Best of 2014: The Ballot

2014Country Universe has finalized its year-end lists for 2014, and we’re getting ready to roll it out to our readers.  This year, we considered 125 albums and  342 singles for our annual list, narrowing our favorites down to just twenty albums and forty singles.

We’re sharing those master lists with you now.  What are your favorites from 2014, and what are you hoping to see on our final lists this year?

The Albums

First Last / Group Title
Ryan Adams Ryan Adams
Alabama Angels Among Us: Gospel Favorites
Jason Aldean Old Boots, New Dirt
Frankie Ballard Sunshine & Whiskey
Bobby Bare, Jr. Undefeated
Ray Benson A Little Piece
Dierks Bentley Riser
Big & Rich Gravity
Scott H. Biram Nothin’ But Blood
Suzy Bogguss Lucky
Wade Bowen Wade Bowen
Cory Branan The No-Hit Wonder
Lee Brice I Don’t Dance
Laura Cantrell No Way There from Here
Mary Chapin Carpenter Songs from the Movie
Carlene Carter Carter Girl
Johnny Cash Out Among the Stars
Rosanne Cash The River & The Thread
Chatham County Line Tightrope
Kenny Chesney The Big Revival
Eric Church The Outsiders
Terri Clark Some Songs
Gary Clark, Jr. Live
Cowboy Jack Clement For Once and for All
Eli Cook Primitive Son
Rodney Crowell Tarpaper Sky
Dan+Shay Where It All Began
Dex Romweber Duo Images13
Drive-By Truckers English Oceans
The Duhks Beyond the Blue
Ronnie Dunn Peace, Love, & Country Music
Jason Eady Daylight & Dark
Justin Townes Earle Single Mothers
The Earls of Leicester The Earls of Leicester
Eli Young Band 10,000 Towns
Robert Ellis The Lights from the Chemical Plant
Sara Evans Slow Me Down
Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn
Florida Georgia Line N E Thing Goez
Radney Foster Everything I Should Have Said
Kevin Fowler How Country Are Ya?
John Fullbright Songs
Mary Gauthier Trouble & Love
Brantley Gilbert Just As I Am
Hard Working Americans The First Waltz
Hunter Hayes Storyline
John Hiatt Terms of My Surrender
Sam Hunt Montavello
I Draw Slow White Wave Chapel
Infamous Stringdusters Let it Go
Shooter Jennings Don’t Wait Up (For George)
Joey+Rory Country Classics
Josh Abbott Band Tuesday Night
Damien Jurado Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son
Hal Ketchum I’m the Troubadour
Lady Antebellum 7 4 7
Miranda Lambert Platinum
Ray Lamontagne Supernova
Nikki Lane All or Nothin’
Stoney LaRue Aviator
Jim Lauderdale I’m a Song
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Open Carefully, Message Inside
Little Big Town Pain Killer
Lydia Loveless Somewhere Else
Corb Lund Counterfeit Blues
Dustin Lynch Where It’s At
Lera Lynn The Avenues
Jessica Lea Mayfield Make My Head Sing…
Martina McBride Everlasting
Tim McGraw Not a Racist Town
Lori McKenna Numbered Doors
James Vincent McMorrow Post Tropical
Chuck Mead Free State Serenade
John Mellencamp Plain Spoken
Zoe Muth World of Strangers
David Nail I’m a Fire
Jerrod Neimann High Noon
Willie Nelson Band of Brothers
Jennifer Nettles That Girl
Nickel Creek A Dotted Line
Jamie O’Neal Eternal
Old 97s Most Messed Up
Old Crow Medicine Show Remedy
Brad Paisley Moonshine in the Trunk
Doug Paisley Strong Feelings
Jon Pardi Write You a Song
Dolly Parton Blue Smoke
Eric Paslay Eric Paslay
Angaleena Presley American Middle Class
Ray Price Beauty Is…
Rascal Flatts Rewind
Amy Ray Goodnight Tender
Chase Rice Ignite the Night
The Secret Sisters Put Your Needle Down
Billy Joe Shaver Long in the Tooth
Blake Shelton Bringing Back the Sunshine
Shovels & Rope Swimmin’ Time
Sturgill Simpson Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
Ricky Skaggs & Sharon White Hearts Like Ours
Caitlyn Smith Everything to You
Sons of Bill Love & Logic
The Spinney Brothers Tried & True
Candi Staton Life Happens
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives Saturday Night / Sunday Morning
Sunny Sweeney Provoked
Cole Swindell Cole Swindell
The Swon Brothers The Swon Brothers
Chris Thile & Edgar Mayer Bass & Mandolin
Josh Thompson Turn It Up
Paul Thorn Too Blessed to Be Stressed
Trampled by Turtles Wild Animals
Randy Travis Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am
Tweedy Sukierae
Cale Tyson Cheater’s Wine
Rhonda Vincent Only Me
Sean Watkins All I Do Is Lie
Gene Watson My Heroes Have Always Been Country
Whiskey Shivers Whiskey Shivers
Don Williams Reflections
Lucinda Williams Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone
Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison Our Year
Luke Winslow-King Everlasting Arms
Mac Wiseman Songs from My Mother’s Hand
Lee Ann Womack The Way I’m Livin’
Zac Brown Band The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1

