Nashville Scene Country Critics Poll Ballots, 2003 – 2020

Decided to put these all in one place — One-stop shopping, doncha know. Not sure when the poll started or when I was first invited to vote, but my 2003 ballot is the earliest I’ve been able to find so far. Can’t say I still entirely agree with all of these, especially the further back albums and singles go — No longer even own some of those CDs. So I’ve included occasional footnotes noting a few glaring omissions. Also, after 2010 or so as far I’m concerned, streaming has increasingly made reissues pretty much pointless. After that, like most everybody else, I relied less and less on hard copies.

I left out other categories (best new artists, best songwriters, best overall artists, etc.) because they never meant that much to me and, when I even bothered voting in them, I pretty much just winged it at the last minute. At some point (2016, maybe?) I instigated a redundancy rule where I refused to vote for singles that came off albums I also voted for. My determination of the genre’s perameters clearly waxed and waned over time as well; the lists include a smattering of Southern soul, regional Mexican, indie rock, K-pop, goth metal, Indonesian and especially hip-hop records that struck me as sufficiently country, at least at the time. Conversely, at some point I determined like country radio that Taylor Swift had stopped sounding country enough, except when she didn’t. Most “Americana”-friendly year is clearly 2018, but what twisted Americana, huh? Some day I should mathematically figure out who I’ve voted for most and highest — Just eyeballing it all, I’m guessing either Miranda Lambert or Toby Keith would probably win.

2020

ALBUMS: 1. RaeLynn – Baytown (Round Here EP); 2. Mickey Guyton – Bridges (Capitol Nashville EP); 3. Haley Georgia – Lonestar Mixtape (Haley Georgia EP); 4. Kelsea Ballerini – Kelsea (Black River Entertainment); 5. Caitlin Cannon – TrashCannon (Caitlin Cannon); 6. Ashley McBryde – Never Will (Warner Nashville); 7. Elizabeth Cook – Aftermath (Agent Love); 8. Hailey Whitters – The Dream (Pigasus/Big Loud/Songs & Daughters); 9. Corb Lund – Agricultural Tragic (New West); 10. Phil Vassar – Stripped Down (American Soul)

*Four albums that would also have been in the running, had I heard them before I voted: Brett Eldredge – Sunday Drive; Kidd G – Teenage Dream: 1000 Miles from Georgia; Brennen Leigh – Prairie Love Letter; Joshua Ray Walker – Glad You Made It.

SINGLES: Borock N Roll “Semesta Menyambut Gegap Gempita”; 2. Luke Combs “Six Feet Apart”; 3. Taylor Swift “Betty”; 4. Parker McCollum “Pretty Heart”; 5. Mark Chesnutt “I Found Another You (and She Hates Me Too)”; 6. Diplo “Do Si Do”; 7. Priscilla Block “PMS”; 8. John Anderson “Years”; 9. Orville Peck “Smalltown Boy”; 10. Hot Country Knights “Moose Knuckle Shuffle”

REISSUE: 1. Gid Tanner and his Skillet Lickers Anthology – The Deluxe Collection (Master Tape)

2019

 ALBUMS: 1.  Miranda Lambert – Wildcard (Vanner/RCA); 2.  Heathen Apostles – Dust To Dust (Ratchet Blade); 3.  The Rails – Cancel The Sun (Psychonaut Sounds); 4.  Kalie Shorr – Open Book (Kalie Shorr); 5.  Tom Russell – October in the Railroad Earth (Frontera); 6.  Tara Thompson — Hillbilly Christmas (TDT Enterprises); 7.  Granville Automatic – Radio Hymns (Granville Automatic); 8.  Reba McEntire – Stronger Than the Truth (Big Machine ); 9.  Billie Davis – Rosie’s Cantina (Market Square); 10. Tone Bringsdal — Prologue (Mother Likes It EP)

