15 Albums You Might Have Missed

And Five EPs You Need

In the first half of the year, there has been no shortage of great music. I have rocked out to Keith Urban’s Ripcord, tried to belt to Randy Houser’s Fired Up and got schooled in country rock guitar on Brothers Osborne’s Pawn Shop. I was swept away with Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, Blake Shelton’s realness on If I’m Honest and the small town drama on Brandy Clark’s Big Day in a Small Town.

Off the charts and off the critics’ list, here is a list of some personal favorites that may have been missed. Among the 15 albums and five EPs are projects by some rowdy honky-tonk heroines, Texas troubadours, two Country Music Hall of Famers and a legendary Memphis soul group.

Ryan Beaver, Rx
Beaver’s introspective third album explores raw human emotions starting with the lead single “Dark,” a powerful ballad about facing life’s darkest days without fear. Classic Fleetwood Mac soundscapes can be heard on the Maren Morris collaboration “When This World Ends” and an acoustic version of Kris Kristofferson’s “Jesus Was a Capricorn” leads into “Kristofferson,” an original tune co-written with Jessie Alexander and Jon Randall. Be careful driving while under the influence of “Fast.” My speedometer goes up every time it blares through my car stereo.

The Bo-Keys, Heartaches by the Number
Memphis soul meets country on the Bo-Keys’ latest album. Produced by bassist Scott Bomar, the 10-song collection puts a classic soul spin on Harlan Howard, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Freddie Fender and Floyd Cramer. Vocalist Percy Wiggins captivates with his performance on Bob Dylan’s “I Threw It All Away.” Guests include Hi Records artist Don Bryant, keyboardist Al Gamble of St. Paul & the Broken Bones and roots guitarist John Paul Keith.
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