The Singles

First Last / Group Title
Adam & I If I’m Taken
Kayla Adams Sober & Sorry
Ryan Adams Gimme Something Good
Ryan Adams My Wrecking Ball
Jason Aldean Burnin’ It Down
Jason Aldean When She Says Baby
Dean Alexander Live a Little
Brassfield Aly Cheap Shades
American Nomad Hallelujah
American Young Wasn’t Gonna Drink Tonight
American Young Love is War
Michaela Anne Ease My Mind
Katie Armiger One Night Between Friends
Grace Askew Cinnamon
Rodney Atkins Eat Sleep Love You Repeat
The Avett Brothers Morning Song
Avicii Hey Brother (f. Dan Tyminski)
Steve Azar Fly
Frankie Ballard Sunshine & Whiskey
Kelsea Ballerini Love Me Like You Mean It
Veronica Ballestrini Cookies & Cream
The Band Perry Gentle on My Mind
The Band Perry Chainsaw
The Bankesters Found
Kelleigh Bannen You Are What You Love
Kelleigh Bannen Famous
Bobby Bare Jr. North of Alabama by Mornin’
Casey Barnes Flesh & Bone
Mandy Barnett Blue Blue Day (f. Alison Krauss)
Belles & Whistles Princess
Dierks Bentley Say You Do
Dierks Bentley Drunk on a Plane
Big & Rich Look at You
Scott H. Biram Never Comin’ Home
Scott H. Biram Slow & Easy
Blackhawk Brothers of the Southland
Danielle Bradbery Young in America
Ben Bradford Tequila Makes the World Go ‘Round
Dakota Bradley Won’t Be Young Forever
Paul Brandt Forever Summer
Lee Brice I Don’t Dance
Lee Brice Drinking Class
Dean Brody Mountain Man
Garth Brooks Mom
Garth Brooks People Loving People
Brothers Osborne Rum
Pieta Brown Before Gas & TV
Doug Bruce Broke Down Heart
Brushville Baby’s Got Her Boots On
Luke Bryan Roller Coaster
Luke Bryan Play It Again
Luke Bryan I See You
Chase Bryant Take it On Back
Buck 22 Country Pride
Laura Bell Bundy That’s What Angels Do
Kristian Bush Trailer Hitch
The Cadillac Three Party Like You
The Cadillac Three The South
Craig Campbell Keep Them Kisses Comin’
Glen Campbell I’m Not Gonna Miss You
Carlene Carter Little Black Train
Deana Carter Do or Die
Jenny Casey Flour Sack Dress
Rosanne Cash A Feather’s Not a Bird
Kasey Chambers Wheelbarrow
Chasin’ Crazy That’s How We Do Summertime
Kenny Chesney Til It’s Gone
Kenny Chesney American Kids
Eric Church Talladega
Eric Church Cold One
Eric Church Give Me Back My Hometown
Brandy Clark Get High
Terri Clark Some Songs
Brian Collins Never Really Left
Wendy Colonna Dirty Things
Kristy Lee Cook Looking for a Cowgirl
Easton Corbin Baby, Be My Love Song
Easton Corbin Clockwork
Matt Cornell Outta This Town
Bucky Covington Buzzin’
Kyle Cox I Ain’t Been Lonely Until I Met You
Joel Crouse Why God Made Love Songs
Joel Crouse Even the River Runs
Bart Crow If I Go, I’m Goin’
Sheryl Crow Shotgun
Sheryl Crow Callin’ Me When I’m Lonely
Crow Moses Horse Heaven Hills
Billy Currington Don’t It
Billy Currington We Are Tonight
