5 Best Country Albums
Every self-respecting music fan should own the 5 best country albums. Timeless and iconic, these country albums transcended the genre and crossed over into mainstream success on the basis of sheer quality. These albums are packed with epic songs that display a genius knack for musicianship and storytelling, placing them among the best albums of all time.
- “At Folsom Prison” - Johnny Cash As the only live recording on the list of the five best country albums, this 1968 release stands as the greatest country album of its kind. Capturing the drama and tension of Cash’s legendary Folsom Prison concert, this country album is as evocative and urgent as you’ll ever find. Featuring such timeless songs as “Folsom Prison Blues” and “25 Minutes To Go,” this album is a testament to Cash’s influence.
- “No Fences” - Garth Brooks As his breakthrough release, this 1990 country album propelled Brooks into crossover success. A critical and commercial triumph, the album sold over 23 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. “No Fences” boasts four number-one singles on Billboard’s country chart, including the iconic tracks “Friends In Low Places” and “The Thunder Rolls.”
- “Coal Miner’s Daughter” - Loretta Lynn In 1970, humble mountain child Loretta Lynn burst onto the scene with this classic country album. The title track hit number one on the Billboard country chart, making Lynn an overnight star. Other highlights of the album include Lynn’s take on classic tracks like “Hello Darlin’” and “For The Good Times.” This country album's influence crossed into other areas as well, helping to inspire an award-winning biographical film in 1980.
- “Always On My Mind” - Willie Nelson Likely the most underrated of the five best country albums, this 1982 release helped reaffirm Nelson’s standing as an influential artist, and is one of the highlights of his legendary career. Featuring timeless songs like “Always On My Mind” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” this country album is packed with quality, all delivered in Nelson’s signature gravelly-voiced style.
- “The Ramblin’ Man” - Waylon Jennings Consummate outlaw Waylon Jennings polished his signature sound for this 1974 country album, and the result was a slick and neatly-packaged version of his organic music. “The Ramblin’ Man” was a commercial success as well. Standout songs “I’m A Ramblin’ Man” and “Amanda” hit number one on the Billboard country chart, legitimizing Jennings as a mainstream country artist.