40 Best Country Albums of 2015

From Willie and Merle to Maddie and Tae, the year in travellers and storytellers

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John Anderson, 'Goldmine'

38. John Anderson, 'Goldmine'

John Anderson provided one of the most welcome comebacks of 2015. Not that the tireless touring artist ever disappeared completely, but it was a long nine years in between studio albums. With Goldmine, he proves that it was time well spent. One of country's most unmistakable working vocalists, second only to Willie Nelson perhaps, Anderson brings his high lonesome singing style to a swampy batch of new songs, from the glowing title track to the barroom shuffle of "I Work a Lot Better." As such, it's his most rewarding project in years. Anderson even comes close to recapturing the lightning in a bottle of his 1983 hit "Swingin'" with the goofy but glorious "Magic Mama," a song written especially for the Florida native by Merle Haggard. J.H.

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