4 of the Best Country Albums of the Early 2010s

The 2020s have already dished out quite a bit of great country music. And 2024 will likely be known as the year everyone decided to make a country album. But we can’t forget all of the gems that came out a decade earlier. The 2010s were a great time for country stars, provided they could cut through the thick fog of EDM and pop music. In fact, the 2010s was a great era for country music fusion with other genres. Let’s look at a few examples of the best country albums of the early 2010s. Remember, this isn’t an exhaustive list!

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1. Traveller by Chris Stapleton (2015)

Stapleton started gaining traction in the music industry around 2015 through his career as a songwriter and vocalist for a number of bands. He entered into his solo era with the release of Traveller, one of the best country albums of the 2010s. Stapleton snagged a Grammy for the album, which was almost entirely comprised of songs written by Stapleton himself. The only exceptions were a few exceptional covers, including George Jones’ iconic “Tennessee Whiskey” and Charlie Daniels’ hit “Was It 26”.

2. Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves (2018)

Miss Musgraves makes this list despite the fact that her two earlier albums actually did better than the 2018 release Golden Hour. This album makes the cut because it brought a massive amount of fame and acclaim to Musgraves. Plus, it’s all-around just a great album. She snagged Album of the Year at the Grammys and CMA Awards for the release (among other rewards) and it’s still a beloved album today. 

[Don’t Miss Your Chance to See Kasey Musgraves Live in 2024]

3. Chief by Eric Church (2011)

This release was Chief’s third release, and it was the album that landed him at the top of the charts. The album won CMA and ACM awards for Album of the Year, and the release was loaded with #1 hits like “Drink In My Hand” and “Creepin’”. Chief wrote most of the tracks on the album, sans “Like Jesus Does”.

4. Four The Record by Miranda Lambert (2011)

Miranda Lambert absolutely deserves a spot on this list for Four The Record. She reasserted herself as a mainstay in the country music world in the 2010s with the release, which included incredibly-written songs like “Over You” and “Baggage Claim”. And naturally, the release earned an ACM Award. It’s a fierce little record, and it’s still fun to blast today.

Photo by Jason Kempin

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