40 Best Country Albums of 2014

The greatest statements from the year's outsiders, small town heroes and American middle class

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Billy Joe Shaver, 'Long in the Tooth'

32. Billy Joe Shaver, 'Long in the Tooth'

On his first album in seven years, this Texas hell-raiser doesn't sound a day over 100. Sure he's more grizzled than ever but more vulnerable too, whether trading kids-these-days verses with Willie on "Hard to Be an Outlaw" ("who ain't wanted anymore"), shaking his head at the latest rich man's swindle, or acknowledging his limitations as a romantic partner — emotionally on "I'll Love You As Much as I Can," or physically on the title track. K.H.

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