As 2012 comes to a close, I thought about all the amazing music this year has brought. There was a slew of great country songs and it's a challenge to just pick a few of my favorites, but I think I'm up for the task.

I chose to highlight the country albums I thought were the standouts this year because of some of the tracks not released. So here are a few of my picks that I'd like to share with you.

1. Zac Brown Band 'Uncaged'

Zac Brown Band is of my favorite bands in country music today because of their eclectic sound on their third studio album 'Uncaged.' It includes a fabulos range of musical styles, from the island songs to southern rock to real bittersweet ballads.

Zac Brown Band: 'Sweet Annie'

Zac Brown Band: 'Goodbye in Her Eyes'

2. Jerrod Niemann 'Free the Music'

Jerrod Niemann learned how to play guitar on an instrument autographed by Tracy Lawrence, which his mother had won at a concert. His parents owned a roller rink and he played at talent shows as a young man at the White Elephant Saloon in Fort Worth. When he moved to Nashville, he wrote songs for Garth Brooks but still struggled. Thank goodness he got a label and can continue to share his talents as a songwriter and artist with us.

Jerrod Niemann: 'Only God Could Love You More'

3. Pat Green: 'Songs We Wish We'd Written II'

Texas country icon Pat Green released a second album of cover songs, including tunes by Lyle Lovett, Shelby Lynne, Tom Petty and Todd Snider.

This entire album is awesome, but Pat's cover of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' "Even The Losers" won me over!

Pat Green: 'Even the Losers'

4. Alan Jackson: 'Thirty Miles West'

One critic who reviewed Alan's latest work said, "I could have sworn 'So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore' was a standard, but it turns out the devastating song was freshly written by Jackson's nephew Adam Wright with Jay Knowles."

Alan Jackson: 'So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore'

5. Kenny Chesney: 'Welcome to the Fish Bowl'

I have loved this song for a long time. The song was written by Keith Gattis from Georgetown, Texas, and originally sung by Texas singer Charlie Robison with backup vocal from Natalie Maines. Kenny had a lot to live up to on this one. Kenny chose to stick close to the original, and in doing so, did a brilliant job.

Charlie's version has that cool, Texas vibe, while Kenny's has a smoother Nashville sound. Either way, it's good stuff!

Kenny Chesney: 'El Cerrito Place'


As always, I would like to know what you guys loved in country music this year! Please share with us your picks in the comment section below.