Top Country Music Artists

Top country music artists go beyond songwriting and recording by expanding their brands through endorsements, acting roles and fashion lines. Many are also involved in charitable efforts that have far-reaching effects.

George Strait set the bar high in country music. His blend of honky-tonk with blues, rock and jazz remains timeless.

1. Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks has become one of the most successful country music artists ever. With more than 170 million records sold worldwide and his contributions in reinstating country music into mainstream pop, his success stems both from genuine talent and strategic marketing strategies. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma before graduating OSU with an advertising degree – Brooks began performing local circuit gigs soon after graduation – his influences ranged from rock acts such as KISS to singer-songwriters such as James Taylor and George Strait before linking up with Nashville entertainment lawyer Ron Phelps who assisted him with starting his country music career professionally.

No Fences was his inaugural album and quickly established him as a major star, while Ropin’ the Wind followed in 1991 and became the first country album ever to top both Billboard charts and break into the top ten on pop albums charts. These two records combined country bathos (“If Tomorrow Never Comes,” an emotional ballad about realizing what marriage means) with country/neo-honky tonk (“Friends in Low Places” and “The Thunder Rolls”, as well as pop influences by touching upon issues such as homophobia and homelessness – two key drivers of success!

In the 1990s, Brooks continued his reign over music with multi-million selling albums like The Chase (1992), In Pieces (1993), Fresh Horses (1995) and Sevens (1997). His concerts were enormous spectacles with stunning lighting and effects as Brooks smashed guitars, doused himself in water and raced across the stage.

In 1998, he ventured beyond music to tryout for the San Diego Padres professional baseball team and later found the Teammates for Kids Foundation which raises funds for charities that aid children. Due to a series of conflicts in his personal and professional lives in 2001, he retired from recording and performing but continues selling millions of albums through an exclusive deal with Walmart.

2. Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney has an uncanny ability to captivate listeners, engaging many through his island style music. His lyrics often address topics that people can identify with such as heartbreak, love and family issues. Even as pop country took hold, Chesney managed to remain true to country music by selling out arenas despite this development.

His first record deal was with Capricorn Records, who released his debut album in 1994 and sold 10,000 copies before discontinuing production after just six months. BNA soon came on board to help launch his career; since then he has released several successful albums – reaching #1 on Billboard with “There Goes My Life”.

The song recounts the experience of a young man learning his girlfriend is pregnant, and how that news impacts their lives. It spent several weeks at No.1 on Country Airplay chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award as Best Male Country Vocal Performance.

Chesney has since continued to dominate the charts with his music, as well as collaborate with popular artists like Jimmy Buffett, Reba McEntire and Tim McGraw. Additionally, he is known for being extremely friendly and always willing to show others southern hospitality when working together with him.

Loretta Lynn was an icon in country music. As the daughter of a coal miner from Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, she rose through the ranks to fame by touring worldwide and winning multiple awards during her storied career. With songs like “Rated X” and “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ With Lovin’ on Your Mind”, she expressed the feelings of scorned wives and veterans through music.

3. Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood has long been one of the most beloved country music artists of her era. With two decades of career achievements behind her, and renowned for her powerful voice and musical storytelling abilities, Oklahoma native Carrie Underwood rose from farm girl status to country superstardom with ease, singing her way onto the Grand Ole Opry stage as well as receiving many prestigious awards throughout her impressive illustrious career.

Underwood made history when she won the 2005 season of American Idol. That victory cemented her position as a rising country star and led to immediate success; both Some Hearts and Carnival Ride cemented this status with her powerful pipes and farmgirl charm quickly making her beloved among country music fans.

Singing songs ranging from sweet and sentimental to fiery and sassy is her specialty; she shows this off perfectly in the 2014 song “Somethin’ Bad”, where she joins forces with Miranda Lambert – known for creating bold tunes – to deliver a song sure to have audiences moving. The result? A tune sure to have you dancing up a storm.

Underwood has consistently shown her support for fellow country musicians throughout her career. She has collaborated with musicians like Dan + Shay and John Legend on songs that have reached number one on the charts; perhaps her most notable collaboration may have been with Brad Paisley on “Remind Me,” off of 2011 album This Is Country Music.

Underwood has blossomed into a versatile entertainer who can now be found across television and film. She continues to perform her popular concert shows such as REFLECTION: The Las Vegas Residency at Resorts World Theatre; in addition, she can often be found hosting CMA Awards shows.

4. George Strait

George Strait was one of the most prolific country music artists of his generation and still performs at an impressive rate. He is honored as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and has won multiple CMA and ACM awards; more singles reached number one than any other artist. Known for his traditional sound as well as transitioning into pop country music genre, Strait remains one of his industry’s leading lights.

Strait was born and raised on his family ranch in Pearsall, Texas, where his family operated a ranch. On weekends he would ride horses and rope cattle while learning the values of ranch life from his father. By high school however, his musical tastes veered more toward rock and roll: He played in garage bands while singing Beatles tunes at random times during school breaks. After graduation he joined the army while continuing to pursue music sidelines: He formed Ace in the Hole Band which gained regional audiences before eventually signing a one-song contract from MCA Records Records after several attempts he finally signed him on October 13, 1981 as MCA Records offered one song contract deal a year after signing him up.

Strait became one of the decade’s defining country stars with his breakthrough song, “Amarillo by Morning”. An early proponent of transitioning away from traditional country to more pop-oriented styles, Strait pays close attention to chart placements like any successful country singer should. Speaking candidly and candidly about them is part and parcel of success as an artist and musician alike.

Strait has not been as active in his musical career for some time; nevertheless, his fans remain dedicated to him and believe he can bring new life back into it through song selection and stage presence.

5. Alan Jackson

Jackson is one of country music’s more understated superstars, boasting thirty-six number ones in an illustrious career that began in Newnan, Georgia and began in Nashville by working odd jobs to develop his songwriting abilities. After being discovered by producer Keith Stegall and signing with Arista Records’ country division for release of Here in the Real World album (with title track as title song), which established him as an author who can write songs that celebrate small town life, love’s ambiguous paths and musical traditions passed down from George Jones and Hank Williams among many other.

From 1991’s country-influenced A Lot About Livin’ (And a Little About Love) through 1992’s twangy smash “Chattahoochee,” Jackson has garnered fans by crafting albums of depth and craftsmanship. Amid an increasingly diminished definition of country music, Jackson stands as an exemplar of class and artistic dignity; whether yearning and contemplative on 1995’s “Song for the Life,” or honky-tonk majestic on 1997’s “Between the Devil and Me”, Jackson always connects deeply to this classic material on an emotional level.

Country music is all about looking back while looking ahead, and few artists have done this better than Alan Jackson and George Strait. Both artists have helped define modern country by pushing the limits of what constitutes traditional country, while remaining family friendly and accessible to all. Morgan Wallen recently listed Alan Jackson and George Strait among his top country influences; check out his full list here; it is quite impressive!