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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Kenny Chesney, 'The Big Revival'

13. Kenny Chesney, 'The Big Revival'

After last year's totally disastrous, oddly ambitious Life on a Rock, a genre-crossing collection of aimlessly adrift country and reggae, Kenny Chesney washed ashore with his best album in years. Here, the 46-year-old superstar returns to the heartland, road-tripping with friends, falling for hippies, grilling chicken and tailgating outside the biggest football game of the year. On the record's title track, he even finds inspiration in a snake-handling Pentecostal church, grabbing a copperhead as symbol of vitality, urgency and rebirth. N.M.

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