Tag Archives: Willie Nelson

Album Review: Steve Earle & the Dukes–So You Wannabe an Outlaw

Rating: 8.5/10

I’m not really sure I need to write any kind of introduction to this; I’m pretty sure Steve Earle has been introducing this quite well on his own, and that may or may not be taking away from the music. So I’m going to take the advice from Steve’s own comment, and let this be about the songs. What I will say is that he stated both that he wanted to make a record inspired by the outlaws, and more specifically, Waylon, and that this record would be about dealing with loss. And what we get is basically exactly that–the front half is filled with badass, renegade/outlaw material–or at least what we might think of when referring to that term–and then the back half adds to the validity of it all by taking us on journeys of heartbreak, loneliness, and loss, and in the end, you’re left wondering if this outlaw thing is really all that great after all, and perhaps second-guessing your dream. And in a way, that separates this record from all the others trying to be cool outlaw because it shows all the sides to the story, the glamor along with the pain.

That’s not to say there aren’t painful realities on the first half. IN fact, the opener and title track starts the album by explaining all the things you have to go through if you really want to be an outlaw, albeit in a pretty lighthearted manner. Willie Nelson appears here, which adds to the message and the overall coolness of the song. You also have “Lookin’ For a Woman” and “If Mama Coulda seen Me,” both of which Earle wrote for the show Nashville–the former is a restless heartbreak song where the narrator is trying to find a woman who “Won’t do me like you,” and the latter is about a prisoner who is thankful that his mom died before she had to see him in chains. All of this half, however, is pretty upbeat, and even though the material is dark, some of the glamorous side of being an outlaw still shines forth in the attitude and in the cool blending of country and rock instrumentation. This half comes to a brilliant, angry climax with “Fixin’ To die”–this song is told from Death Row, and I didn’t mean to compare it to Chris Stapleton’s song “Death Row,” but that’s what happened. I said before that Stapleton’s didn’t quite have emotion even though he belted it–I know a lot of people disagreed, but the point I’m making is that whether it came through or not, Stapleton meant that song to be sad. When this opens and Steve Earle bellows, “I’m fixin’ to die, reckon I’m goin’ to hell” and then adds, “I’d be tellin’ you a lie if I told you I was takin’ it well,” for me, that captures all the emotions, from anger to sadness to regret. It’s an intense story and definitely a great way to complete this more rocking front half of the record.

It’s the back half, however, that really makes this album shine and adds an authenticity to these opening songs. It’s one thing to sing about being an outlaw for the sake of it, but when you get to stuff like “This is How it Ends” and “You Broke my Heart” and see there’s a tender side to this story, it really adds something to the whole project. Steve Earle mentioned loss, and it is explored in every form here, from the heartbreak in these two songs, the former of which features Miranda Lambert, to the poverty and self-doubt in the excellent “Walkin’ in LA” to the closer, “Goodbye Michelangelo,” a tribute to Guy Clark. “Walkin’ in LA” features Johnny Bush, the writer of “Whiskey River,” and it’s one of the best songs on this whole thing, despite it not being the most flashy. It’s one of those rare gems where the melody, the lyrics, and the instrumentation all work together flawlessly to form an incredible piece of music. The melody and beautiful acoustic guitar play in “Goodbye Michelangelo” really add to that song as well. It’s a great way to close the album.

As much as I loved this record, I do have a couple criticisms. There are a few songs that felt like filler; “Girl on the Mountain” was sandwiched between “This is How it Ends” and “You Broke my Heart,” and so it stands out as the weakest heartbreak song of the three. At first, I really didn’t enjoy the pairing of Earle and Miranda Lambert, but that’s growing on me, mainly because it’s just such a damn good song. My initial problem was that Lambert is meant to be singing harmony, but sometimes she drowns out Steve. I’m starting to like it better because in doing so, she makes it easier to understand some of the lyrics. ON the front half, “The Firebreak Line” is quite a fun song, but it doesn’t necessarily add much. “News From Colorado,” the only subdued song on the front half, is also a little vague and underdeveloped lyrically. But all these are really minor, nitpicking criticisms, and overall, this record is pretty great.

So, in conclusion, this is a pretty fascinating album. First, you have the angry front half, and then you have the subdued, heartbroken back half, and together they tell a very good story. Steve Earle is a fine songwriter, and the natural grit in his voice just accidentally adds a lot to this album and the stories told. Every collaborator also brought something to the record. I mentioned there were some weaker songs, or perhaps even filler, but at the same time, it’s one of the few albums I’ve played in 2017 without a single bad track. Very nice, solid album. Give it a listen.

