40 Best Country Albums of 2016

Miranda Lambert, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price and more of the year's best

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Darrell Scott, 'Couchville Sessions'

29. Darrell Scott, 'Couchville Sessions'

Darrell Scott's been a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to Nashville songwriting: a solo artist, a hitmaker (Dixie Chicks' "Long Time Gone"), a session guy and a collaborator to folks like Guy Clark. For nearly 30 years, he's been making Americana before it turned trendy and watched as country went from the Quonset Hut soundboard to the Pizza Hut speakers. Much of Couchville Sessions – which sat for over a decade and a half before being reinvigorated and released – is a reflection on the freedom that comes with worrying more about making music than where it might belong. "We won't give a damn if it's folk, rock, country or blues" he sings on the opening track, "Down to the River," an anthem in the tune of Bob Dylan's "The Man in Me" made for anyone looking to relieve the pressure of online music discovery algorithms. M.M.

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