Best Country Albums Of 2024 (So Far)

These albums represent the best country music has offered in 2024 so far.

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Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

July 9, 2024

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12:38 pm

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10 Best Country Albums of 2024 (So Far)

Now that we are halfway through 2024, it’s time to take a look back on all the incredible albums that have graced our playlists so far this year. 

These past few months been remarkable for country music, as both seasoned artists like Kenny Chesney and Carly Pearce and emerging acts like Zach Top and Shaboozey have put out some of their best work to date. From nostalgic nods to traditional country music to innovative blends of modern genre-bending sounds, these albums have showcased the genre’s rich diversity and truth bearing storytelling. Whether you’re a fan of heart-wrenching ballads, boot-stomping anthems, or self-reflecting tunes, there’s something in this list for everyone.

While there are plenty more exciting projects to come, we have rounded up a list of 10 of the best country albums of 2024 so far that you may want to go back and relisten to. Find the complete list below in no particular order.

Carly Pearce - hummingbird Album Cover; Courtesy of Big Machine Records
Carly Pearce – hummingbird Album Cover; Courtesy of Big Machine Records

Carly Pearce – Hummingbird

Carly Pearce discovered her most authentic sound and voice on her previous album, 29: Written in Stone, and she continues to lean into that on the recently released hummingbird. For years, Pearce has voiced her desire to remain a traditional country artist, similar to those she grew up listening to, and this project more than fulfills that promise. From the clever, yet sassy, “truck on fire” and “rock paper scissors” to the deeply honest and emotional “oklahoma” and “pretty please” to the instant country classic “fault line,” Pearce proves she has found her lane, and she’s staying in it (as they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”). With its heartfelt lyrics and authentic country sound, hummingbird reaffirms Carly Pearce’s place in the genre.

Luke Combs; Fathers & Sons
Luke Combs; Fathers & Sons

Luke Combs – Fathers & Sons

Luke Combs delivers a heavy dose of emotions with his new album, Fathers & Sons. Throughout each of the 12 expertly crafted tracks, listeners are reminded of the deep bond between parents and their children. These songs highlight pivotal moments we experience as fathers, mothers, daughters, and sons at various stages in life, like the euphoric feeling of reuniting after time apart, the fear of disappointing those you love, the realization that parents know best, and the sometimes heartbreaking reality of seeing those we love age. It’s clear that this project was crafted from the heart, and that’s a true testament to Combs’ artistry because these songs hit hard. An album like this may not produce several chart-topping radio hits, but it will surely have an emotional impact on listeners and for that reason alone, this record may be one of the most important releases of Combs’ storied country music career. Whether you’re a parent or not, grab the tissues—listening to Fathers & Sons is like going on an epic, emotional musical journey.

Scotty McCreery - Rise and Fall
Scotty McCreery – Rise and Fall

Scotty McCreeryRise & Fall

In May 2024, Scotty McCreery released his fifth and what could easily be seen as his best album to date, Rise & Fall. The project showcases his growth as an artist over the past 13 years, while honoring his modern-day traditionalist sound. In a previous interview with Country Now, the American Idol alum admitted to taking a “no rules” approach to writing and recording this project, resulting in a work he is extremely proud of. Within the 13 tracks, he weaves nostalgic ‘90s influenced tunes like “Can’t Bass The Bar” with faith-filled songs such as “Red Letter Blueprint,” and offers plenty of authentic storytelling. Plus, staying true to his signature style, McCreery continues to capture the hearts of fans with his tender love songs including the latest single, “Fall Of Summer.” The album also features his chart-topper “Cab In A Solo” as well as fan-favorites, “Love Like This,” “Slow Dance,” “Porch,” and more. 

Kenny Chesney - BORN Cover Art
Kenny Chesney – BORN Cover Art

Kenny ChesneyBORN

One of the many reasons Kenny Chesney has had such a successful career is because of his unwavering ability to create a community of fans who find serenity in his coastal country tunes. On his latest album, BORN, Chesney continues what he has always done while reaching a bit deeper into his vulnerable storytelling to create songs that depict the motions of real life – living, breathing, working, kicking back on the weekends and getting through those tough moments. Any and all worries melt away while taking in all 12 tracks on BORN. From the very top of the project, to the very bottom, where the song “Wherever You Are Tonight” closes things out, Chesney pours his heart and soul into the entire full-length project. Standout tracks like “Just To Say We Did,” the title track, and his latest chart-climbing single, “Take Her Home,” have particularly resonated with fans since the March 2024 release, but every song on the album is easy to fall in love with.

