With the summer months, comes beach-y rendezvous and road trips across the nation. If you’re lucky, you can get lost on the open road, with the radio or mixtape blasting in the sweltering breeze. This year has already proven to be a great year in music and country has been especially strong. From mainstream acts like Little Big Town to Americana torchbearer Angaleena Presley, the format has lived up to its name. As we take a dive into summer (finally, after four grueling months of hot ‘n cold uncertainty from Mother Nature), One Country digs up the five albums that are ripe for those long, hot nights.
5 Country Albums Perfect for Summer:
1. Sarah Darling // Dream Country
One of the year’s most underrated releases, Darling has finally reached her full potential. Through several other polished collections, including 2011’s Angels & Devils, she stripped things back for a more rootsy, organic approach. “Where Cowboys Ride,” “Tell That Devil” and “Halley’s Comet” are among the year’s best and most engaging stories. Sure, there is still plenty of pop infused into her work, but there is an unshakable, rather satisfying, honesty in her vocal she’s never had before.
2. Little Big Town //The Breaker
The harmonious four-piece are unstoppable these days. Coming off one the biggest hits of their career, with the Love Junkie-penned “Girl Crush,” they struck another platinum mine with “Better Man,” a solo write by none other than Taylor Swift. As the lead-in to their brand new studio record, it set a solemn, visceral tone for the record, which mixes dripping nostalgia and ripened wisdom with glossy sorrow. And they do have a song called “We Went to the Beach,” so–why not go to the beach with this album? We’ll sign off on that.
3. Angaleena Presley // Wrangled
Presley, one-third of the Pistol Annies, defies all odds. Her sophomore effort is even bolder than her debut record, 2014’s American Middle Class, with stunning stories about how “Dreams Don’t Come True” and feeling “Wrangled” to taking mainstream country to task with the Yelawolf-featuring “Country.” She is one of today’s most insightful songwriters, possessing a magnetizing voice.
4. Lady Antebellum // Heart Break
The pop-country trio had reached a stale, lifeless even, stage of their career. When they hit reset, took time away to focus on family and other creative ventures, they came back refreshed and all the wiser. Their latest studio record is far more spirited than other recent work–a cosmic shift has clearly occurred within their ranks. Songs like “Somebody Else’s Heart,” “The Stars,” “This City” and “Good Time to Be Alive” seem more animated and inspired than they’ve ever been.
5. Lauren Alaina // Road Less Traveled
The wide-eyed 16-year-old has budded into a grown woman with plenty to say. Her long-awaited sophomore album tells her story, unfiltered and unapologetic. She stares fear in the face and it backs down with a whimper. From “Doin’ Fine” to “Three” and “Pretty,” she envelopes you in intimate, moving entries. Her voice, too, has ripened like the grapevine in summer time.