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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Doug Paisley, 'Strong Feelings'
40
21/40

21. Doug Paisley, 'Strong Feelings'

Gently heartbroken Canadian heartbreaker Doug Paisley (no relation to the guy who just put out Moonshine in the Trunk) is less a one-man band than a one-man The Band. His expertly subdued third album (wherein the "feelings" part quietly overpowers the "strong" part) is a soothing broth of delicate folk, empathetic country and erudite indie-rock, a welcome hammock siesta in the backyard of the Big Pink of our minds. Garth Hudson devotees will have the most fun here, between the empathetic organ noodling and the occasional simmering sax solo. Bummer thesis: "Holding out for something from the past/Future's burning brightly, but it won't last." Maybe not, but this makes for a great last waltz in the meantime. R.H.

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