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The 26 Albums of 2014 You Probably Didn’t But Really Should Hear

From Dolly Parton’s ‘Blue Smoke’ to Frankie Ballard’s ‘Sunshine & Whiskey,’ the stellar albums you may have missed in 2014

26 Albums You Need to Hear

With so much music released every year, we can't blame anyone for missing some real gems — albums that, for whatever reason, didn't make their way into country music fans' hard drives, CD players or onto their turntables. Some slipped into the marketplace without a major-label marketing push, while others were big-budget releases that, despite a promotional blitz, have so far flown under the radar. The one factor they all have in common? They deserve to be discovered anew. Here are the 26 albums from 2014 that you probably haven't, but really should listen to in their entirety. — By Stephen L. Betts, Adam Gold, Joseph Hudak, Andrew Leahey, Marissa R. Moss and Sarah Rodman

The Secret Sisters, "Put Your Needle Down"

Photo courtesy of Universal Republic

The Secret Sisters, ‘Put Your Needle Down’

Laura and Lydia Rogers' haunting harmonies combine with the spooky nuances of T Bone Burnett's country baroque production for an album fit for a horror film. But that shouldn't scare you away. Rather, touches like the pained violin strains on the Southern gothic second track, "Iuka," are magnetic. As are fleshed-out covers of the P.J. Harvey marriage kiss-off "The Pocket Knife" and the half-baked Bob Dylan sketch "Dirty Lie." The record — the Muscle Shoals sister act's follow-up to their self-titled 2010 debut — actually takes its titular line from that Harvey song and a page from the Old Crow Medicine playbook for "Dirty Lie." But it's when the Rogers sisters infuse Burnett's swampy atmospherics with their ethereal vocals and cherubic charm that the duo asserts a singular identity for their Americana peers to reckon with. Listen to "Rattle My Bones."

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