Top 10 Country Records of 2008

By Michael McCall

Photo by Michael Alan Goldberg

Two young blondes with toothy smiles and hard-core work ethics, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, helped country expand its fan base in these years of shrinking music sales. Meanwhile, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and George Strait kept filling arenas and at least maintaining their popularity on the road, if not with record sales. But as has often been the case, the best country music has little to do with what's successful in the genre. It's made by those who care more about songs and arrangements than about what the radio is playing or what sparks an arena concert. Country music's strengths come from timeless elements; the same can be said of this list of albums.

Trouble in Mind
(Lost Highway)
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