P.S. I’m not reviewing the deluxe version, but that also has four pretty awesome covers of songs previously written by Waylon, Willie, and Billy Joe shaver.

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Collaborative Review: Chris Stapleton–From a Room, Volume 1

Ok, so we thought we’d try something different for this review, and if it works and you all enjoy it, we may do this on occasion for more albums in the future. Brianna and I each came into this album with very different opinions of Stapleton’s prior work; while we were both fans, she was more impressed by Traveller than I was, and a self-described Stapleton fan, and although I really enjoyed that album, I felt it was a bit too long and not quite on the level assigned to it by some critics. We both felt his unprecedented sweep of the 2015 CMA’s and subsequent historic success to be well-deserved and have both looked forward to this album. And, while we’ve both enjoyed Chris Stapleton’s second record, different songs and aspects spoke to each of us once again–it goes back to that whole “music is subjective” thing that Leon of Country Music Minds and I seemingly discuss every five minutes. So with that in mind, we thought we’d share our opinions together and just have a conversation about the music.

Track Listing

1. “Broken Halos”
Brianna: “Broken Halos” is a really nice way to open this album. From the opening acoustic guitar to Chris Stapleton’s voice, I was immediately drawn in by this song. I like the lyrics too, which are admittedly a bit vague, but seem to speak on how people help us, but eventually leave. This song has continued to grow on me with each listen. It’s one of my favorites off this album.
Megan: See, I would disagree slightly. I think it’s a really solid song, but it doesn’t draw me in as an opener like “Traveller” did off his last album. I think it’s the vagueness in the lyrics you mentioned. There’s no doubt his voice and that guitar make you want to listen, but for me, it’s not a strong opener.
Brianna: The vagueness is the one thing I’d change about that song.
2. Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning”
Megan: Wow, what a song this is. It’s a nice Willie Nelson cover, and the harmonies with his wife Morgane are always great. Although, and I’m probably going to be unpopular for saying this, I sort of feel like with this, and later on with another cover, he’s trying to manufacture another “Tennessee Whiskey” moment. And I’m just not sure that’s happening again. Still love this though.
Brianna: I never knew it was a cover until you told me, but I agree with you on feeling like he’s trying to make another “Tennessee Whiskey.” I really like the song, but at the same time, I don’t love it either. I won’t keep saying it, but his voice is fantastic. OH, and I like the imagery in the lyrics, but I guess that doesn’t really come into play here since it’s a cover.
Megan: I think it still does, to some degree. I mean, he did choose a good cover lol.
3. “Second One to Know”
Brianna: The more upbeat music on this track was a really nice change, and the theme in the lyrics is pretty clever, since he wants to be the “second one to know” if the woman he’s with decides she’s done with the relationship. It’s really catchy since the song’s fast too. It’s not my favorite, but I do wonder why this particular song was chosen to be performed on the [ACM] awards.
Megan: I agree–I like the theme and the upbeat instrumentation. Not to harp on it any more, but if I’m Stapleton, I’m opening the album with this fun little song.
Brianna: There aren’t many upbeat songs on the album, though, so maybe that would have misled the listener. Not sure why they did a lot of things they did, though.
Megan: You make a good point here–and yeah, Mercury really screwed up a lot of things, but that’s enough for a whole other piece lol.
4. “UP to No Good Livin'”
