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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Nikki Lane, 'All or Nothin''

11. Nikki Lane, 'All or Nothin''

It's one thing to take inspiration from Loretta Lynn — it's another to shoot her "Pill" with a swig of whiskey straight from the bottle and turn a one night stand into country's naughtiest song of the year. "Sleep with a Stranger," like the rest of Nikki Lane's Dan Auerbach-produced LP All or Nothin', establishes not only a singular tone with her twangy rasp and guitar strings sticky from both resin and Seventies groove, but a singular point of view at a time when Music Row's women are often relegated to riding shotgun in short-shorts on the back of their boyfriend's Harley. Lane's the one driving, but she'll still take those teeny cutoffs, thank you very much. M.M.

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