Billy Ray Cyrus Like a Country Song
Anthony D’Amato Good and Ready
Dan & Shay Show You Off
Dan & Shay 19 You & Me
Ali Dee Just a Broken Heart
Dex Romweber Duo Roll On
Dozzi Weakness
Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors American Beauty
Justin Townes Earle White Gardenias
The Easy Leaves The American
Brooke Eden American Dreamin’
Brett Eldredge Mean to Me
Brett Eldredge Beat of the Music
Eli Young Band Dust
Lindsay Ell Shut Me Up
Lindsay Ell Pickup Truck
Sara Evans Put My Heart Down
Sara Evans Can’t Stop Loving You (f. Isaac Slade)
Sara Evans Slow Me Down
David Fanning Drink You Away
The Farm Mud
Tyler Farr A Guy Walks Into a Bar
Tyler Farr Whiskey In My Water
The Felice Brothers Lion
Fire Mountain Moving Target
Florida Georgia Line Dirt
Florida Georgia Line Sun Daze
Florida Georgia Line This is How We Roll (f. Luke Bryan)
Colt Ford Workin’ On
Marc Ford Dream #26
Radney Foster California
Radney Foster Whose Heart You Wreck (Ode to the Muse)
John Fullbright Happy
Otis Gibbs The Darker Side of Me
Brantley Gilbert Small Town Throwdown (f. Thomas Rhett & Justin Moore)
Brantley Gilbert Bottoms Up
Brantley Gilbert One Hell of an Amen
Gloriana Trouble
Gloriana Best Night Ever
Gloriana Trouble
Pat Green Girls from Texas (f. Lyle Lovett)
Noah Gunderson Cigarettes
Mickey Guyton Better Than You Left Me
Lucy Hale A Little Bit Better
Lucy Hale You Sound Good to Me
Haley & Michaels Just Another Love Song
Hard Working Americans Blackland Farmer
J. Michael Harter Holy Cowgirl
Hunter Hayes Tattoo
Hunter Hayes Invisible
Joe Henry Sign
Ariana Hodes Brand New Key
JT Hodges Already High
JT Hodges Lay It Down
Will Hoge Middle of America
John Dee Holeman & Don Flemons John Henry
Hot Rize I Never Met a One Like You
Hot Rize Blue is Fallin’
James House Every Time it Rains
Randy Houser Like a Cowboy
Randy Houser Goodnight Kiss
Sam Hunt Leave the Night On
Sam Hunt Take Your Time
Joey Hyde Get It On
I Draw Slow Valentine
I Draw Slow Souvenirs
The Infamous Stringdusters Summercamp
The Infamous Stringdusters Let It Go
Kira Isabella Quarterback
Millie Jackson Black B**** Crazy
Casey James Fall Apart
Shooter Jennings Don’t Wait Up (I’m Playing Possum)
Josh Abbott Band Hangin’ Around
Toby Keith Drunk Americans
Josh Kelley Mandolin Rain
Kristen Kelly Kiss By Kiss
Ryan Kinder Kiss Me When I’m Down
John King Tonight Tonight
Jana Kramer Love
April Kry Beauty Queen
Lady Antebellum Freestyle
Lady Antebellum Bartender
Lady Antebellum Compass
Miranda Lambert Automatic
Miranda Lambert Somethin’ Bad (with Carrie Underwood)
Ray Lamontagne Drive-In Movie
Ray Lamontagne Supernova
Chris Lane Broken Windshield View
Nikki Lane Right Time
Stoney LaRue First One to Know
Amber Lawrence Superhero
Tracy Lawrence Lie
