Last week Billboard released its Top Country Albums charts for the last decade, and right on top was Chris Stapleton and his landmark album Traveller. Beating out blockbusters such as Sam Hunt’s Montevallo, Florida Georgia Line’s Here’s To The Good Times, and Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party, it puts an exclamation point behind the historic run this record has enjoyed, and how it saved country music from the Bro-Country era that dominated earlier in the decade.
It was Chris Stapleton’s big wins at the 2015 CMA Awards (including Album of the Year for Traveller) that allowed country to move on from the Bro-Country era. We had a feeling at the time those wins could be historic, and mark a defining moment for country music. Four years later, and with the ability to reflect back on the decade, it’s easy to conclude they definitely were.
The 2010’s will go down in the country music history books as a Bro-Country black eye colored by bad songs full of cliches about beer, girls, tailgates, and backroads, often with lines that are rapped and beats that are electronic, while women were virtually excluded from participating. But above that steaming pile with be Chris Stapleton and Traveller, showing country music the way out of that creative malaise, and hopefully shepherding in an era where country music returned to its roots and substance, and rekindled its proud spot in popular music where songwriting and instrumentation still matter.
Billboard’s Top 10 Albums of the 2010’s
- Chris Stapleton – Traveller
- Sam Hunt – Montevallo
- Florida Georgia Line – Here’s To The Good Times
- Luke Bryan – Crash My Party
- Luke Combs – This One’s For You
- Jason Aldean – My Kinda Party
- Luke Bryan – Tailgates and Tanlines
- Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
- Kane Brown – Self-Titled
- Eric Church – Chief