SINGLES: 1.   Blanco Brown – “The Git Up”; 2.  YelaWolf – “Opie Taylor”; 3.  Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)”; 4.  The Highwomen – “Highwomen”; 5.   Merle Hazard – “(Gimme Some of That) Ol’ Atonal Music”; 6.  Michael Salgado – “Honky Tonk Education”; 7.   Meat Puppets – “Nine Pins”; 8.   Paul Cauthen – “Cocaine Country Dancing”; 9.  Dillon Carmichael – “99 Problems (Fish Ain’t One)”; 10. RaeLynn – “Bra Off”

REISSUE: 1. Lone Justice – The Western Tapes, 1983 (Omnivore EP)

2018

ALBUMS; 1. 3hattrio – Lord of the Desert (Okehdokee); 2. Heathen Apostles – Bloodgrass Vol. I & II (Ratchet Blade); 3. Patricia Vonne – Top of the Mountain (Bandolera); 4. Pistol Annies – Interstate Gospel (RCA Nashville) ; 5. The Nude Party – The Nude Party (New West); 6. Oliver the Crow – Oliver The Crow (OTC); 7. New Reveille – The Keep (Loud & Proud); 8. Ashley McBryde – Girl Going Nowhere (Atlantic/Warner Nashville); 9. Alela Diane – Cusp (AllPoints); 10. Haley Georgia – First Rodeo (Haley Georgia EP)

SINGLES: 1. Faren Rachels – “Uber Driver”; 2. Jacob Powell – “Wagoneer”; 3. Sarah Ross – “Nervous Breakdown”; 4. Runaway June – “Buy My Own Drinks”; 5. Dusty Leigh – “Adrianna”; 6. Anna Vaus – “Day Job” ; 7. Kira Isabella – “Little Girl”; 8. Gretchen Peters – “Wichita”; 9. Midland feat. Jay De La Cueva – “Drinkin’ Problem (Brindemos)”; 10. Mandy McMillan – “Chasin’ the Ace”

2017

ALBUMS: 1. Charlie Worsham – Beginning Of Things (Warner Bros.); 2. Walker Hayes – Boom (Monument); 3. Kelsea Ballerini – Unapologetically (Black River Entertainment); 4. Jace Everett – Dust & Dirt (Weston Boys); 5. Liz Rose – Swimming Alone (Liz Rose); 6. Sunny Sweeney – Trophy (Aunt Daddy); 7. Lauren Alaina – Road Less Traveled (Mercury Nashville/19/Interscope); 8. Lee Ann Womack – The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone (Ato); 9. Darius Rucker – When Was the Last Time (Capitol Nashville); 10. Nikki Lane – Highway Queen (New West)

SINGLES:; 1. Haley Georgia – “Shots” ; 2. Haley Georgia – “Becky”; 3. Ashley McBride – “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega”; 4. Jessie James Decker feat. Randy Houser – “Almost Over You”; 5. Brandy Clark – “You’re Drunk”; 6. Midland –“Drinkin’ Problem”; 7. Bailey Bryan – “Own It”; 8. Nellie Tiger Travis – “Walking in the Rain in Memphis”; 9. Hurray for the Riff Raff – “Living in the City”; 10. Olivia Lane – “Wrong Girl”

2016

ALBUMS: 1.   Maren Morris – Hero (Columbia Nashville); 2.   Miranda Lambert – The Weight Of These Wings (Vanner/RCA Nashville); 3.   Brothers Osborne – Pawn Shop (EMI Nashville); 4.   Charles Kelley – The Driver (Capitol Nashville); 5.   Shooter Jennings – Countach (For Giorgio) (BCR); 6.   Brandy Clark – Big Day In A Small Town (Warner Bros.); 7.   Margo Price – Midwest Farmer’s Daughter (Third Man); 8.   Kenny Chesney – Cosmic Hallelujah (Blue Chair/Columbia Nashville); 9.   Frankie Ballard – El Rio (Warner Bros.); 10. Jennifer Nettles – Playing With Fire (Big Machine)