Jackie Lee She Does
Mick Lindsay Imaginary Girl
Meghan Linsey Try Harder Than That (f. Bubba Sparxxx)
The Lone Bellow Then Came the Morning
Lonestar Just the Rain
Love & Theft Night That You’ll Never Forget
Lydia Loveless They Don’t Know
Lydia Loveless Head
Corb Lund Conterfeiter’s Blues
Claire Lynch Dear Sister
Dustin Lynch Where It’s At (Yep Yep)
Lera Lynn Out to Sea
Lera Lynn Lying in the Sun
Stephanie Lynn Two Ships
Maddie & Tae Girl in a Country Song
Beverley Mahood Sunday I’m an Angel
The Mastersons Closer to You
Imelda May It’s Good to Be Alive
Matthew Mayfield Desire
McAlister Kemp Fight Me
Martina McBride Little Bit of Rain
Neal McCoy Can You Do This
Scotty McCreery Feelin’ It
Anne McCue Things You Left Out in the Rain
Tim McGraw Shotgun Rider
Tim McGraw Meanwhile Back at Mama’s (f. Faith Hill)
Tim McGraw Lookin’ for That Girl
Lori McKenna Numbered Doors
Megan & Liz Simple Life
Jo Dee Messina He’s Messed Up
Jo Dee Messina A Woman’s Rant
Logan Mize Can’t Get Away from a Good Time
Monroeville Be Natural
Montgomery Gentry Headlights
Montgomery Gentry Summer is Here
Justin Moore Home Sweet Home (f. Vince Neil)
Justin Moore This Kind of Town
Justin Moore Lettin’ the Night Roll
Kip Moore Dirt Road
Kip Moore Young Love
Sam Moore Jesus & Jones (f. Nu Blu)
Craig Morgan We’ll Come Back Around
Craig Morgan Wake Up Loving You
Neal Morse Heaven Smiled
Kacey Musgraves Keep it to Yourself
David Nail Kiss You Tonight
Natalie Stovall & The Drive Mason Jar
Natalie Stovall & The Drive Baby Come On With It
Native Run Good On You
Tami Neilson Walk (Back to Your Arms)
Jerrod Neimann Buzz Back Girl
Jerrod Neimann Donkey
Jerrod Neimann Drink to That All Night
Jennifer Nettles Me Without You
Joe Nichols Hard to Be Cool
Joe Nichols Yeah
Nickel Creek Destination
Nickel Creek Hayloft
Aofie O’Donovan & Noam Pikelny Don’t That Road Look Rough and Rocky
Jamie O’Neal Wide Awake
Luke O’Shea Sing You Up
Old 97s Let’s Get Drunk & Get It On
Old Crow Medicine Show Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer
Old Crow Medicine Show Sweet Amarillo
Old Dominion Shut Me Up
Lindi Ortega Lived and Died Alone
James Otto Somewhere Tonight
Jake Owen What We Ain’t Got
Jake Owen Beachin’
Brad Paisley Perfect Storm
Brad Paisley River Bank
Brad Paisley The Mona Lisa
Jon Pardi When I Been Drinkin’
Jon Pardi What I Can’t Put Down
Parmalee Close Your Eyes
Dolly Parton Home
Eric Paslay She Don’t Love You
Eric Paslay Song About a Girl
Pawnshop Kings Love Like Jesus
Pawnshop Kings Make Me Whole
Kellie Pickler Closer to Nowhere
Cassadee Pope I Wish I Could Break Your Heart
Angaleena Presley Pain Pills
Margo Price Since You Put Me Down
Jenny Queen Let Her Go
RaeLynn God Made Girls
The Railers Kinda Dig the Feeling
