Don’t blame Sam Hunt if he feels a bit wistful when 2015 comes to an end. This has been a banner year for the genre-blending Georgian.
According to Billboard’s year-end charts, Hunt’s Montevallo is 2015’s bestselling country album and two of his singles — both of which he co-wrote — are in the Top 5 hot country songs cluster. He’s also ranked as the No. 2 country artist.
Luke Bryan has plenty to brag about, too. He’s the year’s top country artist, a designation that takes into account performance on the hot country songs and top albums charts, as well as touring income, Social 50 chart activity and ringtone sales. (The Social 50 tracks the most active musical artists on the world’s leading social networking services.)
Bryan also stands at No. 3 in the country airplay artists category, which is based on radio airplay alone.
Carrie Underwood is the only woman to crack both the Top 5 country artists and Top 5 country airplay artists rankings.
Chris Stapleton — who blew the audience away on the CMA awards show in early November — exploded too late in the year to make any of the Top 5 lists, but his debut CD, Traveller, is the year’s ninth bestselling country album.
Here are the major year-end country lists with the Top 5 winners cited in descending order.
Hot Country Songs (based on radio airplay, sales and streaming activity): “Take Your Time,” Sam Hunt; “Girl Crush,” Little Big Town; “House Party,” Sam Hunt; “Kick the Dust Up,” Luke Bryan; “Crash and Burn,” Thomas Rhett.
Top Country Albums (based on sales within the 2015 calendar year): Montevallo, Sam Hunt; Kill the Lights, Luke Bryan; Jekyll + Hyde, Zac Brown Band; Old Boots, New Dirt, Jason Aldean; Man Against Machine, Garth Brooks.
And let us not forget bluegrass, country music’s acoustic cousin.
Top Bluegrass Albums: The Phosphorescent Blues, Punch Brothers; Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions, Robert Earl Keen; Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow, Ralph Stanley; Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn; Alive! In Concert, Dailey & Vincent.
A round of applause and a few “hurrahs” would be fitting.