Forgive us if we’re starting to sound like a broken record, but 2016 has been a great year for music—so great, in fact, that there are likely a whole bunch of great albums that never even landed on your radar. Here are some choice sleepers—ranging from decadent dance-jams to cabaret-glam to honky-tonk—that kept us (happily) up all night during the last twelve months.

Luke Bell, Luke Bell

Bell’s self-titled debut—the latest release out of East Nashville’s renowned Bomb Shelter studio—is a reminder that the future of country music is bright. This instantly affecting 32-minute LP has no filler, delivering heartfelt ballads (“Where Ya Been?” and “The Bullfighter”), old-school sing-alongs (“Ragtime Troubles”), and, of course, yodeling. Bell’s voice is up for the eclectic mix; it’s a bit Lefty Frizzell, a touch of Hank Williams, and some winking Roy Orbison when he needs it. —Joseph Bien-Kahn
WHERE TO START: The surprisingly bouncy breakup jam “Sometimes”

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