Rascal Flatts Payback
Rascal Flatts Rewind
Ray Johnston Band More Crown Than Coke
Thomas Rhett Make Me Wanna
Thomas Rhett Get Me Some of That
Chase Rice Ready, Set, Hep C
Sam Riggs Hold On and Let Go
The Road Hammers I’ve Been Everywhere
Julie Roberts Good Wine & Bad Decisions
Maggie Rose Girl In Your Truck Song
Maggie Rose Looking Back Now
Rose’s Pawn Shop What Were You Waiting For
Darius Rucker Homegrown Honey
Darius Rucker Miss You
Ben Rue I Can’t Wait (Be My Wife)
Mando Saenz Pocket Change
Dylan Scott Mmm, Mmm, Mmm
Dylan Scott Makin’ This Boy Go Crazy
Ray Scott Drinkin’ Beer
Gwen Sebastian Small Town Soul
Shakira Medicine (f. Blake Shelton)
Blake Shelton Neon Light
Blake Shelton My Eyes (f. Gwen Sebastian)
Blake Shelton Doin’ What She Likes
Amanda Shires Look Like a Bird
Shovels & Rope The Devil is All Around
Sturgill Simpson Life of Sin
Sturgill Simpson The Promise
Sturgill Simpson Turtles All the Way Down
Small Town Pistols Colour Blind
Canaan Smith Love You Like That
Dallas Smith A Girl Like You
Bubba Sparxxx Made on McCosh Mill Road
Jamie Lynn Spears How Could I Want More
The Spinney Brothers Gonna Catch a Train
The Steel Wheels We’ve Got a Fire
Tate Stevens Better at Night
George Strait I Got a Car
The Stray Birds Best Medicine
Sundy Best Until I Met You
Bryan Sutton That’s Where I Belong
Sunny Sweeney Bad Girl Phase
Sweetwater Rain Tailspin
Cole Swindell Hope You Get Lonely Tonight
The Swon Brothers Pray for You
The Swon Brothers Later On
Glen Templeton Ball Cap
Josh Thompson Wanted Me Gone
Thompson Square I Can’t Outrun You
Thompson Square Test the Water
Paul Thorn Mediocrity is King
Tigirlily A Little Fun
Trent Tomlinson Come Back to Bed
Trampled by Turtles Are You Behind the Shining Star
Trampled by Turtles Wild Animals
Randy Travis Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me
Josh Turner Lay Low
Leah Turner My Finger
Leah Turner Pull Me Back
Donna Ulisse Showin’ My Roots
Carrie Underwood Something in the Water
Keith Urban Somewhere in My Car
Keith Urban Cop Car
Clay Walker Rock the Radio
Sean Watkins Since the Day That I Was Born
Austin Webb Raise ‘Em Up
Emily West Made for Radio
Whiskey Myers Dogwood
Whiskey Shivers There is a Time
Chuck Wicks Saturday Afternoon
Chuck Wicks Us Again
Don Williams I’ll Be Here in the Morning
Holly Williams Waiting on June
Jason D. Williams Hillbillies & Holy Rollers
John Williamson Clouds Over Tamworth
Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison Motor City Man
Gretchen Wilson Chariot
Luke Winslow-King Swing That Thing
Jon Wolfe What Are You Doin’ Right Now
Lee Ann Womack The Way I’m Livin’
Trisha Yearwood PrizeFighter (f. Kelly Clarkson)
Chris Young Lonely Eyes
Chris Young Who I Am With You
Zac Brown Band All Right


