Ashley McBryde’s small-town principle album, Adeem the Artist’s revelatory songwriting, and Willie Nelson’s event of the uneasy spirit were amongst the peaks in a year that saw c and w pressing even additional past its limits
Flashing back to this year’s CMA Awards in November, the consensus was that it was among the “more nation” programs in current memory. The exact same can be stated of the music that came out of Nashville, Texas, and points in between in 2022. Kelsea Ballerini, Joshua Hedley, Lainey Wilson, Ashley McBryde, Charley Crockett, and Hailey Whitters all bundled aspects of bygone periods into their albums: be they from the rugged Seventies, the golden Eighties, or the shinyNineties (Lainey Wilson even composed this period’s “Strawberry Wine” in “Watermelon Moonshine,” a standout of her exceptional Bell Bottom Country album.) Yet no matter how far or current each album recalled, they handled to sound fresh and modern.
Of course, c and w can likewise be at its most efficient when it attempts to take dangers. Kane Brown dropped an LP with both fiddle and trap noises, Paul Cauthen created a country-funk collection produced the club, and Miranda Lambert made a record that sounded a bit nation and a lot like Seventies rock (plus, The B-52’s!).
Still, it’s the lyricism of c and w, and its cousin Americana, that continues to specify the category. In 2022, names like Zach Bryan, Adeem the Artist, Jimmie Allen, and the ever constant Willie Nelson included some brand-new classics to the canon. Find them here, on our list of the very best nation albums of the year.