12 Great Country, Americana Albums You Probably Didn't Hear in 2017

From Sara Evans' pop-country stunner to Jeffrey Steele's old-school Sons of the Palomino project

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Sons of the Palomino, 'Sons of the Palomino'
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Sons of the Palomino, 'Sons of the Palomino'

Sons of the Palomino is the sound of Los Angeles country in the Eighties, in practice and in spirit. The debut LP from the band of the same name, the record was the brainchild of veteran songwriter Jeffrey Steele, who'd cut his teeth as a country musician 30 years ago at Hollywood's famed Palomino club. Looking to rekindle the barroom basics of those two-stepping toe-tappers, Steele enlisted the help of a murderer's row of studio players who'd cut the classic West Coast records of the day. The results were so good that names like Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Jamey Johnson insisted on getting involved, but star power isn't the selling point of songs like "Runnin' Around" or "Countryholic" – it's an inside-out understanding of what makes a clever hook and rock-solid shuffle feel so timeless. J.G.

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