What Your Favorite Country/Country-Adjacent Album of 2020 Says About You

Inspired by this, and remade by me, from a country perspective, with the help of a few friends. All in good fun, so don’t take it too seriously.

Also, that link above includes blurbs for Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and the Chicks, so I didn’t include them here. My writer’s block prevented me from coming up with blurbs for Brandy Clark, Little Big Town, Courtney Marie Andrews, Brent Cobb, Ingrid Andress, and Kelsea Ballerini, so if you can think of something, reach out and I’ll be happy to include it! I’ll update this as I think of more, too.

Lastly … this comes with a language warning.


Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions): Deep down, you picked this just because it’s Sturgill Simpson and that this could have been a recording of armpit farts for all you cared, but you’ve also convinced yourself that you’re the only who *gets* the deeper meaning behind the alphabetical track sequencing, too.

Hot Country Knights – The ‘K’ Is Silent: You used working from home as an excuse to dig out that box of shirts from 1993 and wear them all again. You’ve asked Santa to bring back Randy Travis’s singing voice for Christmas so he can save country music again. – Kyle, of Kyle’s Korner

You had an epiphany from seeing these guys at a Dierks Bentley concert that this might be the best thing to ever happen to music; not just country music, either. And even though you didn’t get to experience that feeling again this year, you took comfort knowing that, while you were working from home and your kids were stuck in virtual classrooms, there was always a Dad joke ready to greet them. If you’re not a father, you just got way too into the ass and penis jokes here.

Clint Black – Out Of Sane: You laugh at the Hot Country Knights fan because you never stopped wearing that shirt from ’93. You only listen to music at night to treat your insomnia, and you find the flavor of vanilla ice cream a bit too strong. – Kyle, of Kyle’s Korner

Tim McGraw – Here On Earth: You got somewhere between having “dadpression” and a mid-life crisis, and the ensuing chemical reaction kinda ended up working in your favor somehow? At least, to you. Your significant other is still worried.

Lori McKenna – The Balladeer: You’re a mother worried how her children will fare in a current and post-COVID world, but will also snap them like butter beans if they step out of line, because it’s not like the real world will treat them any better anyway. They’ll learn, and they’ll learn the hard way.

Katie Pruitt – Expectations: Throughout your childhood, you yearned for an understanding mother like Lori McKenna or an understanding father like Jason Isbell, because you ended up with some version of the McCloskeys, instead. Safe to say, you went through some shit.

Margo Price – That’s How Rumors Get Started: This was your choice after you realized The Highwomen was a 2019 release. You’re still a proud feminist, but with all of the other bullshit 2020 threw your way, you’re tried and uninspired. And that’s OK. You’ll bounce back.

Mike and the Moonpies – Touch Of You: The Lost Songs Of Gary Stewart: This was your choice after you realized Cheap Silver & Solid Country Gold was a 2019 release, but you secretly believe this to be the more creative project anyway, and that Mike and the Moonpies likely worked on the COVID vaccine with Dolly Parton or something.

Brett Eldredge – Sunday Drive: Your naturally introverted ways put you ahead of the curve for how to handle 2020, and you’re not sure how you can tell others you “found yourself” without feeling a little guilty for experiencing even just a small speck of joy in this miserable year. Hence, why you’re introverted to start with.

Kelsea Ballerini – kelsea: Your wine budget has doubled (at least) in the wake of the pandemic. You get sucked into watching every Disney movie you find on cable, and you think Miley Cyrus is one of the top five artists of the 2010s. – Kyle, of Kyle’s Korner

The Wilder Blue – The Wilder Blue: You followed social distancing guidelines and were just generally a chill person to be around this year, virtually or otherwise. Good for you! You’re a bit simple, almost to a fault, but you’re too generally likable to roast, too.

Kenny Chesney – Here And Now: You followed social distancing guidelines and all that, but didn’t really see what the fuss was about or why people couldn’t just chill ffs. You complied, but are secretly horny for live music in 2021, and you know your few friends – including a volleyball named Wilson and a Jimmy Buffett bobblehead you’ve coined “Margarita-chill” – are a bit concerned over what you’ll do if that doesn’t happen.

Brothers Osborne – Skeletons: You ended up getting a little too horny for live music, and settled for this as the next best thing. Playing air guitar alongside John Osborne was a real high point of your year.

Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen – Hold My Beer Vol. 2: You didn’t really follow social distancing guidelines and were generally a dick to people when they asked you to put your mask on in the store; and you really didn’t need to belch in their faces. Despite that, you’re kinda fun when you’re drunk, so your friends were generally OK with it anyway.

Kip Moore – Wild World: You’ve scoured the globe looking for real, unpolished music with an edge to it, and won’t stop until you find the next Bruce Springsteen – and you won’t accept any other choices, either. You’re not necessarily a dad, but people often mistake you for one.

Lydia Loveless – Daughter: You spent a lot of time this year yelling at people to put their on masks in grocery stores, and when they wouldn’t, you followed them and proceeded to burn down their homes. The younger version of you is proud, but the person you are now can’t help but carry a slightly guilty conscience.

Ashley McBryde – Never Will: You’re always ready to cut a bitch, if – or even if not – necessary, but won’t reveal the body count just quite yet. You didn’t, you won’t, you never will.

Garth Brooks – FUN: You know where Garth hid the bodies, but you’re too much of a fan to leave it as anything other than “our little secret,” even though you’re secretly hoping you can leverage a Chris Gaines revival out of him someday. Alternatively, you’re Trisha Yearwood … or just Garth himself. By the way, how did you hear this album?

