A couple of picks for 2016 country albums. First, Sturgill Simpson's "A Sailor's Guide To Earth." Here's a live version of the final track.
Next, Western Centuries' "Weight of the World."
Finally, they aren't quite country, but I use their twangier tracks in this series plenty enough that it would look odd if I left this off. They are getting enough attention, though, that they make this list look almost... mainstream. Nah. I've been listening to these guys since before you ever heard of them.
Honorable mention to Lydia Loveless's new album, although she hasn't topped her first album yet. Also, I've left off Gillian Welch's album since it is basically just demos and alternate versions from her debut. Yes, it's better than anything else, but it isn't new material, so I won't count it.
Also, I still haven't gotten new albums by Malcolm Holcombe, Darrell Scott, Bo Ramsey, or several others. Too much great music out there.