The best country albums of 2000
1. I Hope You Dance
Lee Ann Womack
Womack worked a miracle on this collection of honest, passionate songs, which avoided mainstream’s manufactured sentiment yet still sold at radio. The title track, an unabashed declaration of selfless love, was a multiple winner at this year’s Country Music Association Awards, suggesting Womack’s the best hope to spearhead an industry return to authenticity.
2. Crossing Muddy Waters
Hiatt’s first-ever acoustic album uses the dissolution of a couple’s once-blazing love as a metaphor for the crumbling values and anguished pride of the old South. From stark portraits of loss and death, rebel flags, and drunken car wrecks, he creates a deeply affecting meditation on earthly suffering and spiritual redemption.
3. The Hardest Part
Whether you interpret this as a reflection on the vagaries of contemporary love, or as an autobiographical look at her parents’ murder/suicide, Moorer’s second album is a tour de force of longing and obsession. Smoky, sensuous, smart.