SINGLES: 1.   RaeLynn – “Love Triangle”; 2.   Eric Church – “Record Year” ; 3.   Clare Dunn- “Tuxedo”; 4.   Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan”; 5.   Brent Cobb- “Solving Problems”; 6.   Kimberly Dunn – “Traffic”; 7.  Beyoncé feat. Dixie Chicks – “Daddy Lessons”; 8.   The Mavericks – “The House I Live In”; 9.   Radney Foster – “All That I Require”; 10. Fruit Bats – “From A Soon-To-Be Ghost Town”

REISSUES: 1. Terry Allen – Lubbock (On Everything) (Paradise Of Bachelors)2. Eggs Over Easy – Good ‘N’ Cheap: The Eggs Over Easy Story (Yep Roc)

2015

ALBUMS: 1. Eric Church – Mr. Misunderstood (EMI Nashville); 2. Toby Keith – 35 MPH Town (Show Dog); 3. Cam  — Untamed (Arista Nashville); 4. Clint Black – On Purpose (Thirty Tigers/Black Top); 5. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material (Mercury Nashville); 6. Maddie & Tae – Start Here (Dot); 7. Thomas Rhett – Tangled Up (Valory Music Co.); 8. Brett Eldredge – Illinois (Atlantic); 9. The Mavericks – Mono (Valory Music Co.); 10. Reba McEntire – Love Somebody (Starstruck)

SINGLES: 1. Haley Georgia – “Ridiculous”; 2. Brothers Osborne – “Stay A Little Longer (Extended Version)”; 3. Blackberry Smoke – “Too High”; 4. Laura Denisse – “Sigo Enamorada”; 5. Cam – “My Mistake”; 6. Eric Church – “Like A Wrecking Ball”; 7. Miranda Lambert  – “Little Red Wagon”; 8, Beseech – “Highwayman”; 9. Thomas Rhett – “Crash And Burn”; 10. Lee Brice – “Drinking Class”

REISSUE: 1. Dr. John – The Atco/Atlantic Singles 1968-1974 (Omnivore)

2014

ALBUMS: 1. Miranda Lambert – Platinum (RCA Nashville); 2. Bubba Sparxxx – Made On McCosh Mill Road (eOne); 3. A Pony Named Olga – The Land Of Milk And Pony (Saustex); 4. Sunny Sweeney  – Provoked (Aunt Daddy); 5. Angaleena Presley – American Middle Class (Three Tigers); 6. Little Big Town  — Painkiller (Capitol); 7. Corb Lund – Counterfeit Blues (New West); 8. Frankie Ballard – Sunshine & Whiskey (Warner Bros.); 9. Sam Hunt – Montevallo (MCA Nashville); 10. Over The Rhine – Blood Oranges In The Snow (Great Speckled  Dog)

TOP TEN COUNTRY SINGLES OF 2014: 1. Brantley Gilbert – “Bottoms Up”; 2. Millie Jackson – “Black B_tch Crazy”; 3. Kira Isabella – “Quarterback”; 4. Big Jay Cummings – “Can We Ever Go Home Again”; 5. Sunny Sweeney – “Bad Girl Phase”; 6. Kacey Musgraves – “The Trailer Song”; 7. Eli Young Band – “Dust”; 8. Jamie O’Neal – “Wide Awake”; 9. Toby Keith – “Drunk Americans”; 10. Rascal Flatts – “Rewind”

REISSUES: 1. Millie Jackson – On The Soul Country Side (Ace); 2. (Various) – Country Funk II: 1967-1974 (Light In The Attic); 3. Carrie Underwood – Greatest Hits: Decade #1  (Arista Nashville/19)