Megan: Here’s your classic country song, complete with lots of steel. Everybody who says Stapleton’s more soul than country, it’s like this song is a giant “f you” to this notion.
Brianna: Exactly. He proves he’s country with this song. NO surprise to anyone, but it’s my favorite. The steel, the vocals, the lyrics being very witty, talking about being unable to live down being up to no good.
Megan: Yep. “I’ll probably die before I live all my up to no good livin’ down”–I’m not sure you get much more country than that.
Brianna: I love it. So much.
5. “Either Way”
Brianna: I love the acoustic production here. It really allows Chris Stapleton’s voice to be the star–which it should be on a painful song like this. It took me a moment to adjust to this version of the song, since I’ve only heard Lee Ann Womack sing it, but he’s very successful at making his version stand out. The chorus gets me every time.
Megan: Yeah, and if he’s actually going to have another “Tennessee Whiskey,” it’s going to be here, as I prefer this version. The actual lyrics are about a couple passing in the hall but barely speaking, and when he belts out, “You can go, or you can stay, I won’t love you either way,” you can’t help but feel that pain. My favorite of the album.
6. “I Was Wrong”
Megan: Well, I said Stapleton isn’t more soul than country, but he’s definitely got a lot of soul in his country, and all that comes bursting out on this heartbreak song. One of the least country moments, but also one of his best vocal performances on the record.
Brianna: Yes, I have to agree with you about how soulful this song is. What I love about Chris Stapleton is that he isn’t out of place singing in a few different genres, and that it all feels natural. Back to the song…I like that he outright admits that he was wrong to his ex, as opposed to only himself.
7. “Without Your Love”
Brianna: This is my least favorite song off this album. The chorus is very catchy, though. I like that this is the next song after “I Was Wrong,” as it could be seen as the continuation of the story. I just think this song is otherwise forgettable.
Megan: It’s my least favorite too, and it does feel like the continuation of “I Was Wrong,” as in this one, he’s missing the ex. But it also adds to it being forgettable because it comes off as the lesser version of the incredible “I Was Wrong.” ON a longer album, I don’t mind this, but on a 9-track project, it feels like filler, and you can’t afford filler on a 9-song album, especially not one as stripped-back as this.
8. “Them Stems”
Brianna: It really does, as does “Them Stems.” I like the rhythm of the song, and again, the album did need a bit of a change in tempo, but this song doesn’t grab me aside from that.
Megan: Yeah, this is where we’re total opposites. I saw SCM call this filler and call the use of pot references to be cool outdated–which it is–but sue me, this is just the fun break from the rest of the album that I needed. One of my favorites. Just makes me smile every time I hear it. Also have to love the harmonica.
Brianna: Haha, I do recognize that a fun song was needed here, so I get it. And it is catchy. I don’t hate it, but it is my second least favorite.
9. “Death Row”
Megan: It’s a nice way to close the album, mixing his soulful voice with more country lyrics about a man on death row. The only tiny criticism I have for this is that while he sings the crap out of it, I don’t quite feel his pain like I do in “Either Way” and “I was Wrong.” Doesn’t quite connect with me.
Brianna: I don’t feel it emotionally either. Also, is it just me, or is the song kind of ambiguous? I don’t know if he did it or not. The reason I say that is because he says he told Jesus everything he knew, not everything he did. Plus, his lyrics are a bit hard for me to understand when the song starts.
Brianna: I love the sparse production though. It fits perfectly.
Megan: Yes, I would agree about it being ambiguous, not quite specific enough to strike a chord. That production definitely fits it and closes the whole thing well.


