In 2021, many country artists doubled down on the craft of songwriting, turning their pain, grief, joy, confusion, defeats and triumphs into some of the year’s most potent albums. Billboard’s 2021 list of top country albums highlights 10 mainstream country projects brimming with such excellence.
Newcomers such as Morgan Wade and Elvie Shane excelled at creating works that introduced the world to their fully formed visions, while artists like Carly Pearce and Mickey Guyton mined their personal experiences with heartbreak and discrimination to forge projects of searing intimacy. And more than three decades after his debut, country music legend Alan Jackson simply stayed true to what he does best — crafting stone-cold country classics and delivering them in his signature warm baritone.
Here are Billboard‘s 10 favorite country albums of 2021.