2013

ALBUMS: 1. Ashley Monroe – Like A Rose (Warner Music Nashville); 2. Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park (Mercury); 3. The Mavericks – In Time (Valory Music Co.); 4. Gretchen Wilson – Right On Time (Redneck); 5. Gary Allan – Set You Free (MCA/Nashville); 6, Pistol Annies – Annie Up (RCA); 7. Brandy Clark – 12 Stories (508/State Creek); 8. Shanytown – Shanytown (Garage Door); 9. Cassadee Pope – Frame By Frame (Republic Nashville); 10. The Band Perry – Pioneer (Republic Nashville)

 SINGLES*: 1. 2Yoon – “24/7”; 2. Regulo Caro – “Empujando La Linea (El Minilic)”; 3. Lady Antebellum – “Downtown”; 4. Taylor Swift – “22”; 5. Kacey Musgraves – “Blowin’ Smoke”; 6. Lee Brice – “Parking Lot Party”; 7. Pistol Annies – “Hush Hush”; 8. Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart”; 9, Toby Keith – “Drinks After Work”; 10. Luke Bryan – That’s My Kind Of Night

*Michael Salgado’s “Buscando Amor” might have made my ballot, had I heard it on time.

REISSUES: 1. Swamp Dogg – Total Destruction To Your Mind (Alive); 2. Kinky Friedman & the Texas Jewboys – Lost And Found: The Famous Living Room Tape (Avenue A); 3. Doc Watson – The Definitive Doc Watson (Sugar Hill/Vanguard); 4. Dwight Yoakam – 21st Century Hits (New West); 5. Shaver – Shaver’s Jewels: The Best Of Shaver (New West)

2012

ALBUMS: 1. Taylor Swift – Red (Big Machine); 2. Jerrod Niemann – Free The Music (Sea Gayle/Arista Nashville); 3. Blackberry Smoke – The Whippoorwill (Southern Ground); 4. Thomas Rhett – Thomas Rhett EP (The Valory Music Co. EP); 5. Darrell Scott – Long Way Home (Thirty Tigers/Full Light); 6. Kip Moore – Up All Night (MCA Nashville); 7. Turnpike Troubadours – Goodbye Normal Street (Bossier City/Thirty Tigers); 8. Kix Brooks – New To This Town (Arista Nashville); 9. Bryan Clark & The New Lyceum Players – Southern Intermission (Rainfeather); 10. Drew Nelson  — Tilt A Whirl (Red House)

SINGLES: 1. Kacey Musgraves – “Merry Go ‘Round”; 2. Pistol Annies – “Takin’ Pills”; 3. Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away”; 4. Edens Edge – “Too Good To Be True”; 5. Kix Brooks feat. Joe Walsh – “New To This Town”; 6. The Farm Inc. – “Home Sweet Home”; 7. Dean Brody  – “Canadian Girls”; 8. Alan Jackson – “So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore”; 9. Toby Keith – “Beers Ago”; 10. David Nail – “The Sound Of A Million Dreams”

REISSUE: 1. (Various) – Country Funk 1969-1975 (Light In The Attic)

2011

ALBUMS: 1. Randy Montana – Randy Montana (Mercury); 2. Kentucky Headhunters – Dixie Lullabies (Red Dirt Music); 3. Eric Church – Chief (EMI Nashville); 4. Pistol Annies – Hell On Heels (Columbia); 5. David Nail – The Sound Of A Million Dreams (MCA Nashville); 6. Miranda Lambert – Four The Record (RCA Nashville); 7. Toby Keith – Clancy’s Tavern (Show Dog-Universal); 8. Merle Haggard – Working In Tennessee (Vanguard/Hag); 9. Thompson Square – Thompson Square (Stoney Creek); 10. Brantley Gilbert – Halfway To Heaven Deluxe (The Valory Music Co.)

