23. Sundy Best, 'Bring Up the Sun' and 'Salvation City'
These boys from Kentucky were busy in 2014, releasing two full-length albums nine months apart. March's Bring Up the Sun nodded to Petty with the jangling "Until I Met You" and showcased the bare-bones sound of Nick Jamerson's acoustic and Kris Bentley's cajón drum. December's follow-up, Salvation City, was a more adventurous project, adding electric guitar, strings and their stab at a radio hit in "Do You Wanna Go." But both LPs, written entirely by Jamerson-Bentley, proved you don't need a major label behind you — or a room full of Nashville songwriters — to make an impression. J.H.