  1. You guys have been busy. My favorite album of 2014 is “That Girl” from Jennifer Nettles followed by Gary Burr’s “Juggler’s Logic”. I have Hal Ketchum’s “I’m the Troubadour”, Suzy B’s “Lucky” and David Nail’s “I’m a Fire”. There are a few others I just haven’t gotten around to checking out, e.g., Wade Bowen. Although I’m a big fan of ZBB, I was very disappointed in the Grohl Sessions.

    My favorite 2014 singles include:
    Eric Paslay – “She Don’t Love You”
    Jennifer Nettles – “Me Without You”
    Jamie O’Neal – “Wide Awake”
    Brandy Clark – “Get High”
    Wendy Colonna – “Dirty Things”

    The vocals matter a lot to me. I don’t care how country a song is or how great the lyrics are, if the singer’s voice makes me wince I’m not buying the song. I can always read the lyrics and wait til some vocalist I like covers it.

    The year end media base top 40 (Kix Brooks, American Country Countdown) is out and it could be the worst top 40 ever.

  2. “One Hell of an Amen” is by far my favorite of the year.

    Other favorites: “Say You Do”, “Cop Car”, “Lonely Eyes”, “Dirt”, “Dust”, “A Guy Walks Into a Bar”, “Cold One”, “Talladega”, “Turtles All the Way Down”, “Somewhere In My Car”, “Keep It to Yourself”, “She Don’t Love You”, “Drunk on a Plane” and “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”.

    Special mention to Tim Hicks’ “She Don’t Drink Whiskey Anymore”, which isn’t included on the list but is outstanding.

    Favorite albums (very mainstream, as I haven’t heard much underground stuff this year, though I did recently purchase Sturgill’s album and will listen
    to it soon):

    Dierks’ ‘Riser’ tops my list by a mile, followed by Chrurch’s ‘The Outsiders’ and Brantley Gilbert’s ‘Just As I Am’.

    Honorable mentions to:

    Tim McGraw’s ‘Sundown Heaven Town’, Miranda Lambert’s ‘Platinum’, and David Nail’s ‘I’m A Fire’.

  3. Looking at the singles list and I can’t seem to find Rodney Crowell’s “Frankie Please.” Wasn’t that the single from Tarpaper Sky?

    I love this new ballot feature. It’s interesting to see what albums and singles are in contention for the final list. You really do consider everything!

  4. Since I find it very hard to keep track of anything that doesn’t place in the top 40/50, my top singles of the year would be:

    1. “She Don’t Love You” Eric Paslay
    2. “What We Ain’t Got” Jake Owen
    3. “Girl In A Country Song” Maddie & Tae
    4. “Talladega” Eric Church
    5. “Cop Car” Keith Urban

    In terms of albums, I have to admit that there was nothing released this year that really floored me, even among the independent releases. Eric Paslay’s debut was pretty good though, and despite the messiness of Sturgill Simpson’s record, it was decent, too.

  5. Daylight & the Dark by Jason Eady is for sure my favorite album of 2014, even beyond Metamodern by Sturgill. I played the title track on-a-loop for about a week straight when I first heard that song. A powerful, true country album by a criminally underrated singer and songwriter. This album, in my opinion, was even better than A.M. Country Heaven that came out last year.

  6. It doesn’t deserve a spot on the top albums list, but where is Garth’s “Man Against Machine” on the ballot? Also, was “I Wish I Still Smoked Cigarettes” released this year? It would be near the top of my singles list.

  7. Top 5 Singles in no particular order:

    Sunshine and Whiskey – Frankie Ballard
    Dust – Eli Young Band
    Leave the Night On – Sam Hunt
    Automatic – Miranda Lambert
    Get Me Some of That – Thomas Rhett

  8. My top charted songs are:
    Carrie Underwood – Something in the Water
    Tim McGraw – Meanwhile Back at Mama’s
    Dierks Bentley – Drunk on a Plane
    Tracy Lawrence – Lie
    Eric Church – Give Me Back My Hometown
    My top un-charted songs are:
    David Nail – The Secret
    Brandy Clark – Just Like Him
    Jamie Lynn Spears – Big Bad World
    Kip Moore – Faith When I Fall
    Kenny Chesney – Wild Child (w Grace Potter)
    And a special nod to Miranda Lambert for “All That’s Left” with The Time Jumpers for the most FUN song of 2014.

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