SINGLES: 1. Martina McBride – “Teenage Daughters”; 2. Toby Keith – “Red Solo Cup”; 3. Thompson Square – “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not”; 4. Miranda Lambert – “Baggage Claim”; 5. Eric Church – “Homeboy”; 6. Taylor Swift – “Mean”; 7. Rosehill – “Midnight America”; 8. Steel Magnolia – “Bulletproof”; 9. Keith Urban – “Long Hot Summer”; 10. Reba McEntire – “If I Were A Boy”

REISSUES: 1. Human Switchboard – Who’s Landing In My Hangar?: Anthology 1977-1984 (BarNone); 2. (Various) – Keb Darge & Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers (BBE); 3. ZZ Top – Live In Germany 1980 (Eagle); 4. Drive-By Truckers – Ugly Buildings, Whores & Politicians: Greatest Hits 1998-2009 (New West); 5. Shemekia Copeland – Deluxe Edition (Alligator)

2010

ALBUMS: 1. Taylor Swift – Speak Now (Big Machine); 2. Jace Everett – Red Revelations (Western Boys/Hump Head); 3. Jamey Johnson – The Guitar Song (Mercury); 4. Flynnville Train – Redemption (Evolution); 5. Chely Wright – Lifted Off The Ground (Vanguard); 6. Laura Bell Bundy – Achin’ & Shakin’ (Mercury); 7. Lee Brice – Love Like Crazy (Curb); 8. Colt Ford – Chicken And Biscuits (Average Joe’s); 9. Jerrod Niemann – Judge Jerrod And The Hung Jury (Sea Gayle/Arista Nashville); 10. Shinyribs – Well After Awhile (Nine Mile)

SINGLES: 1. Sunny Sweeney – “From a Table Away”; 2. Mallary Hope – “Blossom In The Dust”; 3. Laura Bell Bundy – “Giddy On Up”; 4. Kenny Chesney – “Somewhere With You”; 5. Eric Church – “Smoke A Little Smoke”; 6. Martina McBride – “Wrong Baby Wrong”; 7. Lady Antebellum – “Stars Tonight”; 8. Stealing Angels – “He Better Be Dead”; 9. Little Big Town – “Little White Church”; 10. Kevin Fowler – “Pound Sign (#?*!)”

REISSUES: 1. (Various) – Fire In My Bones: Raw + Rare + Otherworldly African-American Gospel [1944-2007] (Tompkins Square); 2. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Buried Behind The Barn (Alternative Tentacles); 3. John Jackson – Rappahannock Blues (Smithsonian Folkways) 4. Ashley Hutchings, Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks, John Kirkpatrick, Barry Dransfield – Morris On (Fledg’ling); 5. (Various) – Classic Appalachian Blues (Smithsonian Folkways)

2009

ALBUMS: 1. Collin Raye – Never Going Back (Time Life); 2. Brad Paisley – American Saturday Night (Arista Nashville); 3. Mac McAnally – Down By The River (Show Dog Nashville); 4. Ashley Monroe – Satisfied (Sony); 5. Miranda Lambert – Revolution (Columbia Nashville); 6. Pat Green – What I’m For (BNA); 7. Tim Carroll – All Kinds Of Pain (Gulcher); 8. Charlie Robison – Beautiful Day (Dualtone); 9. Megan Munroe – One More Broken String (Diamond); 10. Rufus Huff – Rufus Huff (Zoho Roots)

SINGLES: 1. Jamey Johnson – “High Cost Of Living”; 2. Love and Theft – “Runaway”; 3. John Rich – “Shuttin’ Detroit Down”; 4. Sarah Buxton – “Space”; 5. Rascal Flatts – “Summer Nights”; 6. Caitlin & Will – “Even Now”; 7. Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”; 8. The Flatlanders – “Homeland Refugee”; 9. Phil Vassar – “Bobbi With An I”; 10. Taylor Swift – “You Belong With Me”

REISSUES: 1. Richard Thompson – Walking On A Wire Discs One And Two (Shout! Factory promo); 2.  Kentucky Headhunters – Live/Agora Ballroom Cleveland, Ohio May 13 1990 (Mercury); 3. (Various) – Winter Dance Party: 50th Anniversary Special: The Day The Music Died (El Toro); 4. The Scene Is Now – Burn All Your Records (Lexicon Devil); 5. 16 Horsepower – Secret South (Alternative Tentacles)