So, as you can see, although we both enjoyed this quite a bit, different moments stood out to each of us. My favorites were “Either Way,” “I Was Wrong,” and “Them Stems.” Brianna’s standouts were “Up to NO Good Livin'” and “Broken Halos.” WE did agree that “Without Your Love” seemed like filler, and we each thought that while this record was solid, as a 9-song effort, it seems to still be missing something. For me, it’s an overall better effort than Traveller because that was too long, but since this was shorter, I wanted it to be nothing but brilliant songs, and it didn’t quite live up to that. Brianna considers this more a solid, consistent effort all the way through for a 7.5, while I see it as a good album with a little filler but also some standout brilliance, making it about an 8.5. So we’re going with a collective

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For Brianna

For Me

Decide for Yourself

Album Review: Willie Nelson–God’s Problem Child

Rating: 8/10

I’m not sure at what point it becomes ridiculous for me to sit here and attempt to judge the quality of Willie Nelson’s music and expect anyone to take me seriously. obviously, Willie has proven his output will stand the test of time, and as Josh, formerly of Country Perspective, said on Twitter, he’s putting out better music at eighty-three than most artists will in their entire careers. Having said that, I don’t think it’s an album that’s going to change your opinion of Willie Nelson; if you enjoyed his music, you’ll like this record too, but if you aren’t really a fan, I wouldn’t say this album is going to be anything earth-shattering that will change your mind. Personally, I’ve always been on the side that enjoys a good amount of Nelson’s music, and this album was another pleasant, if not mind-blowing. listen.
Mortality is a theme running heavily through this record, as other outlets have pointed out. Sometimes it’s metaphorically, such as in the opener, “Little House on the Hill,” where Willie Nelson seems to be referring to heaven. Sometimes it’s humorous, like in “Still Not Dead,” where Willie makes fun of the frequent death hoaxes surrounding him and says, “I woke up still not dead again today” despite what the Internet said. Sometimes the references are more introspective, such as in the song “True love,” where Nelson states that when it’s all over, he’ll still believe true love was a friend. Regardless, the end of life definitely overshadows this record; it’s both somber and peaceful, but I think that your mileage on this album will directly be affected by your ability to deal with these references.
There are frequent mentions of old age too, quite obviously in “old Timer” and more subtly in “It Gets Easier,” as Willie expresses that it gets easier to back out on your commitments as you get older. These types of songs can make the album less relatable at times, and that’s okay–just as Maddie & Tae’s youthful songs about growing up will speak more to their generation, these songs will no doubt speak more to Willie Nelson’s generation and those reflecting on the next stage of life.
I noted this record is peaceful, and that’s the perfect word to describe it sonically. It’s somewhere between the clean production of Sam Outlaw’s latest record and Jason Eady’s, with lots of quiet, introspective moments. And much like Outlaw’s, the overall mood this album puts you in as you listen says more about it than explaining the individual tracks. The aforementioned “True Love” is one of the best to capture this mood, along with “A Woman’s Love’ and the title track, which features Tony Joe White, Leon Russell, and Jamey Johnson. (Jamey Johnson continues his incredible run of lending his voice to amazing songs, by the way, and I’m beginning to think he’ll never release new music, just continue to appear in other people’s songs like this for the rest of eternity.) Another really nice moment, and one of the few that touches neither on old age nor death, is “Lady Luck,”–think of this as the more thoughtful, intuitive version of “Ace in the Hole” or a more laidback version of “The Gambler.” This is my personal favorite but that’s probably just because it’s more relatable to me than much of the album–or it could be because I have a partiality to poker. Another standout track is the closer, his tribute to Merle Haggard, “He Won’t Ever be Gone.” We’ve had a lot of Merle tributes, but this one is from a friend, and so this one just means much more.
If I have anything to say against this album, it’s just similar to Sam Outlaw’s in that parts of this can run together, and no song really blew me away on its own. IN the context of the album, many of these songs are great, but as I mentioned, part of this has to do with the overall mood and frame of mind created by this record. as I say, your mileage, I believe, will depend on your take on the old age and death references, but that’s not a criticism at all, just a personal preference. I want to make that especially clear since many of the best songs here deal with the end of life, and Willie Nelson has done a great job reflecting on that and capturing his state of mind through his songwriting.
So, overall, yeah, Willie Nelson has given us another good album and is still churning out quality country music at eighty-three–well, eighty-four after last Saturday. It’s a nice, pleasant listen, and while I wouldn’t say it’s anything groundbreaking, I would say it’s certainly worth your time. Hopefully I’ll still be struggling to find words for Willie Nelson albums well into the future.

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Country Music vs. Good Music: Does Genre Matter?

There has been a lot of talk lately about genre lines and how important they really are. Does it matter that an album sounds country if the lyrics are bland? Is hearing songs rife with fiddle and steel on the radio really an improvement in itself, or have we gone so far that country-sounding music is praised over good music in general? Do we overlook artists like David Nail and Eric Church, both of whom have put out solid country albums in the past year, while propping up more traditional artists like Mo Pitney and William Michael Morgan just because they sound a certain way? All of this boils down to one question: Does genre really matter at all?

Well, that is a difficult question to answer, and there are differing viewpoints on all sides. This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write because of the sheer number of people who may disagree, and I could ignore it, but I feel inclined to address it, and to be honest with myself and all of you. Honesty is absent everywhere in music right now, and that is one of the driving factors behind Country Exclusive’s existence, so I am going to do my best to provide it.

The simple answer is no, genre doesn’t matter. Good music is good music regardless of who is singing or what genre it is labeled. This is why I gave Carrie Underwood’s Storyteller two different grades–one as a country album, and one as simply an album. It makes a pretty good pop album. Kelsea Ballerini made a decent pop album too and then sent the singles to country radio–and not the best singles either, I might add, but that’s a different story. I wrote that Courtney Marie Andrews defied genre lines in Honest Life, and while not being the most country album, it is the best album I have reviewed to date. Good music can and does come out of every genre, and that is what we should be looking for the most.

