similar to Song of the year In 2023, the top finalists for Saving Country Music Album of the Year are so close, it seems only appropriate to count down from No. 4 to No. 1 only to take another chance to boost the best of things once again. But there is No. 1, which is one for the ages, while both 2023 Album of the Year Nominees They deserve all the best props for making it a great year in country music.
#4 – Ian Noy – Lie River and Saints of the Mountains
If you’re looking for the singer/songwriter’s most devastating and most wonderfully written country/Americana album released in the past year, Ian Noé came out on top in There Was Incredible Competition. Once again, Kentucky turned out to be another artist-songwriter who exceeds our expectations, amazes with the standard of the songs, while Lie River and Saints of the Mountains She also stepped up her game musically from Ian Noe’s debut, which makes for a well-rounded release.
Unfortunately, Ian Noe has had to cancel several tours over the past few years, as he recently said he was dealing with some mental health issues and was putting his health first like he should. Ian Noé may not headline any major festivals in 2023 or be played on commercial radio. But unquestionably, we have a keeper in our midst with Ian Noye, which is all the more reason as a community to keep him healthy and supported for years to come.
#3 – Broken Speech – Where I was wrong
Nothing, the album that was the best one to listen to, that was one of the most original country releases all year, that was the greatest model of everything country music should be Where I was wrong By The Broken Spokes from Houston, Texas. It can also be said that The Broken Spokes was the greatest discovery in 2022, facilitated by the greatness of Where I was wrong.
Many of the albums, singles, and artists that appeared on Saving Country Music’s year-end lists were also seen on year-end charts by other outlets and individuals. But along with fellow Texas band Rattlesnake Milk, The Broken Spokes has slipped scandalously under the radar this year. But as we’ve seen in previous years and with previous albums of this caliber, in the end greatness can’t be overlooked forever. The Broken Spokes is ripe for discovery, just ask anyone who’s listened to it Where I was wrong this year.
#2 – Caitlin Potts – What can you do
What can you do by Kaitlin Butts was the best of all worlds in 2022 when it came to what country music listeners wanted from an album. It was decidedly stately in its approach, while also not feeling cramped or routine. The songwriting on it matched any other album released in 2022, and it presented it in an objective approach about the struggles many women face. She was intensely personal in the way Potts carried elements of her story into the songs.
And unlike some or many of the more brilliantly written albums in the country/Americana space, Kaitlin Butts happens to be a world-class country singer with incredible range, passion, and soul in her voice, as she delivers lines with conviction. Kaitlin Butts is an old-school country singer with cool and a new-school approach. Clever in the age of social media, yet substantial and mature in its music, it’s like a force of nature finally unleashed in 2022.
Save the 2022 Country Music Album of the Year
Zack Bryan – American heartbreak
Is Zack Bryan American heartbreak Masterpiece or masterpiece from a critical point of view? No it is not. Was it the best written album of 2022? It certainly has its moments, but that distinction would be highly moot. Was this the best-produced album, or one that demonstrates supreme musical or compositional prowess? Mostly not. Is it innovative in any way? Not right. Is it served comfortably well within the “country music” genre as it presents a proud example of what country music can or should be in the modern age? Again, this is a difficult conclusion to come to.
But without a doubt and unequivocally, Zak Bryan American heartbreak Clearly distinguishing itself as one of those albums that will be looked back on by posterity as a landmark moment in country music, it perfectly defined what happened in the genre in 2022, which marked the beginning of independent sounds and a return to poetic virtues in country music.
Not unlike Sturgill Simpson’s release Metamodern Sounds in Country Music In 2014, or purgatory By Tyler Childers in 2017, Zach Bryan W American heartbreak They rewrote what we thought was possible for an artist that Music Row, mainstream radio and major award shows don’t support. But more than those previous versions, American heartbreak It’s not just about “disrupting” or “challenging” that power dynamic. They frankly dominate country music, beat the mainstream at their own game, and shape a legacy that Justice has called a “phenomenon,” with crowds exploding with enthusiasm for the music in a way not seen since Beatlemania, and perhaps ever in the history of country music. Anyone who’s seen Zac Bryan perform live in 2022 will agree.
Although it American heartbreak Not particularly country, it’s still more country than anything else, and it fits perfectly with the singer/songwriter heritage of the genre. Although the 32-song track list always includes some soft spots and repetitive lyrics and melodies, the amount of great songs it includes still makes up more than any other artist released in 2022, let alone Brian’s 9-song EP. summer blues includes more.
There is a huge rift within the country/Americana community when it comes to Zac Bryan, one where age is a significant factor. Either you get him and take the time to listen intently to his music to discover those outlines in many of his songs that are the driver of the extreme loyalty and popularity he enjoys among his fan base, or you haven’t. This is not smoke and mirrors. It is the sincerity behind Zac Brian’s music that has contributed to its success.
Simply put, there has been indie country music before American heartbreakand there is indie country music yet American heartbreak. The album rewrote the rules, opened doors, and inaugurated a new era where artists who didn’t care about industry standards but were willing to curse entities like Ticketmaster would be in open rebellion. become the current.
The year 2022 ushered in a new era in country music as the power moved away from Music Row and back into the hands of the fans and the artists themselves. With the help of technology and the ancestors of Zac Bryan who built the bridges he crossed and the communities he enjoyed, an unsupported artist on mainstream radio and Music Row has finally climbed to the top of the mountain, and this action has helped raise the awareness of all indie country artists, from Tyler Childers, to the Turnpike Troubadours, To other Save Country Music Album nominees like Ian Noe, The Broken Spokes, and Kaitlin Butts, Zach Bryan’s fans are looking for similar artists, and the entire listening public is waking up to the fact that there’s a whole other world of country music that the mainstream industry has been hiding from.
There are still plenty of artists unnamed Zach Bryan who deserve attention and are struggling to find support for their careers. Our work is not over yet. But at the same time, the challenges moving forward for many of the top artists in indie countries will not be finding gigs or fans, but rather making it easier for all the fans they want to see as they move from vans to buses, clubs and stages, and stages to arenas.
Is zach brian f American heartbreak Who is solely responsible for this phenomenon? of course not. we everyone They are the indie country music fans who’ve been welding for years to the cause, buying T-shirts, telling friends about our favorite artists, frustrated that they don’t find the appeal. But now they finally are, and in numbers we thought we’d never see. And no, these aren’t fans who are here just for the party — the hacks who’ll leave when the party’s over. These are the people who know every word of every song Zach Bryan has ever released, despite his insane amount of production. And in 2022, American heartbreak It was their rallying cry.