15 Great Country and Americana Albums You Didn't Hear in 2016

From Mark Chesnutt's country tradition to Wheeler Walker Jr.'s country crass, 15 albums that flew under the radar

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Craig Morgan, 'A Whole Lot More to Me'
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Craig Morgan, 'A Whole Lot More to Me'

Morgan allowed himself to age gracefully on his seventh studio album, and the payoff is readily apparent. A Whole Lot More to Me is a mature record that, while not afraid to have a little fun ("I'm That Country"), values poignancy over pop country. Songs like "Hearts I Leave Behind," "Country Side of Heaven" and "When I'm Gone" sting with emotion – and take on more weight in light of the accidental death of Morgan's teenage son shortly after the album's release. But it's the title track in which the vocalist, a country Renaissance man who hosts his own outdoors show, works as a law-enforcement officer and gives motivational speeches, reveals the glorious dichotomy of his being. Crooning "I like caviar and a tall glass of champagne" without a hint of baller bravado, Morgan shows that even the captain of the "Redneck Yacht Club" can appreciate the finer things in life. J.H.

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