying love for her Mama and Deddy. It’s rock, it’s blues, it’s twang, it’s everything we would expect from a sassy southern peach who always keeps her angels working overtime. 

Tornillo – Whiskey Myers

God bless Texas for giving us Whiskey Myers and God bless Whiskey Myers for giving us a mariachi intro into a 12 song project that rocks about as hard as any album I’ve heard all year. It feels very much like home to long time listeners but in a more upbeat, heavy on the instrumental vibes kind of way. After the release of their 6th album, it appears the band definitely has their distinctive sound mastered. The gritty, harmonica laced, rock and roll album is a damn party from start to finish. Listening from beginning to end (in order, as albums are made to be heard in my humble opinion) takes you on ride through this mad, mad world through the eyes of a group of whiskey drinking, festival touring, good ol’ boys just trying to make ends meet. If you fancy the sounds of William Clark Green and The Cadillac Three and want something that melds the two together, this album has exactly what you’re looking for. 

Flower Shops – Ernest

Big Loud songwriter turned performer, Ernest, has made a name for himself over the last two years in the artist world. While much of his earlier years were spent writing songs for names like Chris Lane, Morgan Wallen, and Sam Hunt, Ernest has landed himself in the spotlight on stages and venues around the country opening for some of the biggest acts on the road. Earlier this year he dropped an 11 song album which took the radio and music charts by storm with perhaps his most recognizable song and title track, Flower Shops, a duo with his good friend Morgan Wallen. Ernest reiterates the complexity of emotions through storylines of love and heartbreak and what it looks like dealing with the complexities of both extremes. The album is raw, honest, and undeniably relatable to just about every one of us who has ever been in and out of relationships. It’s easy on the ears and healing on the heart, an album that hits you just right in the feels. 

Sam:

Abstract Art of an Unstable Mind – Austin Meade

Looking back at Austin Meade’s records he has released in the past, each one is different in style and sound. While they’re all great in their own specific ways, Abstract Art of an Unstable Mind is something special. Meade went all in on the creativity throughout the album and experimented with different effects, penned hooks that will never leave your ear and constructed a well thought out story that lives in each track. I couldn’t be more impressed with this release and can not wait to see what else he has coming next.

Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven? – Tyler Childers

Tyler Childers never misses. He just doesn’t. This record is definitely different than his others, but what is artistry if there’s no change? The tracks are spiritual and traditional sounding, yet he spins them with his own unique style that made him the legend in the making that he is. We can’t wait for more, Tyler.

Hell Paso – Koe Wetzel

While you see praise from Koe Wetzel anywhere you look, Hell Paso shows that it is definitely earned. As we all know, Koe doesn’t give an F. He will put the music out that he wants, and the result we get is this record filled with future classics in his discography. You’ll get sent through a brick wall of emotion – good and bad – while listening to this album, but that’s what Koe does best.

Honorable Mentions:

Circles – Kody West

Kody West has been dropping bangers and making quite a name for himself as of late both inside the Texas scene and out. He finally released his newest record Circles, and it is straight up raw rock ‘n’ roll. His voice is made for this kind of music, and he doubles down and proves it beyond measure in this newest release. West is definitely a name to keep an eye on in the coming year.

Tornillo – Whiskey Myers

Tornillo is one of the best albums of 2022. Aside from the musicianship and songwriting, which are elite, the ability that Whiskey Myers has to stay fresh with each release while also staying true to their own sound is beyond impressive.

Just Woke Up – Jaret Ray Reddick

Yup. That Jaret Reddick. The Bowling for Soup frontman released his debut country record, Just Woke Up, earlier this year and it’s basically the humor and cleverness of Reddick’s lyrics that you’re used to… except it’s country music. The thing is, he pulls it off! This album was a huge, unexpected, happy surprise for me and I really hope Reddick gives us more from the country music genre.

Chris:

Hell Paso – Koe Wetzel

I’m going to echo a lot of sentiments on Hell Paso that I did for We Were Cowboys. I don’t necessarily have a favorite song, and I don’t think it’s fair to highlight one or two tracks because they are all uniquely awesome. The reason that this gets one notch higher than Kameron is just because its different. This album feels like art. It feels like a story being told. As every song comes and goes your mood changes. The first time I listened to it, I just remember thinking I needed a beer and the world sucks. I’m not sure what exactly is the secret thing that makes the music feel so different, maybe it’s the interludes, maybe it’s just dark sad song after dark sad song. Whatever it is, it’s undeniable. This album is going to take a hit because it is almost genre-less. It’s country, but it has heavy punk/grunge mixed into it. If you haven’t listened to Hell Paso yet, do it right now, then immediately be prepared to call your therapist. 

We Were Cowboys – Kameron Marlowe

I don’t remember a debut album that has been as anticipated as this one since Luke Combs. A lot of times that would mean that no matter how good it is, it almost can’t be good enough. Kameron said hold my beer and watch this though, and dropped a 16 song masterpiece. It’s so good that I can’t even pick a favorite song, because it feels unfair to discredit any of the other tracks. It’s very complete, ranging all the emotions from the fun party song Burn Em All to the heartbreakers Does it Have to Be Over and Over Now. Kameron Marlowe hasn’t blown up like he deserves, but I would be shocked based on the quality of his music and live show if he isn’t a household name in the next few years. 

Boy From Anderson County To The Moon – Kolby Cooper

Kolby Cooper is an absolute stud. At just 23 years old, my man already has 2 studio albums, with the latest being Boy From Anderson County to the Moon.  Personally, I’m a huge sucker for a good breakup song and this album has some heaters. Are We on Fire is a slow burning song that starts out with just a guitar and Kolby’s raspy voice. As it goes on the guitar turns into a full band, and Kolby goes from quietly singing to full on screaming. His current single, Excuses is a little more upbeat, but echo’s the same message of calling out that a relationship is failing. This album has gone widely under-appreciated so far, and that absolutely needs to change.  

 

 

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