2016 has been an epic year in country music. The albums released throughout the year have been stellar, and the challenge was on when it came down to selecting our Top 16 albums of 2016! With the massive release of top quality material throughout the year, we’ve selected sixteen albums that made a significant impression on us in 2016. Check out the Who, What and Why of our CountryMusicRocks Top 16 Albums of 2016!
CountryMusicRocks Top 16 Albums of 2016
WHO: Jake Owen
WHAT: American Love
WHY: Serving as Owen’s fifth studio album, American Love topped Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and No. 4 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart during release week. Featuring eleven songs, including No. 1 hit single “American Country Love Song,” the new album is packed with emotion. From the feel-good upbeat songs, to the poignant and vulnerable tracks, Owen shows significant growth as an artist throughout the album.
WHO: Dierks Bentley
WHY: 2016 included the release of Dierks Bentley’s eighth studio album, Black. Named after his wife’s maiden name, Bentley takes fans on a journey of emotions. Not just the standard happy and sad feelings, but the singer/songwriter digs deep to deliver vulnerability, longing, passion, and more. It’s no wonder this collection of music is noted as Bentley’s most personal album to date. Featuring songs that include Maren Morris (I’ll Be The Moon) and Elle King (Different For Girls), as well as eleven additional solid songs, Black made its debut at the top of Billboard’s Top Albums Chart and Top Country Albums chart.
WHO: The Cadillac Three
WHAT: Bury Me In My Boots
WHY: The Cadillac Three released their highly anticipated new album this summer, Bury Me In My Boots. Featuring fourteen impressive tracks, all of which the band members had a hand in writing, The Cadillac Three delivers an album that is country, southern and rockin’ from start to finish. The trio blends their southern roots with a classic rock vibe to provide an album that showcases their unique artistry, and mirrors their live performance. The band’s strong passion and dedication to the music that you see on stage can be found on the studio version of each and every song.
WHO: Jon Pardi
WHAT: California Sunrise
WHY: Jon Pardi’s sophomore album, California Sunrise, brought fans head over boots, and head over heels with his new collection of music. The album debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart, and features 12 solid tracks, including Pardi’s Gold Certified No. 1 hit single, “Head Over Boots.” Pardi’s signature country sound is highlighted throughout as the rising star delivers an album that is a solid representation of the country music genre.
WHO: Kenny Chesney
WHAT: Cosmic Hallalujah
WHY: Kenny Chesney once again delivers an impressive album with his latest release, Cosmic Hallelujah. The new collection of music, featuring eleven fresh new tracks including his recent No.1 hit “Setting The World On Fire” featuring P!nk, is filled with quality songs that are relatable and full of meaning. Chesney brings each track to life with his unmistakable vocals that are so easily identified, and takes fans on his journey throughout the entire album. While Chesney won’t be out on a full tour in summer 2017, we do have his fantastic new album filled with amazing songs to get us through the summer.
WHO: Drew Baldridge
WHAT: Dirt On Us
WHY: Drew Baldridge made a solid introduction to the genre and fans this year with the release of his debut album, Dirt On Us. Sonically, the album is on point with strong musical elements throughout that provides listeners with a unique experience. Lyrically, Baldridge takes each subject and paints a vivid picture. The high-quality, well-balanced material showcased throughout the album is relatable and memorable, as each song stands out strong on its own. Drew Baldridge does an impressive job delivering his debut project, and leaves a strong mark on the genre with Dirt On Us.
WHO: Frankie Ballard
WHAT: El Rio
WHY: Frankie Ballard’s smooth vocals that we’ve all come to easily recognize and love are on full display throughout his third studio album, El Rio. Recorded at the famed Sonic Ranch in Texas, Ballard leaves a solid mark with all eleven songs showcased on the new album. With the perfect blend of country, blues and rock, Ballard provides the elements of a timeless album that listeners can appreciate now and throughout the years to come.
