Best country and roots albums of 2017: Chris Stapleton, Gregg Allman and more
Who made the list for the best country albums of the year?
Gregg Allman, Southern Blood. The final album by the cofounder of the Allman Brothers Band, who died in May, is as moving and magnificent a farewell as you can get.
Terry Anderson, Jimmy's Arcade. Brilliant and often hilarious underneath his hick persona, this North Carolinian continues to distill rock-and-roll down to its joyous essence.
Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, Contraband Love. The husband-and-wife team, stepping up for a second time from their roles as accompanists, span rock, blues, country, and folk on a riveting set that visits some dark places but doesn't dwell there.
J.D. McPherson, Undivided Heart and Soul. The Oklahoman smartly expands his palette sonically, musically, and lyrically while maintaining his basic roots-rock thrust, further proving he's no mere revivalist.
Dan Montgomery, Gone. The Memphis-by-way-of-Pennsauken resident delivers another compelling set of downbeat-as-usual songs with the fiercest and most authoritative rocking of his career, along with some country and soul.
Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real. The son of Willie Nelson and his band chart their own course on this self-titled album with top-flight Nelson originals that masterfully evoke everyone from Glen Campbell to the Stones.
Margo Price, All American Made. The country spitfire reaffirms her position as the true heir to Loretta Lynn with a second album that is even more potent and pointed than the first.
Shinyribs, I Got Your Medicine. This Texas ensemble led by Kevin Russell, a terrifically charismatic singer and writer, exudes an infectiously freewheeling spirit while encompassing rock and roll, R&B, country, soul, and gospel.
Chris Stapleton, From a Room, Volumes 1 and 2. These two separately released sets feature spare accompaniment that reflects the to-the-bone nature of the material and puts in sharp relief this unlikely star's formidable talents as a writer, singer, and guitarist.
Lee Ann Womack, The Lonely, the Lonesome, and the Gone. Freed from the commercial constraints of Nashville, the country singer continues to flourish with understated but powerful performances on songs that, as the title indicates, avoid easy sentimentality.
Honorable mention: Don Bryant, Don't Give Up on Love; Glen Campbell, Adios; Delbert McClinton, Prick of the Litter; Angaleena Presley, Wrangled; Mavis Staples, If All I Was Was Black