The country and Americana genres were responsible for some fantastic albums in 2019, with many of them defined by a left-field approach that resulted in bold new sounds.
Miranda Lambert mixed alt-rock with her country twang by teaming up with producer Jay Joyce. Texas band Mike and the Moonpies decamped to London to record with a symphony. Buzzy masked singer Orville Peck brought an air of mystery and gothic grandeur to the genre. Sturgill Simpson made his skronk-country record. And Dan Auerbach cemented his old-meets-new production style with three knockouts albums from Yola, Kendell Marvel, and Dee White.
And then there was Brandi Carlile, who not only formed one of the most vital and versatile supergroups in recent memory with the Highwomen, but also revealed a whole new side of country veteran Tanya Tucker by co-producing her marvelous comeback LP While I’m Livin‘.
An undercurrent of solidarity was also detectable this year, as artists rallied behind both musical and cultural causes. See the Highwomen, yes, but also Our Native Daughters, Maren Morris, Michaela Anne, and Emily Scott Robinson, who all put out albums with a message.
And some albums, from Jon Pardi’s good clean fun to Paul Cauthen’s don’t-tell-your-mama-about-it, just wanted to further the party.
Here’s the 40 best country and Americana LPs of the year.