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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David Nail, 'I'm A Fire'

26. David Nail, 'I'm A Fire'

The smooth vocalist — who, along with Randy Houser, ranks as one of country's most underappreciated singers — returned to Number One with I'm a Fire's debut single "Whatever She's Got." A fine enough song, despite its umpteenth use of country's blue-jeans allusion, the single was eclipsed by the rest of the album's more insightful fare, especially the haunting ballad "The Secret" and the Little Big Town collab "When They're Gone (Lyle County)." And points to Nail for paying homage to his hero, Glen Campbell, on a righteous cover of the Rhinestone Cowboy's "Galveston," with another top crooner, Lee Ann Womack. J.H.

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