The Panhandlers – The Panhandlers: You a country music fan who loves Texas, and while that doesn’t make you special, you’re self-aware enough to know it doesn’t love you back.

Gabe Lee – Honky Tonk Hell: You had this recommendation shoved down your throat by various YouTube critics – enough to where even your non-country-loving friends know what this is – and wanted to make sure you were “in the know.” You eventually came to the conclusion that, “you know, ‘bumped into Jesus at the diner, blessing a bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese’ just may be one of the greatest lines ever.”

Daniel Donato – A Young Man’s Country: You have, on multiple occasions, actually swear you’ve bumped into Jesus at the diner blessing a bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese, but you’re surprisingly chill with it. Playing air guitar alongside Daniel Donato was a real high point of your year.

Nicholas Jamerson – The Wilder Frontier: You often order the mac ‘n’ cheese from your local diner, and people mistake you for Jesus.

Tyler Childers – Long, Violent History: You wanted to be a better ally, but American Aquarium’s Lamentations was too edgy for you and Jason Isbell’s Reunions was too “dad-rockish,” and you still needed to learn an incredibly compressed history of racism in the United States from a white man, so this went down just fine. Also, fiddle tunes!

Mickey Guyton – Bridges: You know she’s singing about you on some of these tracks, but the music slaps, so you sort of uncomfortably bop along like that Jay-Z gif.

Hailey Whitters – The Dream: You didn’t accomplish a single goal you had for 2020, but that’s OK, because no one else did, either. You’re way too optimistic that this will all change on January 1, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., but I’m proud of you anyway for hanging in there.

HARDY – A ROCK: The only country music website you read is Whiskey Riff, and while you’re secretly as country as a Starbucks Café, you get your rocks off by resting assured you only listen to real, “manly” country, like, you know, Brantley Gilbert and The Cadillac Three. Your thoughts on Tyler Childers are too complicated to share, or even comprehend. Upon this realization, you utter, “bruh.”

Sam Hunt – SOUTHSIDE: You don’t like country music that much, but you jumped on board that whole “Yeehaw” agenda thing last year and found that you really like country music like this, even though you’re not a fan of that old fart singing on “Hard to Forget.” You tell people you like the catchy beats, but they know you secretly dig the way Sam Hunt writes about women, and they’re slightly worried about you.

Colter Wall – Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs: You are a high-pitched, no-facial-hair-dawning individual who wants to yodel with a husky baritone voice and magnificent beard, all while riding a horse through the mountains like a good old cowboy. – Sunny Lee (@muser_lee on Twitter)

Arlo McKinley – Die Midwestern: You argued with Ward Davis fans this year over who made the better “real country” project, enough to where your arguments went beyond the music and delved into who carried the better beard, which you found to be a more complex argument.

Ward Davis – Black Cats and Crows: You argued with Arlo McKinley fans this year over who made the better “real country” project, enough to where your arguments went beyond the music and delved into who carried the better beard, which you found to be a more complex argument.

Orville Peck – Show Pony: You’re convinced that Orville Peck is some futuristic time-traveler sent to warn us about our mask-wearing future, and in a year like this, you need something to believe and hold on to like that for proof that a God still exists, you know? Even in quarantine, when you saw absolutely no one – not even through Zoom – you still dressed stylish as hell.

Tami Neilson – Chickaboom!: You dressed stylish as hell and never muted yourself in your Zoom meetings, because the world needed your voice and presence more than it knew.

Dustin Lynch – Tullahoma: You’re as exciting as a white bread sandwich with a third slice lodged in the middle.

Chris Stapleton – Starting Over: You only discovered Traveller after that CMA performance and didn’t really get it but wanted to, so you decided to get ahead of the game for the young upstart’s sophomore release so you could claim you “liked it before it blew up.”

Kyle Nix – Lightning on the Mountain and Other Short Stories: For the last time, Evan Felker isn’t on this project. Stop it.

Ruston Kelly – Shape & Destroy: You spend most of your time in quarantine getting baked, playing Nintendo, and questioning the deeper meaning of our nihilistic existence – when all we have to look forward to is an endless pit of despair, and that none of our accomplishments are eternal, so why even bother – all before lunch. But you’re also trying to stop that, kinda.

Charley Crockett – Welcome to Hard Times: You said “fuck it” to 2020 by gravitating toward the closest thing you had to a time machine this year, all while dressing like one cool mutha.

Morgan Wallen – Dangerous: The Double Album: No one’s got the energy anymore to engage you in the “art v. artist” debate, especially in this instance. Hey, wait, this isn’t out until 2021, you nincompoop.

Jesse Daniel – Rollin’ On: You remained cool, calm and collected throughout most of the year, at least on the outside. On the inside, you’re questioning whether or not you can count on anything beyond the power of good country music anymore.

Jaime Wyatt – Neon Cross: You’re sick and tired of everyone’s judgment for your downward spirals, because if they had cared this much from the beginning, maybe you wouldn’t have ended up this way, you know? Still, there’s a darker side of you that dares them to do it, because they’ll get theirs one day. Just you wait.

American Aquarium – Lamentations: You’ve adopted “sad songs make you happy” as a personality, and you secretly wish you were a recovering alcoholic so your life can have as much meaning as the songs. – Dijon, @LostinWinterpeg on Twitter

Lauren Mascitti – God Made a Woman: Whether you’re a longtime fan or just heard of her this year, the last place you know Lauren Mascitti from is American Idol, and you’re surprised that show is even still on.

Gone West – Canyons: You didn’t listen to any other albums this year, for whatever reason, and cried in front of a Hallmark store when the band broke up.

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