To add to that, I want to say that country can be good without having fiddle and steel. I have written in several Red dirt album reviews a sentiment like, “This isn’t the album to buy if you want fiddle and steel,” followed by praise of the album. Red Dirt has a raw honesty that often surpasses genre, and this is evident in the massive sonic difference between Jason Eady and Reckless Kelly, both of whom have produced an inordinate amount of great music during their respective careers. There’s good pop country too, like the aforementioned Carrie Underwood and David Nail. Eric Church produced one of the better albums of 2015, both musically and lyrically, and you won’t find fiddle or steel anywhere on it. I have written a great deal about Maddie & Tae, advising strict traditionalists to give them a chance because they were bringing country back to radio, even if it was pop country. I praised Aubrib Sellers and her debut album which she labeled “garage country.” I’m far from a country purist, ready to criticize something immediately because it isn’t what country “should” sound like.

However, this idea of good music first has been taken too far. William Michael Morgan got a #1 at radio with “I Met a Girl,” which, while indeed lyrically weak, actually sounded country. It’s a step in the right direction as much as the songwriting on Eric Church’s album or the CMA wins of Chris stapleton. Why? Because something actually resembling country can be heard on country radio for the first time in years. But if genre doesn’t matter, why are we even celebrating? Surely Morgan’s “I Met a Girl” is just more shitty music with fiddle and steel.

It’s because truthfully, genre can’t be ignored completely. If you went to a bookstore and found the books arranged in categories of “good” and “bad,” this wouldn’t help you find a book at all. It’s because these terms are subjective. If you wanted to read crime fiction, you would go to the section marked crime fiction, and from there, you could decide which books you wanted to read. If you found romance in the crime fiction section, you would say the book has been put in the wrong place. Of course, there are books that have elements of both and can therefore be classified as both. Now, let’s apply this to music. Crime fiction might be country, romance might be pop, and the two might blend to make pop country. A book containing many different elements might be labeled just “fiction” or “literature”–in music, this could be Americana, with its blending of many styles. There are probably good books in all the different genres, but since you came looking for crime fiction, you aren’t going to be satisfied with a good romance novel. In the same way, if you want to hear traditional country, you won’t find it in the pop country of Carrie Underwood, the country rock of Eric Church, or the Americana of Jason Isbell.

Therefore, when an artist like Morgan comes along, who actually sounds traditional, it’s right to be excited that he’s getting airplay. It’s right to fight to hear more country on country radio–in fact, many of us ran to underground country simply because of the lack of country on country radio. And it’s right to want to see mainstream Nashville and country radio embrace people like Sturgill Simpson and Margo Price. We can run to Americana and give up on the mainstream altogether, but no matter how you look at it, Americana isn’t country. Some of it is excellent, but it still isn’t country. It isn’t the music we fell in love with, the music we miss. We should praise music of substance regardless of how it sounds, but the lack of country on country radio is just an important a problem as the lack of substance in the music.

I daresay the majority, if not all of us, fell in love with country music, at least in part, by listening to country radio. Maybe you grew up with the legends like Haggard and Nelson. Maybe you remember Keith Whitley and Randy Travis, or maybe you miss the sounds of Alan Jackson, George Strait, and Vince Gill. Maybe you’re like me, and the first country you ever heard was the Dixie Chicks. Regardless, you heard all of them because they were played on country radio and available to the masses, just like their pop country counterparts. Pop country has always been around, but never has it replaced and eradicated the traditional as it has in recent years. Wherever your nostalgia comes from, you fell out of love with country radio after it lost the sound and substance you were drawn to. Today, even though the substance is slowly returning, there is still a noticeable lack of the sound. People growing up with country radio today might associate country with Luke Bryan or Thomas Rhett, both of whom lack the sound and the substance. Or maybe they’ll associate country with Carrie Underwood and Eric Church–they will recognize the substance but lose the sound. But until Morgan and Pardi, there hasn’t been a traditional sound being carried to the masses in years. Pop country isn’t a bad thing, but the complete elimination of the traditional is a terrible thing, and a dangerous thing for country as we know it. Therefore, when an artist like Morgan breaks through and gets a #1 single, we should all be celebrating. There is still much work to be done in Nashville, both in sound and substance, but Morgan, and others like him, are bringing hope for everyone who thought traditional country was lost. He’s not pop country, he’s not country rock, he’s not Americana. He’s just country. And I miss country. I fell in love with country. Country is my passion as a fan and my focus as a reviewer. It’s what I’ll always love the most, even though I praise and listen to plenty of good music from other genres, and it seemed, not long ago, that the music I loved would be lost forever in the mainstream. I am nothing but glad that Morgan and Pardi have broken through, and that young people out there listening to country radio once again have the opportunity to fall in love with real country the way I did. As I said, there is still a lot of work to be done, but let’s all recognize this for what it is, a positive step, and be glad for how far we’ve come.

