My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

J.R.’s End of 2008 List: Top 10 Albums

ashton10. Ashton Shepherd – Sounds So Good

Stone country. Shepherd wrote or co-wrote every track on this superb debut album. She’s singing about the things in everybody’s life – universal themes delivered with a thick Alabama accent. And, man, am I a sucker for an Alabama drawl.

patty9. Patty Loveless – Sleepless Nights

One of the finest singers to ever sing a note taking on some of the greatest songs ever written.  Patty puts her own stamp on each and every one of these country classics, and makes them sound fresh again.  Fabulous. faith8. Faith Hill – Joy To The World

I wouldn’t normally include a Christmas album on a year-end list, but a good friend sent me this album and I didn’t listen to it for the first couple days. When I did, I discovered Faith Hill singing Christmas chestnuts in perfect voice. Plus, the one new tune, ‘A Baby Changes Everything’ is an instant classic. george7. George Strait – Troubadour

George Strait has consistently delivered top-notch material for some 27 years now, and this past year was no exception. A great album here with tracks like ‘House of Cash’, (a duet with Patty Loveless), ‘House With No Doors’ as well as the superb two first singles – ‘I Saw God Today’ and the title track.

heidi6. Heidi Newfield – What Am I Waiting For

I’ve been a fan of Heidi Newfield since Trick Pony first burst on the scene. So, I was eagerly awaiting this solo album from lead vocalist Heidi Newfield. And she didn’t disappoint – with two great singles, plus awesome tracks like ‘Wreck You’, ‘Love Her And Lose Me’, and ‘Nothin’ Burns Like A Memory’.


rattlin-bones5. Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicolson – Rattlin’ Bones

I had never heard of either of these two artists before until all the hype surrounding this album on The 9513.  I finally gave in and bought it.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  Excellent songs, harmonies from heaven, and masterful musicianship.  I suggest ‘Sweetest Waste Of Time’, ‘One More Year’,  and ‘The House That Never Was’.  You won’t be disappointed.   dolly4. Dolly Parton – Backwoods Barbie

Dolly’s return to mainstream country was a commercial flop as far as the industry is concerned, with neither of the first 2 singles charting top 40, and the third not charting at all.  But, artistically, this is one of the best albums of Parton’s storied career.  Autobiographical gems like ‘Jesus and Gravity’ and the title track reveal intimate details about their author in a way that most singer-songwriters can only dream of conveying.  Some stone country – ‘Cologne’ and ‘Made of Stone’ sits comfortably alongside the more modern sounds of ‘Better Get To Livin’ and ‘Shinola’.   lee-ann3. Lee Ann Womack – Call Me Crazy

There’s nothing new I can say about this album that hasn’t been said already by way more talented writers than myself.  Womack is the queen of traditional country right now – and with this album she shows us how one can brilliantly hybrid the traditional with the contemporary.  Suggested tracks include the weird and wonderful ‘The Bees’, the biting ‘Either Way’ and the elegant ‘I Found It In You’.


trisha2. Trisha Yearwood – Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love

This is the finest Trisha Yearwood album ever. Ever. Yes, I know it was released last year, but the singles charted this year – and I didn’t have a blog last year. And it seems she recorded this CD just in time to coincide with my own life. Coincidence? Probably. But still, these songs could hit home with anybody. ‘This Is Me You’re Talkin’ To’ is a throwback to her ‘Song Remembers When’, but man, this one has way more class and style. ‘They Call It Fallin’ For A Reason’ is a lesson in life, while ‘Let The Wind Chase You’ is just … flawless. ‘We Tried’ and ‘Nothin’ Bout Memphis’ (for those of us who know something about Memphis, particularly) are also first-class tracks. Country radio’s biggest crime ever was ignoring this album.


sugarland1. Sugarland – Love On The Inside

Best album of the year? How about best album of the decade? Best album ever? Show me a better album and I will eat my words. But I warn you, it must first pass the Sugarland test: lyrics, vocals, and organicism. Organicism. There, I even created a new word. I must also warn you that I think Jennifer Nettles is the best singer I’ve heard since the first time I heard Miss Reba.  I love this album so much – partly because of tracks such as ‘Genevieve’, ‘Take Me As I Am’, ‘Fall Into Me’, and ‘Very Last Country Song’. But also, for tracks like ‘It Happens’, ‘Joey’, ‘Keep You’, and ‘What I’d Give’. Plus, the first three singles have been pretty good too.   The production is sparse and seamless, and flows along at a perfect pace.  Have I mentioned that I love this album?

12 responses to “J.R.’s End of 2008 List: Top 10 Albums

  1. Chris D. December 26, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Very nice list! Like I said on the singles post, I don’t have Strait’s album, but I’m planning on getting it. Ditto for Parton’s album, I love the singles from it.

    Very nice list, I love Sugarland too! xD

  2. J.R. Journey December 26, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Note: Upon further research, ‘organicism’ is in fact, a word.

  3. Leeann Ward December 26, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    While our choices don’t match up, great list. It’s always interesting to read the reasoning behind these end-of-the year lists.

    The Shepherd album is Sounds So Good, right?

  4. Chris D. December 26, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Yes it is Leeann! I didn’t notice that when I read it!

    JR won’t mind if I fix that right now…

  5. Mary December 27, 2008 at 8:24 am

    I’m so glad that you included Dolly’s Backwoods Barbie on your list! It’s great to know that even though commercial radio ignored the album, it is still recognized since it is such a great album! I also think it is one of her best albums ever (and I have almost all of them!). She is truly a songwriting genius and an incredible singer and that hasn’t changed with time. This album would be #1 on my list!

  6. Kevin J. Coyne December 27, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    I don’t think there are two country albums I’ve played more this year than Yearwood’s and Sugarland’s, so it’s nice to see them atop the list. I haven’t posted my top ten albums of the year yet, but suffice it to say that Sugarland is pretty high up.

  7. Leeann Ward December 27, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    Yup, the Yearwood’s album would have squarely landed in my top albums list if we had considered it to be a 2008 release

  8. Chris D. December 27, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Probably the same for me too Leeann. I love that album…

  9. J.R. Journey December 28, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    I considered it a 2008 album just so I could add it on my list … I cheated a bit, but oh well.

  10. Shea December 28, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with the top spot. Sugarland’s latest is AMAZING. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to an entire album top to bottom as many times as I have this one. Jennifer and Kristian are musical geniuses, and deserve much more credit than what they have already received.

  11. Blake Boldt December 28, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    The Sugarland album grabbed me that first listen, but it didn’t hold up as a cohesive unit (and after repeated listens) as much as I would’ve liked. But different strokes… That being said, it’s still a pretty good effort. Solid list, of course.

  12. bomber September 9, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Trishia Yearwood is a gorgeous woman and a fantastic singer

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