Another year is nearly gone. 2018 has seen its ups and down in country music. But one thing is for sure, the genre once again saw some amazing music released. I've always said the cool thing about country music is there is something for everyone. Whether you like it traditional or filled with pop, country has it all. Here are my five favorite albums from the format this past year.

5. 'Songs For The Saints' - Kenny Chesney

It's been a while since a Kenny Chesney album connected with me. But this one did. Maybe it's because Kenny's heart was really behind this one. 'Songs for the Saints' was dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Irma. As a matter of fact, proceeds of the album went to hurricane relief efforts. Much of the music was inspired by the rebuilding efforts that continue to this day. Songs like 'Better Boat', 'Gulf Moon', 'Island Rain', and 'Pirate Song' capture the spirit of the region. Well done, Kenny.

4. 'Dying Star' - Ruston Kelly

On the surface, Ruston Kelly lives a pretty blessed life. Heck, he's married to Kacey Musgraves! But under the gruff voice and superb songwriting lies trouble and pain. And isn't that what country music was built on? 'Dying Star' is Kelly's debut full-length album and is full of about as much melancholy as one can take. But man, does it sound great. The former drug addict doesn't hide from his demons. Songs like 'Mockingbird', 'Faceplant', and 'Jericho' show that Kelly's road to redemption is off and running.

3. 'Port St. Joe' - Brothers Osborne

I remember the first time I heard 'Port St. Joe' by Brothers Osborne and I remember saying to myself that this was one of the best albums I'd heard in a long time. No filler. Just great songs front to back. And they all flow so seamlessly. From the rocking 'Shoot Me Straight' to the contemplative 'Weed, Whiskey, and Willie' the album has something for everyone. I've always enjoyed Brothers Osborne but this album has put them at the top of my list of artists I love. Oh, and see them live. They are amazing!

2. 'Golden Hour' - Kacey Musgraves

I really don't have a first and second place album this year. It's more like 1A and 1B. 'Golden Hour' from Kacey Musgraves isn't just one of the best country albums of the year, it's up for the all-genre award at the Grammys. Kacey won an ACM AOTY award for her debut album 'Same Trailer Different Park' and I've been a fan ever since. But this album takes it to a whole new level. Songs like 'Space Cowboy', 'Slow Burn', and 'High Horse' show Kacey at the top of her game. An artist truly comfortable with who she is and her place in the music world.

1. 'Desperate Man' - Eric Church

Any year that Eric Church puts out new music is a good one in our format. He pushes the boundaries. He takes chances. But he always stays true to his roots. 'Desperate Man' could be EC's best album to date. It leads off with a creepy, slinky song called 'The Snake', which laments our current political climate that we're mired in. Songs like 'Desperate Man' and 'Hangin' Around' give off a 1970's rock feel to them. Think the Rolling Stones 'Sympathy for the Devil'. But it's the songwriting that puts this album at the top. 'Monster' is a song about conquering your fears. 'Hippie Radio' is a song about music and fatherhood. Eric Church is at the top of his creative game. This album is my favorite of the year.

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