21. Chris Stapleton, 'Traveller'
Chris Stapleton has spent the past decade writing radio-friendly songs for a who's who of country superstars. But on his debut album, Stapleton digs deeper and gets personal, leading a master class in old-school country songcraft with 14 songs full of weary life lessons and whiskey-induced heartbreak. It's old-school country mixed with Southern rock, delivered in a voice like a soul singer's and with no flashy production. Traveller may feel old – well, that's the point. From autobiographical weepers such as "Daddy Doesn't Pray Anymore" to the soaring, arena-ready "Parachute," every track goes straight for the emotional jugular and give a glimpse inside a wildly introspective mind. Acoustic ballads like "Whiskey and You" and "Daddy Doesn't Pray Anymore" provide the highlights, with Stapleton's soulful Kentucky baritone taking center stage. With a recent viral duet with Justin Timberlake and a handful of CMAs now under his belt, the secret is finally out: Stapleton is a major talent.