Billboard Country Airplay and Country Albums Chart (October 17th)

Billboard Country Airplay

1. Kenny Chesney–“Save It for a Rainy Day” (3rd week at #1)
2. Brett Eldredge–“Lose My Mind” (up 1)
3. Luke Bryan–“Strip It Down” (up 1)
4. Keith Urban–“John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” (down 2)
5. Florida Georgia Line–“Anything Goes”
6. Chase Rice–“Gonna Wanna Tonight” (up 2)
7. Old Dominion–“Break Up With Him” (down 1)
8. Cole Swindell–“Let Me See Ya Girl” (up 2)
9. Carrie Underwood–“Smoke Break” (down 2)
10. Maddie & Tae–“Fly” (up 1)
11. Dan + Shay–“Nothin’ Like You” (up 1)
12. Blake Shelton–“Gonna” (up 1)
13. Chris Young–“I’m Comin’ Over” (up 1)
14. Jason Aldean–“Gonna Know We Were Here” (up 1)
15. Tim McGraw–“Top of the World” (up 1)
16. Cam–“Burning House” (up 1)
17. Brothers Osborne–“Stay a Little Longer” (up 2)
18. Big & Rich–“Run Away With You” (up 3)
19. Parmalee–“Already Callin’ You Mine” (up 1)
20. Kelsea Ballerini–“Dibs” (up 2)
21. LoCash–“I Love This Life” (up 2)
22. Jana Kramer–“I Got the Boy” (up 2)
23. Hunter Hayes–“21” (up 2)
24. Brad Paisley–“Country Nation” (up 2)
25. Randy Houser–“We Went” (up 3)
26. Sam Hunt–“Break up in a Small Town” (entering top 30)
27. A Thousand Horses–(“This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” (up 3)
28. The Band Perry–“Live Forever” (down 1)
29. Jake Owen–“Real Life” (down 11)
30. Thomas Rhett–“Die a Happy Man” (entering top 30)

  • Kenny Chesney’s “Save It for a Rainy Day” remains at the top for a 3rd week
  • next week’s #1 prediction: “Lose My Mind
  • Sam Hunt’s horrible “Break up in a Small Town” and Thomas Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man” enter the top 30 this week
  • Chris Janson’s “Buy Me a Boat” fell from #9 to out of the top 30
  • Chase Bryant’s “Little Bit of You” fell from #29 to #31

Billboard Top Country Albums

What a victory for country music!

1. Don Henley–Cass County [debut]
2. George Strait–Cold Beer Conversation [debut]
3. Thomas Rhett–Tangled Up [debut]
4. Luke Bryan–Kill the Lights
5. Sam Hunt–Montevallo
6. Alabama–Southern Drawl
7. Brett Eldredge–Illinois
8. Zac Brown Band–Jekyll + Hyde
9. Eric Church–The Outsiders
10. Florida Georgia Line–Anything Goes
11. Little Big Town–Painkiller
12. Maddie & Tae–Start Here
13. Clint Black–On Purpose [debut]
14. Alan Jackson–Angels and Alcohol
15. Jason Aldean–Old Boots, New Dirt
16. Turnpike Troubadours–Turnpike Troubadours
17. Brantley Gilbert–Just as I Am
18. Kacey Musgraves–Pageant Material
19. Various Artists–Now That’s What I Call Country, Volume 8
20. Chase Rice–Ignite the Night
21. Chris Stapleton–Traveller
22. Kip Moore–Wild Ones
23. Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard–Django and Jimmie
24. Home Free–Country Evolution
25. Jason Isbell–Something More Than Free

  • Don Henley’s Cass County and George Strait’s Cold Beer Conversation each sold more than 80,000 copies, coming in at #1 and #2
  • Thomas Rhett’s Tangled Up missed Strait by 20,000 copies and came in at #3…this is the best sentence I have ever written on this blog
  • Clint Black’s On Purpose unimpressively debuts at #13

Source: Billboard