10. Eric Church

“Mr. Misunderstood”

Now some may be surprised to see The Shed mentioning an artist with such mainstream exposure in modern country radio as Eric Church, but this guy is one of us. The album is brand new and well worth a listen. With mentions of Ray Wylie Hubbard, Elvis Costello, and Jeff Tweedy on the title track, he proves that fact. Church wears his influences on his sleeve. Check out “Record Year” and guaranteed single “Mistress Named Music,” this guy can write.

9. Jason Isbell

“Something More Than Free”

Many will be surprised to see this album so soon on the list. Don’t get us wrong, it’s an amazing album, but 2015 was a great year for music and it just didn’t hit me like “Southeastern” did. The album is still great, check out the title track and single “24 Frames” if you want to get a preview.

8. The Turnpike Troubadours

“The Turnpike Troubadours”

I have a feeling these guys could be the next in line to follow Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, and Chris Stapleton. Their sound is infectious and the buzz around them continues to grow. This is their 4th album and it made it all the way to number 3 on the country charts. Do yourself a favor and check out their whole discography, you won’t be disappointed.

7. Ray Wylie Hubbard

“The Ruffians Misfortune”

A Shed staple and an icon in Texas music, this album may be the best of his career. And I don’t say that without conjecture, but it is that good.  Listen to the whole thing front to back, and get it on vinyl, it makes it that much better.

6. Keith Richards

“Crosseyed Heart”

A legend returns to his solo ventures with the X-pensive Winos. Confession- I’m a Rolling Stones fanatic. People will be surprised this isn’t in the top 5 or even number 1, but I tried to keep my bias at bay. At one point in life, I wasn’t a fan of Keith’s voice, but either I matured or his voice got better- because now I love it. The single, “Trouble” is great, but check out the full album to really experience what Keith has done here. It’s put together like a great book, you can’t just read one chapter.

5. American Aquarium

“Wolves”

It’s a damn shame more people don’t know who these guys are. BJ Barham is just a good a writer as Jason Isbell and the band is as talented as any group out there. This is probably the best album the guys have ever done and the monster tour they set out on to support it is still ongoing. We were lucky enough to have them at The Shed this year and were blown away by the performance and the artistry they exhibited. Seriously folks, go educate yourselves on these guys, you’ll be thankful you did.

4. Anderson East

“Delilah”

Put your dancing shoes on, this guy knows how to groove. With a voice as smooth as silk and a band as tight as funk, Anderson East is pure fun. The songs are well written and the music is a blast. Anderson opened for Isbell most of the year and gave Jason a hard run for his money for best performance of the night (which is what all support acts should do!). “Satisfy Me” is the most fun song of the year and my favorite at the moment to hear live. So good…

3. Sam Lewis

“Waiting on You”

An album that most people won’t even have on their list, especially in the top 3, but it deserves it. Sam Lewis is incredible. His voice harks back to a time a lot of us long for and his writing proves that simplicity can sometimes evoke the most complex thoughts. “Things Will Never Be The Same” & “3/4 Time” are the standouts, but not by much. The whole album is a work of art and should be respected as such. It flows beautifully. Truly the best of Sam’s career and a great sign of the direction music is heading.

2. Don Henley

“Cass Country”

The big surprise of the year. Eagles vocalist and drummer returns to his solo roots with a country album that will no doubt stand the test of time. Henley has had one of the best careers in rock and roll history, but listening to this album will make you think he should have been doing country his whole career!  An all star roster joins him on the album including Mick Jagger, Miranda Lambert, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, and Trisha Yearwood. The album is shockingly good and the single may be my least favorite song on the whole record (telling considering it’s a decent tune). Easily Henley’s best solo work in his career.

1. Chris Stapleton

“Traveler”

No surprise here. Even before he swept the CMAs, The Shed knew how good Chris Stapleton was. I had the record at number 1 six months ago when it was released. Chocked full of amazing songs, “Traveler” is what Chris Stapleton has been wanting to do his entire career. This is what real country music sounds like. No bro country nonsense, no hick hop trash, and no pop country catastrophes, just straight forward real country music about real life. Watch and learn Nashville, a revolution is coming and Chris Stapleton is the poster boy. Deservingly so if we say so ourselves…

Honorable Mentions-

Blackberry SmokeHolding All the Roses
Kacey Musgraves“Pageant Material”
Dwight Yoakam “Second Hand Heart”
Mumford & Sons“Wilder Mind”
Kid Rock“First Kiss”
Alabama Shakes“Color & Sound”
Steve Martin & Edie Brickell“So Familiar”
The Dead Weather“Dodge & Burn”
Chris Cornell “Higher Truth”
A Thousand Horses “Southernality”
Clint Black“On Purpose”
Zac Brown Band “Jekyll + Hyde”