2008

ALBUMS: 1. Jamey Johnson – That Lonesome Song (Mercury); 2. Woodbox Gang – Drunk As Dragons (Alternative Tentacles); 3. Carter’s Chord – Carter’s Chord (Show Dog Nashville); 4. Phil Vassar – Prayer Of A Common Man (Universal); 5. The Road Hammers – Blood Sweat & Steel (Montage Music Group); 6. James McMurtry – Just Us Kids (Lightning Rod); 7. Taylor Swift – Fearless (Big Machine); 8. Sugarland – Love On The Inside (Mercury); 9. Amanda Shaw – Pretty Runs Out (Rounder); 10. Montgomery Gentry – Back When I Knew It All (Columbia)

 SINGLES: 1. Miley Cyrus – “See You Again”; 2. Phil Vassar – “Love Is a Beautiful Thing”; 3. Kid Rock – “All Summer Long”; 4. Ashton Shepherd – “Takin’ Off This Pain”; 5. Kathleen Edwards – “I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory”; 6. Sarah Johns – “He Hates Me”; 7. Lost Trailers – “Holler Back”; 8. Billy Currington – “Don’t”; 9. Whitney Duncan – “When I Said I Would”; 10. Emily West – “Rocks In Your Shoes”

REISSUES: 1. Ross Johnson – Make It Stop! The Most Of Ross Johnson (Goner); 2. Toby Keith – 35 Biggest Hits (Universal); 3. (Various) – More Dirty Laundry: The Soul Of Black Country (Trikont); 4. Charlie Pickett — Bar Band Americanus: The Best Of (Bloodshot); 5. Finn and the Sharks – Breakfast Special (UpSouth )

2007

ALBUMS: 1. Little Big Town – A Place To Land (Equity Music Group); 2. (Various Artists) – Motel Lovers: Southern Soul From the Chitlin Circuit (Trikont); 3. Flynnville Train – Flynnville Train (Show Dog); 4. Miranda Lambert – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Columbia); 5. Kid Rock – Rock n Roll Jesus (Atlantic); 6. Jack Ingram – This Is It (Big Machine); 7. The Bellamy Brothers – Jesus Is Coming (Curb); 8. Blake Shelton – Pure B.S. (Warner Bros.); 9. Toby Keith – Big Dog Daddy (Show Dog); 10. (Various Artists) – Shultze Gets The Blues (Normal/Filmkombinat)

SINGLES: 1. Tim McGraw “Suspicions”; 2. Toby Keith – “High Maintenance Woman”; 3. Taylor Swift – “Our Song”; 4. Pat Green – “Way Back Texas”; 5. Rissi Palmer – “Country Girl”; 6. Dierks Bentley – “Free And Easy (Down the Road I Go)”; 7. Miranda Lambert – “Famous In A Small Town”; 8. Keith Urban – “Stupid Boy”; 9. Sarah Johns – “The One In The Middle”; 10. Black Angel – “One Beer”

REISSUES: 1. Charlie Rich – The Essential (Epic/Legacy);  2. (Various Artists) – Goodbye Nashville Hello Camden Town: A Pub Rock Anthology (Castle); 3. (Various Artists) – Art of Field Recording: Volume 1 (Diesel + Dust); 4. John Anderson – John Anderson 2 (American Beat); 5. Dr. Hook – Greatest Hooks (Capitol)

2006

ALBUMS*: 1. Montgomery Gentry – Some People Change (Columbia); 2. Toby Keith – White Tra$h With Money (Show Dog Nashville/Universal); 3. Victory Brothers – Kowboyz De Loz Angeleez (victorybrothers.net); 4. Dale Watson – Whiskey Or God (Palo Duro); 5. Rodney Atkins – If You’re Going Through Hell (Curb); 6. Eric Church – Sinners Like Me (EMI); 7. Trent Willmon – A Little More Livin’ (Columbia); 8. Keith Urban – Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing (EMI/Capitol); 9. (Various) – She Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool: A Tribute To Barbara Mandrell (Sony BMG/BNA); 10. Shooter Jennings – Electric Rodeo (Universal South)

*Would now almost definitely include Taylor Swift’s debut album and Alan Jackson’s Like Red on a Rose, probably in the top three or four.

