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Half Year Review: The best Country music albums & songs of 2022 so far

The first six months of the year are almost up so it’s time for a half-year report on what we’ve enjoyed in the world of Country music so far in 2022. There’s been some strong releases by both new and established artists this year and lots of good indications that Country music is in a healthy place.

Here’s our Top Five albums of the year so far:

5) Caitlyn Smith – ‘High’

A terrific part of Smith’s eventual ‘High and Low’ release featuring songs written and produced by Smith herself. The vocals are soaring, the emotions are running wild and there are even radio-friendly hits as well. Here’s our review.

4) Miranda Lambert – ‘Palomino’

A wonderfully expansive album about freedom and people. Ride the Cumberland river on the ‘Music City Queen, visit ‘Waxahachie’ and let go of your troubles and ride the ‘Carousel’ amongst a fascinating group of people. An album in the truest sense of the word. Here’s our review.

3) Brett Eldredge – ‘Songs About You’

Following up his ‘Sunday Drive’ album, Brett continues to release high-quality, personal music with real heart and soul. ‘I Feel Fine’ is a dark, funky number with a fresh sound for Brett. ‘Holy Water’ has a touch of the Gospel about it and ‘Hideaway’ has that classic ‘Eldredge, no phones, middle of nowhere’ type vibe about it. Here’s our review.

2) Jillian Jacqueline – ‘Honestly’

A rich, diverse and lush album from JJ. Superb storytelling, beautiful melodies and the type of music that doesn’t get enough attention from the power-brokers on Music Row. The delightful ‘Bandwagon’, the gut-punch honesty of ‘Hummingbird’ and the duet with TJ Osborne on ‘Better With a Broken Heart’ all deserve major attention. Here’s our review.

1) Jackson Dean – ‘Greenbroke’

What a belter of an album! Dean comes right out of the traps firing on this superb debut record. Power, passion and a voice made for arenas. ‘Red Light’ is an awesome singalong, ‘Wings’ is a tender, heartfelt ballad and ‘Superstitions’ a bluesy, rich treat for the ears. We saw Dean play at the recent CMAFest in Nashville and he’s as good live as he is in the studio! Here’s our review. Here’s our interview with Jackson Dean from Nashville during CMAFest.

Here’s our Top 5 songs of the year so far:

*Caveat here, as always with Country music, is that some of the songs that have impacted radio and streaming platforms this year might have been released last year*

5) Morning in New Orleans – Matt Roy

Wonderful, earthy track about heartbreak and memories set in one of the most evocative towns in the USA.

4) Whiskey on You – Nate Smith

Banger! Nate is going to be a star of the future. That voice! This is a song where you are simply unable to not singalong to.

3) Heart Like a Truck – Lainey Wilson

Future number one alert here. Lainey comes back in the next cycle of her career with an absolutely delightful, melodic track.

2) Caitlyn Smith – Maybe in Another Life

Pass the tissues, please. We saw Caitlyn sing this song at least four times live during the C2C Festival in London back in March and each time was an emotional rollercoaster. One of the most powerful songs we’ve heard in a long time and beautifully crafted too.

1) Til’ You Can’t – Cody Johnson

Quite simply the most zeitgeist song of 2022 and for good reasons too. It went to number one on USA radio and then slipped down the charts before climbing back up to number 2 again! Power, passion and meaning. Simply stunning in its simplicity and impact.

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