The Best Country Music Albums of the Last Decade

Unearthing the Nashville Sound

Being a Melbourne gal, many of my pals are always surprised by my all-consuming love for country music. Yes, you read that right. This Aussie girl loves her some Nashville twang! Sitting down with my Australian Shepherd, Max, and my ever chirpy parakeet, Skye, I've spent hours blissfully engrossed in the world painted by country music artists. But honestly, Max and Skye seem to enjoy it just as much as I do! Maybe that's why I inherently understand the emotional depth, raw artistry, and authentic storytelling that make up the best country music albums of the last decade. So, without further ado, let's kick up some dust on this dirt road and explore the best of the best.

The 'Heartache Medication' Prescription – Jon Pardi

The album 'Heartache Medication' from Jon Pardi surged onto the country music scene like a wild mustang in 2019. With Pardi's robust voice, infectious melodies, and a wicked sense of humour, this album is a whisky-drenched ode to classic country. Covering themes like love, heartbreak, and resilience makes this album reminiscent of the good old cowboy days. 'Ain't Always The Cowboy' and 'Heartache Medication' are standout tracks that make you feel like riding into the sunset with a lasso and a Stetson.

A Dive into 'Ocean' – Lady A

Going from a raucous rodeo to a contemplative shoreline, 'Ocean' by Lady A brought a wave of introspection and melancholy to the country music landscape in 2019. The name of the album represents a vast expanse of emotions, alluding to the torrid ebb and flow of life's ups and downs. Signature harmonies, poignant lyrics, and emotionally charged performances create a tsunami of feelings. Hit tracks 'What If I Never Get Over You' and 'Pictures' are my personal life rafts, saving me from many a choppy ocean of my own heartaches.

Getting 'Golden Hour' Glow – Kacey Musgraves

No conversation about the best country music albums of the last decade is complete without tipping our hat to Kacey Musgraves's 'Golden Hour.' Released in 2018, this album is a shimmering exploration of love, self-discovery, and growing up. The psychedelic vibes and pop influences were a brave departure from traditional country norms, which is exactly why it stayed on the top charts worldwide. Mesmerising tracks like 'Butterflies' and 'High Horse' tattooed on your mind, making you hum them subconsciously while going about your regular chores. Heck, I remember once absent-mindedly singing 'Slow burn' while baking muffins for a bake sale and ended up burning them!

'Traveller' Journeys with Chris Stapleton

Stepping into the shoes of a wayfarer is easier with the soulful tunes of Chris Stapleton’s 'Traveller.' Released in 2015, its bluegrass sounds, rustic timbre, and reflective lyrics struck a chord with listeners worldwide. Themes of love, wanderlust, and redemption paint pictures of lonely highways, smoky bars, and love's many faces. The title track 'Traveller' and 'Tennessee Whiskey' are beloved tunes which embody the album's essence. In fact, just last year I found myself sitting in a bar in a small town just outside of Melbourne, nursing a drink and humming along to 'Tennessee Whiskey' playing in the background! That's the immersive power of Chris Stapleton's music for you.

Exploring 'Life Changes' – Thomas Rhett

One of most recent addictions is Thomas Rhett’s album 'Life Changes.' Released in 2017, this album resonates with its universality of life experiences, blurring the line between country and pop. Tracks about finding love, getting married, having kids and dealing with life's curveballs are so relatable that you can't help but feel a personal connection. The title track 'Life Changes' and 'Marry Me' are bound to move you profoundly. I felt like he was telling my story with those lyrics!

Wrapping Up the Melodies

The exploration of country music doesn’t stop here - there are plenty more albums to revisit and upcoming ones to anticipate. And while each of these albums mentioned showcase different aspects of country music - from introspection, heartbreak, love, to life experiences - they all have one thing in common. That one thing is their powerful ability to narrate stories, evoking images and stirring up a concoction of emotions within the listeners. That's the indefinable magic of country music for you! Now, I guess it's time for me, Max and Skye to put on some more tunes and feel the Nashville love down under.

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