WHAT: The Fighters
WHY: LoCash, comprised of Preston Brust and Chris Lucas, released a dynamic album this year that represented their hard work and perseverance throughout the years of their careers. Featuring eleven songs, The Fighters provides listeners with a memorable and notable collection of music. The album includes both feel good, upbeat tracks, and relatable, compelling tracks, making The Fighters a well-rounded album full of quality material.
WHO: Randy Houser
WHAT: Fired Up
WHY: Randy Houser certainly got fans fired up with the release of his new album. Randy sets the bar and then some with his latest release, Fired Up. With his powerful vocals showcased throughout seventeen songs, yes 17!, the album serves as his first new release in nearly three years. Houser more than made up for that time in between, as his hard work and dedication shines throughout the new collection of music. Featuring No. 1 single “We Went,” “Song Number 7” and his latest single, “Chasing Down A Good Time,” Fired Up is an album packed with relevant songs from start to finish.
WHO: Chris Lane
WHAT: Girl Problems
WHY: Big Loud Records recording artist Chris Lane made a massive impression with his debut hit single, “Fix.” The momentum has continued for the country newcomer with the release of his debut album, Girl Problems. Delivering a fresh vibe to the genre, Chris undeniably brings a unique sound to the table with his dynamic vocals. While heavily infused with pop elements, Lane delivers a solid album that country fans can enjoy from start to finish.
WHO: Maren Morris
WHY: Columbia Nashville recording artist Maren Morris has quickly become a hero of sorts within the country music genre. The talented singer/songwriter has been leaving a significant impression with the release of her debut album HERO, and the momentum will no doubt continue for the rising star throughout 2017. HERO debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and at Number 5 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart across all genres during its release week. The collection of music houses eleven solid songs and further demonstrates Morris’ powerful role for Women in Country Music.
WHO: Kane Brown
WHAT: Self-Titled Debut Album
WHY: Kane Brown came charging in to 2016 with a lot of hype and a massive fan following. If you were wondering if he was able to fulfill all the momentum that surrounded him, just take a listen to his debut album and you will know that Brown lived up to it all and then some. Featuring eleven songs, seven of which the rising star co-wrote, the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart which covers all genres, a remarkable feat for a newcomer. Kane showcases his impressive vocals throughout and makes a valid impact as he delivers each track.
WHO: Dan + Shay
WHY: Country duo Dan + Shay continue to leave a lasting impression with the release of their sophomore album, Obsessed. Debuting at No. 1 on both the Country Mediabase and Billboard Country Charts, the new album features ten fresh tracks, 8 of which the duo co-wrote, including their #1 hit single, “From the Ground Up.” Once again the duo highlights their impressive harmonies along with a strong selection of songs that make for a great fit in today’s country music.
WHO: Granger Smith
WHY: Granger Smith debuted his first album on Wheelhouse Records this year with Remington, and further introduced himself to country fans. His widely popular No. 1 single, “Back Road Song,” served as the perfect introduction on country radio to the rising star, as does his follow up single “If The Boot Fits,” which is making great strides on the charts. Remington highlights fifteen solid songs, thirteen of which he co-wrote, and even spotlights his alter-ego, Earl Dibbles Jr. who has a massive following all on his own!
WHO: Drake White
WHY: Drake White lights more than just a spark with the release of his impressive debut album. Housing 12 tracks, 10 of which White co-wrote, Spark made its debut at the top of iTunes Top Country Albums chart upon its release. What White accomplishes in twelve songs, has a long lasting effect on listeners and further roots the singer/songwriter in the country music community. The artist on the rise will continue to showcase his new music on his headlining Spark Tour throughout the winter and spring of 2017.
WHO: Miranda Lambert
WHAT: The Weight Of These Wings
WHY: Miranda Lambert made her return with brand new music in nearly two years with The Weight Of These Wings. The new collection is a double album featuring two discs filled with twenty four songs, 19 of which the superstar wrote/co-wrote. The Weight Of These Wings made its debut at the top of Billboard’s Country Albums Chart and was further embraced across all genres debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. The album is personal and poignant, and is one of Lambert’s best works of art to date.