The best country music albums and songs of 2022 so far – Entertainment Focus

The first six months of the year are nearly over, so it’s time for a semi-annual report on what we’ve enjoyed in the country music world so far in 2022. There have been strong releases of new and established artists this year and lots of good indications that country music is in good health.

Here are our top five albums of the year so far:

5) Caitlyn Smith – “Elevated”

A terrific part of Smith’s eventual “High and Low” release featuring songs written and produced by Smith herself. Voices soar, emotions run wild and there are even radio-friendly hits. Here is our opinion.

4) Miranda Lambert – ‘Palomino’

A wonderfully expansive album about freedom and people. Ride the Cumberland River on the ‘Music City Queen’, visit ‘Waxahachie’, let go of your cares and ride the ‘Carousel’ among a fascinating group of people. An album in the truest sense of the word. Here is our opinion.

3) Brett Eldredge – ‘Songs About You’

After his album “Sunday Drive”, Brett continues to release high quality personal music with real heart and soul. “I Feel Fine” is a dark, funky track with a fresh sound for Brett. “Holy Water” has a Gospel twist about it and “Hideaway” has that classic “Eldredge, no phone, middle of nowhere” type vibe. Here is our opinion.

2) Jillian Jacqueline – “Honestly”

A rich, diverse and lush album from JJ. Great storytelling, beautiful melodies, and the kind of music that doesn’t get enough attention from Music Row power brokers. The delicious “Bandwagon”, the honesty of “Hummingbird” and the duet with TJ Osborne on “Better With a Broken Heart” all deserve special attention. Here is our opinion.

1) Jackson Dean – ‘Greenbroke’

What a belt of an album! Dean comes straight out of the traps by pulling on this superb first record. Power, passion and a voice made for the arenas. ‘Red Light’ is a great song, ‘Wings’ is a tender and heartfelt ballad and ‘Superstitions’ a bluesy and rich treat for the ears. We saw Dean perform at the recent CMAFest in Nashville and he’s as good live as he is in the studio! Here is our opinion. Here is our interview with Jackson Dean from Nashville during CMAFest.

Here are our top 5 songs of the year so far:

*The caveat here, as always with country music, is that some of the songs that have made an impact on radio and streaming platforms this year may have been released last year*

5) Morning in New Orleans – Matt Roy

Wonderful earthy piece about grief and memories set in one of the most evocative cities in the United States.

4) Whiskey on you – Nate Smith

Petard! Nate is going to be a star of the future. This voice! It’s a song you just can’t stop singing along to.

3) Heart Like A Truck – Lainey Wilson

Future alert number one here. Lainey returns in the next cycle of his career with an absolutely delightful melodic track.

2) Caitlyn Smith – Maybe in another life

Pass the tissues, please. We saw Caitlyn sing this song at least four times live during the C2C festival in London in March and each time it was an emotional rollercoaster. One of the most powerful songs we’ve heard in a long time and beautifully crafted.

1) Until You Can’t – Cody Johnson

Quite simply the most zeitgeist song of 2022 and for good reason too. It went to number one on US radio, then slipped down the charts before rising to number 2 again! Power, passion and meaning. Simply breathtaking in its simplicity and impact.