The 26 Albums of 2014 You Probably Didn't But Really Should Hear

From Dolly Parton's 'Blue Smoke' to Frankie Ballard's 'Sunshine & Whiskey,' the stellar albums you may have missed in 2014

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Nickel Creek, 'A Dotted Line'
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Courtesy Nonesuch Records15/26

Nickel Creek, 'A Dotted Line'

Following a seven year hiatus, the virtuosic California trio explodes back to life with a reunion album that evokes its best work while expanding its ongoing musical conversation. The group continues to cut across neighboring county lines from bluegrass runs to folk introspection to blues and gospel-flavored tunes.  Each singing-songwriting member — master mandolinist Chris Thile, guitarist Sean Watkins and his fiddling younger sister Sara — contributes individually and collectively to songs bursting with exuberant instrumental interplay and hair-raising harmonies. Driving originals like "Destination" are bolstered by quirky covers, including a dizzying dash through Mother Mother's "Hayloft."

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