SINGLES: 1 Carrie Underwood – “Before He Cheats”; 2  Rodney Atkins – “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)”; 3. Trent Willmon – “Surprise”; 4. Samantha Jo – “Time For Summer”; 5  Shooter Jennings – “Hair of the Dog”; 6. Ronnie Milsap – “Somewhere Dry”; 7. Bomshel – “Bomshel Stomp”; 8. Alan Jackson – “The Fire Fly’s Song”; 9. Toby Keith – “Get Drunk And Be Somebody”; 10. Redhill – “All Night Long”

REISSUES: 1. The Kentucky Headhunters – Flying Under The Radar (CBUJ); 2. Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys – Legends Of Country Music (Columbia/Legacy); 3. Little Feat – The Best Of (Warner Bros./Rhino); 4. (Various) – Classic Country: Sweet Country Ballads (Time Life); 5. Dean Martin – Swingin’ Down Yonder (Collector’s Choice/EMI)

2005

ALBUMS: 1. Miranda Lambert – Kerosene (Epic); 2. Deana Carter – The Story of My Life (Vanguard); 3. Gary Allan – Tough All Over (MCA Nashville); 4. Jamie O’Neal – Brave (EMI/Capitol); 5. Shooter Jennings – Put the O Back in Country (Universal South); 6. Lee Ann Womack – There’s More Where That Came From (MCA Nashville); 7. Dallas Wayne – I’m Your Biggest Fan (Koch); 8. Big & Rich – Comin’ To Your City (Warner Bros.); 9. Elizabeth McQueen and the Firebrands – Happy Doing What We’re Doing (Freedom); 10. Little Big Town – The Road to Here (Equity Music Group)

SINGLES: 1. Shooter Jennings featuring George Jones – “4th of July”; 2. Miranda Lambert – “Kerosene”; 3. Dierks Bentley – “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do”; 4. Kentucky Headhunters – Big Boss Man”; 5. Erika Jo – I Break Things”; 6. Deana Carter – “The Girl You Left Me For”; 7. Toby Keith – “As Good As I Once Was”; 8. Brad Paisley – “Alcohol”; 9. Tim McGraw – “Drugs or Jesus”; 10. Shannon Brown – “Corn Fed”

REISSUES: 1. (Various Artists) Good For What Ails You: Music of the Medicine Shows: 1926-1937 (Old Hat); 2. (Various Artists) You Ain’t Talkin to Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music (Columbia/Legacy); 3. David Allen Coe – Penitentiary Blues (Hacktone); 4. (Various Artists) The Dukes of Hazzard (Columbia/Sony Music Soundtrax); 5. Rosanne Cash – Seven Year Ache (Columbia/Legacy)

2004

ALBUMS: 1. Big & Rich – Horse of a Different Color (Warner Bros.); 2. Kenny Chesney – When the Sun Goes Down (BNA); 3. Gretchen Wilson – Here For the Party (Epic); 4. Montgomery Gentry – You Do Your Thing (Columbia); 5. T. Graham Brown – The Next Right Thing (Intersound); 6. Gene Watson – …Sings (Intersound); 7. Loretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose (Interscope); 8. The Warren Brothers – Well-Deserved Obscurity (429); 9. Pat Green – Lucky Ones (Republic/Universal); 10. Amanda Shaw – I’m Not a Bubblegum Pop Princess (Little Fiddle)

