We’ve come across 50+ debut albums so far this year and we were able to narrow it down to our 10 favorite! These are either the artist’s very first project, first studio album, or first full-length album. Enjoy!
10. The Drugstore Gypsies – The Drugstore Gypsies
The Drugstore Gypsies hit 2017 with a bang with their self-titled album and smash hit single “Runnin’ To”! Their distinctive Southern Rock sound and uptempo groove definitely make these guys stand out in the Texas scene! Dynmic sound, solid album, road warriors…what’s not to like? They just released new single, “Breakin the Law” and we fully expect it to keep the momentum going!
9. John Hord – The Home You Made For Me – EP
We really liked John Hord’s debut single, “Blame it on the Whiskey”, last year and were excited to hear an EP was in the works! We got our hands on it this March and were pleased to hear 6 tracks of twangy vocals, traditional country music, and solid production! Standout track “Cowboy Angel” is powerfully moving and one damn good song!
8. Dillan Poe – Wilted –EP
We literally came across Dillan Poe’s “Wilted – EP” this week, but could tell it was something special when we hit play Monday morning! We immediately took notice of the gut-punching songwriting, the edgy vibe, and original sound! We’ve been jamming it all week, and really dig standout track “Broken Hearted Fools”! We look forward to seeing where he goes from here!
7. Jon Stork – In Your Radio – EP
Jon Stork was another guy we weren’t familiar with going into the year and were pleasantly surprised when we came across his “In Your Radio – EP” this May. Impressed with Stork’s powerful pipes, spirited delivery, and rhythmic choruses, we’ve been hooked ever since! I’ve probably played the title track a few hundred times and still can’t get enough of it!
6. Hunter Rea Band – Lovin’ Ain’t Free
We’ve been following these guys for a while now, and have always been impressed by their kick-ass live show. Their 2014 EP we thought was decent, but it didn’t quite do them justice. This year they released 11 track album “Lovin’ Ain’t Free” …and it was everything we hoped it would be! Full of funky grooves, soulful vocals, and infectious energy, the album reflects just how talented these guys are! Be sure to checkout standout tracks “Lonesome Traveler”, “Woman to Hold”, and “Find a Way”!
5. Tanner Fenoglio – This Town
Tanner Fenoglio certainly hit the ground running with his March album “This Town”. 7 tracks of top-notch production, storytelling songwriting and smooth vocals, it’s no wonder he’s currently boasting 8k+ monthly listeners on Spotify! Radio single “This Ain’t the Movies” found some solid success on the radio charts earlier this year, and we think standout track “This Town” is one of the best songs of 2017! If you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon, now’s the time!
4. Read Southall – Borrowed Time
Read Southall definitely created some pretty impressive buzz with his acoustic album “Six String Sorrow”, but since dropping his first studio album, “Borrowed Time”, this past April, he’s been catapulted to one of the fastest rising acts in the scene! 8 tracks of dynamic southern rock, honest lyrics, and raw energy, it’s easy to see why he’s climbing the ladder so quickly. Standout tracks “Why”, “Beautiful Eyes”, and “Damn” make the listener notice that it’s just as much about the words, as it is the music; and with an average of 30K monthly listeners on Spotify….I’d say people are noticing! If you haven’t caught their live show yet, then do yourself a favor and check these guys out next time they’re in your town…and be prepared to get rowdy!
3. Eddie Saenz – 17 Hours
Eddie Saenz came out of nowhere on us this summer. We weren’t familiar with the Edinburg, Texas native until we stumbled across his debut album “17 Hours” and we’ve been hooked ever since! Between the allure of the record’s rustic, south Texas vibe and Saenz’s ability to continually tell interesting stories with his lyrics, it’s easily one of our favorite surprises this year. “My Hometown” is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year from an up-and-coming artist; add in additional standout tracks “Honky Tonk Promenade”, “Drivin’ ”, and “Emily” and it’s no wonder why were so high on this guy. We think it’s one hell of a debut album and can’t wait to see where he’s headed!!
2. Clayton Landua – Native
Former Six Market Blvd frontman Clayton Landua dropped his first solo project “Native” in May of this year. While the 12 track project journies through love, longing, and faith it’s Landua’s ability to immerse the listener into everyday common life that’s truly remarkable. Through poignant lyrics and vivid imagery he paints colorful pictures of the people and places in his songs. With earthy grooves, crisp energy, and impassioned vocals, the album is soothing, vibrant, and refreshing! “Box of Chocolates”, “Vegetables” and “Morning Time” are our favorites!
1. Kody West – Green
Even though this album dropped in April it’s still in heavy rotation around our office! This record is packed with incredible songwriting, edgy production, and an infectious vibe. If you’ve gotten the chance to catch a show, you know West’s vocals and the band are just as outstanding as the album. The project is impressive from start to finish, but standout tracks “In the Morning”, “The Prayer”, and “For the Last Time” really showcase just how talented West is. He also does a KILLER cover of Noah Gundersen’s “Ledges”! Overall we feel this is the best debut album we’ve come across so far this year, and feel there is a very bright future on the horizon for this guy! If you haven’t checked this record out yet, then we suggest you get on it!
Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I’am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.