This is the countdown of the top country music albums of the last year.
The countdown will include the best albums from October 2010 through September 2011. The fall is a big time for album releases and since most of those albums really pick up steam with singles in the following year I thought I’d included them with this year’s countdown.
And it just makes things easier for me since I’m impatient with lists like this.
Here is my take on the best albums of 2011.
Top Country Albums of 2011
Please leave your comments. If you think an artist was omitted please share your thoughts. Also share your thoughts on the albums that did make the countdown. CML readers love hearing personal stories and how you relate to the music shared in 2011.
So I hope you enjoy looking back on the last year and perhaps even find an album or two you may have forgotten.
25.Where Country Grows – Ashton Shepherd
One of the albums I was most excited about in 2011 was the sophomore set from Ashton Shepherd. Where Country Grows was released in July. The album is full of great tracks from the Alabama country singer. On her first album, Ashton was praised for her ability to sing about life, love, and common heartaches. She was just 21 or 22 years old at the time yet seemed to have experience beyond her years. What always bothered me was the album only saw two singles. Now we’re on to the second album and the first single has cracked the top 20 and the second is making its way to an even higher perch. Ashton Shepherd is really something unique in country music. She has a really thick southern accent. It makes her sound authentic and she even has the country lifestyle to back up the rural life she sings about with her songs. It was a strong sophomore album and I’m just hoping we don’t have to wait three years for her third.
24. Thompson Square – Thompson Square
One of the biggest stories of the year was Thompson Square. This husband-wife duo had been working odd jobs for years while working at getting some attention for their music. Finally, in 2010 the duo was signed to the sister label of Broken Bow (Jason Aldean) and the released their first single. It was the second single, though, that made the pair stars. Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not? became a number one hit on the country singles charts earlier this year. The band’s debut album was released in 2011 and the third single has been racing up the charts. There has been a big influx of male and female co-lead singing groups recently. We have Lady Antebellum, Steel Magnolia, and Thompson Square. People are loving it and I’m sure we’ll see more of these kinds of acts. Thompson Square is already out of the gates and they seem well prepared to continue the success with this album and heading into their follow up.
23.Bullets In The Gun – Toby Keith
Toby Keith was the most successful country act of the last year in terms of making money. He’s been near the top of the list for more than five years. Toby is a money making machine and he has a pretty solid formula for making new music. Each year Toby releases a new album. He runs through three singles and then it’s on to the next album. In October of 2010, Toby released Bullets In The Gun. The album had some really interesting tracks on it including the title track and the hit single Somewhere Else. The album was one of Toby’s least successful, but for Toby that still means it was one of the best of the year. Today, Toby is preparing to release his next single in just a few weeks, right on schedule. I hope Bullets In The Gun isn’t forgotten in history. There are so many great Toby Keith albums and I feel this was right up there, but the singles just didn’t reach the heights of his previous work or even his latest single. I think a few fans will look back on this album as one of the best of his career. Toby is always on point and even if the singles weren’t there the the album stood strong on its own ground as a great collection of country songs.
22. Steel Magnolia – Steel Magnolia
Slowly but surely, Steel Magnolia has been racking up hits from their debut album. It’s been two years since the first single was released in 2009, but Steel Magnolia now has four solid singles from the record. The set was finally released earlier this January. The album is a solid debut from a really unique duo. The boyfriend and girlfriend duo has been busy over the last year touring and making videos for their single releases. The latest single, Bulletproof, was just released and seems to be gaining some good traction. Steel Magnolia has a unique sound and should hopefully take things to an even bigger place with their next release, expected sometime next year.
21. Ronnie Dunn – Ronnie Dunn
This was one of the most anticipated albums of the last 20 years. For years, people wondered when Ronnie Dunn would leave Kix Brooks and venture out as a solo artist. The duo finally called it quits after 20 years together as one of the most successful acts in country music history. Kix is still busy doing weekly country countdowns while Ronnie finally got to work on his first solo album. The result was the self-titled debut in June of 2011. The album contained mostly songs written by Dunn. The lead off track was an interesting choice. Bleed Red was different from most everything on radio at the time yet it still found its way into the top ten. The second single, Cost Of Livin’, sounded much more like what people expected from Ronnie Dunn. In total, the album is full of great songs that seem familiar yet fresh from Ronnie Dunn. He’s a legend in country music and it will be interesting to see this album play out with more singles and see what he does on future albums.
Download Each Album
- [easyazon-link asin=”B00516ZQ48″]Where Country Grows[/easyazon-link]
- [easyazon-link asin=”B004H7UNPE”]Thompson Square[/easyazon-link]
- [easyazon-link asin=”B0044JZB5W”]Bullets In The Gun[/easyazon-link]
- [easyazon-link asin=”B004GH3AAK”]Steel Magnolia[/easyazon-link]
- [easyazon-link asin=”B0052DDDUE”]Ronnie Dunn[/easyazon-link]