10 Classic Country Albums Turning 40 This Year

From Tanya Tucker's decidedly Outlaw 'T.N.T' to Waylon Jennings' romanticizing 'I've Always Been Crazy'

Hank Williams Jr., 'The New South' (Warner Bros)
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Hank Williams Jr., 'The New South' (Warner Bros)

A too-little-appreciated Outlaw country masterpiece, The New South was Hank Jr.'s first album after nearly killing himself tumbling off a mountain. He leaves room here to really country-funk up one of his old man's old hits, but mostly this one shines a light on Hank's softer side, with thoughtful, even touching versions of songs by Steve Young, Jessi Colter and Gordon Lightfoot. Best of all is one of Jr.'s own, the opening "Feelin' Better," a kind of declaration of independence from expectations that underscores its key points with wailing harmonies from co-producer Waylon Jennings. From here on out, Jr.'s music is going to be "homegrown," he’s going to be "bending them strings" and he "don't feel like 'Lovesick Blues.'" Next up: that country game-changing "Family Tradition."