SINGLES: 1. Big & Rich – “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)”; 2. Toby Keith – “Whiskey Girl”; 3. Terri Clark – “Girls Lie Too”; 4. Gretchen Wilson – “Redneck Woman”; 5. Big & Rich – “Wild West Show”; 6. Loretta Lynn – “Portland, Oregon”; 7. Rebecca Lynn Howard – “I Need a Vacation”; 8. Chely Wright – “Back of the Bottom Drawer”; 9. Julie Roberts – “Break Down Here”; 10. Todd Snider – “Conservative Christian, Right-Wing Republican, Straight, White, American Males”

REISSUES: 1. David Allen Coe – The Essential David Allen Coe (Columbia/Legacy); 2. John Conlee – Classics (RCR); 3. Kim Richey – The Collection (Lost Highway); 4. Ocie Stockard the Wanderers – Western Swing Chronicles Volume 3 (Origin Jazz Library); 5. Red Simpson – Truck Drivin’ Fool (Sundazed)

2003

ALBUMS: 1. Brooks & Dunn Red Dirt Road (Arista); 2. Kentucky Headhunters Soul (Audium);3. Merle Haggard Like Never Before (Hag); 4. Dwight Yoakam Population Me (Audium); 5. Drive-By Truckers Decoration Day (New West); 6. Toby Keith Shock’n Y’all (DreamWorks); 7. Deana Carter I’m Just a Girl (Arista); 8. Terri Clark Pain to Kill (Mercury); 9. Cracker Countrysides (Cooking Vinyl import); 10. Alison Moorer Show (Universal)

SINGLES: 1. Faith Hill “One”; 2. Toby Keith “I Love This Bar”; 3. David Banner “Cadillac on 22’s”; 4. Brooks & Dunn “You Can’t Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl”; 5. Merle Haggard “That’s the News”; 6. Bubba Sparxxx featuring the Yonder Mountain String Band “Comin’ Round”; 7. Kid Rock featuring Alison Moerer “Picture”; 8. Gary Allan “Songs About Rain”; 9. Martina McBride “This One’s For the Girls”; 10. Kenny Chesney “Big Star”

REISSUES: 1. Stomp and Swerve: American Music Gets Hot (Archeophone); 2. Down in the Basement: Joe Bussard’s Treasure Trove of Vintage 78s, 1926-1937 (Old Hat); 3. Hoosier Hot Shots The Definitive Hoosier Hot Shots Collection (Collector’s Choice); 4. Terry Allen Amerasia (Fate/Sugar Hill); 5. Merle Haggard/Willie Nelson Pancho & Lefty (Sony)

2 comments

  1. via facebook:

    Jim Macnie
    thx CE. wise, helpful (to me) and fun (prob for any country music fan who wants some insights). gonna dig in after dinner. if asked this afternoon, i wouldn’tna bet it was 18 years old. ain’t no individual ballot spots in this thing, but I’d love to see what those tagged here stood up for. i usually kinda fudge it by letting rootsicana in the door.
    https://lamentforastraightline.wordpress.com/2021/01/23/21st-annual-country-music-critics-poll/?fbclid=IwAR1bylczLKp40XUbXbA0oNHMkx8zshGkRRYTy0V1jCxFrYHgI_tslXtm-ik

    Chuck Eddy
    Oh wait…It says “21st Annual,” duh….So, 2000 I guess?

    Edd Hurt
    Yeah, first 3 ran in Country Music Magazine.

    Chuck Eddy
    Oh okay — Doubt I voted in those, then. Probably got all of mine here.

    Like

  2. via facebook:

    Clifford Ocheltree
    Often ignored. I was lucky to have seen the first when it was in “Country Music”. Solid choices sir. I’ll need to do some shopping.

    Clifford Ocheltree
    I’ll have to pull out the first few magazines and check the lists of critics who contributed.

    Like

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