Kameron Marlowe; Keepin' The Lights On
Kameron Marlowe; Keepin’ The Lights On

Kameron MarloweKeepin’ The Lights On

There’s no doubt that Kameron Marlowe is beyond powerful in his ability to captivate listeners with his unmatched vocals and incredibly moving storytelling. With his sophomore album, Keepin’ The Lights On, the North Carolina native proves just that and more across 16-songs that delve into themes of mental health, love, life lessons and self-reflection. Many of these stories were born from Marlowe’s real-life emotions and experiences that brought challenges, growth and new milestones throughout his life, particularly since the release of his debut album, We Were Cowboys, in 2022. Produced by Dann Huff, the album opens with the nostalgic honky-tonk anthem “911” and features with previously acclaimed singles “Quit You,” “Strangers” (with Ella Langley), “Tennessee Don’t Mind,” and “On My Way Out.” Other tracks like “Nothin’ Slowin’ Us Down” and “Never Really Know” continue the album’s theme of raw transparency before culminating with the focus track “I Can Run,” a powerful narrative that provides a raw glimpse into Marlowe’s mind as he realizes that one can never truly escape oneself. Marlowe’s latest collection of songs marks his most honest and vulnerable work to date, thus solidifying Keepin’ The Lights On as one of the best country albums of 2024 so far.

ERNEST; NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
ERNEST; NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

 
ERNEST – NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

When ERNEST unleashed his sophomore album, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, he made it clear that he is proud of where he comes from and he is prepared to shout it from the highest rooftop. This collection of 26 songs produced by Joey Moi offers listeners a mix of countrified anthems that honor the traditions of the genre as well as star-studded collaborations with some of country music’s most notable hitmakers. He kicks things off with the previously released song, “I Went To College/ I Went To Jail” featuring Jelly Roll, which sets the tone for the album that is rich in authenticity, wit, and true country storytelling. Other notable country stars that appear across the project include Lukas NelsonMorgan WallenLainey Wilson, and HARDY. This album clearly honors Music City in a way that simultaneously shines a light on ERNEST’s diverse abilities as a singer/songwriter.

Randall King, Into The Neon Cover Art Courtesy of Warner Music Nashville_
Randall King, Into The Neon Cover Art Courtesy of Warner Music Nashville_

Randall King Into The Neon

At the top of the year, Randall King ushered in a new sonic chapter with his sophomore major label album, Into The Neon. Co-produced by King alongside Jared Conrad, the 18-track project serves as a culmination of King’s experience performing under the neon lights of nearly 150 honky tonks each year, where he gained lasting memories and learned to hone in on his authentic sound. Amid the gritty rock and roll tunes and classic barn burners, this record displays true diversity as each song tells a different story of love, heartbreak, or memories drawn from King’s roots. Any fan listening to Into The Neon offers will be taken on a journey through nostalgic sounds that mirrors the early careers of Gary Allan and Dierks Bentley while also being immersed into the timeless country twang of George Strait and Keith Whitley.

Shaboozey - Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going
Shaboozey – Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going

ShaboozeyWhere I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going

Shaboozey has dominated country radio this year with his breakout hit, “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” and he maintains the same genre-bending allure in his debut major-label studio album and third album overall, Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going. These 12 songs display the perfect balance between country and hip-hop as Shaboozey cements his own unique sound. He delivers confident swagger within his twangy-rap tracks while offering a sonic blend of pedal steel, acoustic guitar, banjo and fiddle alongside modernized production elements. Listeners are faced with emotional illustrations of deep-rooted pain and heartache in songs like “Steal Her From Me” and “My Fault” feat. Noah Cyrus while “Drink Don’t No Mix” adds to his growing collection of late-night anthems. Many fans may just be getting introduced to Shaboozey, but this album reveals he’s got many more layers to uncover as an artist. 

Gabby Barrett - Chapter & Verse
Gabby Barrett – Chapter & Verse

Gabby Barrett  Chapter & Verse

At only 23 years old and a mother of three, Gabby Barrett has certainly proved her ability to balance a booming music career with life at home, all while keeping a tight grip on her core values. In her newest album, Chapter & Verse, the multi-platinum star gives listeners an in-depth look into how her upbringing has influenced her faith-centered approach to raising her own children. Barrett covers everything from feel-good anthems to moving piano ballads, and tender love songs, which are bookended by the songs that make up the full title. She took a hands-on approach as a co-producer alongside GRAMMY-nominated Ross Copperman, and she also co-wrote nine of the 14 songs with talented songwriters like Miranda Lambert. Fans got their first tast of the full-length project through songs like “Cowboy Back,” “Growin’ Up Raising You” and “Glory Days.”

Zach Top - Country Beer & Country Music
Zach Top – Country Beer & Country Music

Zach TopCold Beer & Country Music 

Zach Top spent months building anticipation for his sophomore album, Cold Beer & Country Music with songs like “Justa Jonesin’,” “The Kinda Woman I Like,” “Busy Doin’ Nothin’,” and the album’s lead single, “Sounds Like The Radio.” With these tracks, he made it clear that his goal is to bring ’90s country back to the spotlight. This album puts a modern twist on traditional country music themes as Top aims to transport listeners to one of the most beloved eras of the genre. Top might be among the new generation of rising country stars, but his twangy vocals and melodies featuring fiddles, steel guitars and warm banjo plucks effortlessly capture the essence traditional country in every note. Cold Beer & Country Music is the perfect collection of songs for any fans who crave a revival of that tradition country sound.

***These albums were selected from full-length projects released from January 1, 2024 to June 30, 2024***

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.