2017 was an amazing year for country music.

We saw comebacks on an epic level and follow-ups from some of our most popular artists. (Hello Kelsea and Lady Antebellum!) We had songs and albums that snuck up on us and true country gold. It truly was one of the best years in music that I can remember.

When it comes to album releases, we were truly blessed. It seemed like we got one great album after another. It was hard to narrow it down but 5 albums really stuck out.

P.S. I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store!

  • Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

    Brett Eldredge, Brett Eldredge

    Brett really came into his own with his fourth, self-titled album. The 12-track set takes you through so many emotions, from the first note of the catchy opening song to the last word of the devastating end tune. Each song is different than the last but all are killer. This is also Brett's most personal album by far. He really lays it all out there and shows a more vulnerable side than we are used to seeing from him. He's still the goofball we love but he's also showing more sides to himself now. If you want to learn where his heart is, listen to "Brother" and thank me later.

  • Jason Davis, Getty Images

    Lauren Alaina, Road Less Traveled

    Lauren Alaina sure set the bar high with the first line of the first track: "daddy got sober, mama got his best friend." She only gets better from there and makes it a mission to pull at your heart strings. She tells her stories of heartbreak and triumph and divorce and pleading with her once-alcoholic father in a way very few other artists have this year. (Listen to "Same Day Different Bottle" right this minute.) There's nothing she's willing to dance around and the result is a stellar, catchy and poignant set of tracks. Listen to her talk about struggling to make it in the industry on "Three" and try not to cry.

  • Rick Diamond, Getty Images

    Luke Combs, This One's For You

    If you had an instant love affair with his first single "Hurricane" like I did, then you understand why I think this is one of the best releases of the year. There are some fun, light-hearted tunes on here but the best tracks are the ones where he's showing his vulnerable side. He's thanking everyone who helped him make it in the music industry on the title track and singing about a girl he loves on "Got Away With You" and making us dance and sing along on every song inbetween. He may be the new kid in town, but with this album he proves he can hang with the big dogs.

  • Rick Diamond, Getty Images

    Carly Pearce, Every Little Thing

    As she proved with her first single (and first #1 hit), Carly can sing. And sing she does on her debut album. It's not her killer voice that gets you though - it's the wide range of tracks. The opening tune will make you do a double take if you've only ever heard "Every Little Thing." From there she's calling out mean ex-lovers and flirting with bad decisions and very often yearning to be back in her little hometown where things are a little easier. The best track - "If My Name Was Whiskey" - is pure country, heartbreak gold and my year was made better because of it.

  • Rick Diamond, Getty Images

    Brett Young, Brett Young

    He has a few number one singles under his belt these days but when this album was released in February, he was still just a rookie. His voice is different than any other male on country radio right now but it's his ability to take a common theme and make it his own that made me fall in love with his debut album. Every track tells a story in his own unique way. He saves the best for last - "Mercy" is one of the greatest (and saddest) songs of the year.