40 Best Country and Americana Albums of 2017

Kip Moore flipped off the industry, Willie Nelson taunted mortality, and Margo Price questioned the American dream

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Jessica Lea Mayfield, 'Sorry Is Gone'
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39/40

39. Jessica Lea Mayfield, 'Sorry Is Gone'

"Can I trust you now for sure?" Jessica Lea Mayfield asks on "Meadow," one of the sharpest rhetorical questions on this awesomely acerbic breakup album. Songs like that one, or the worn acoustic lament "Safe 2 Connect 2," or the grungy ballad "WTF," are even more powerful if you know the album's traumatic backstory. But you don't need that context to appreciate Mayfield's radically compelling brand of emotional honesty. Leading a limber session band that includes Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley on drums and Seth Avett on keys and backup vocals, she's in full command. A 37-minute thunderstorm inside a candy shell of aching melody. S.V.L.

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