10 Best Female Country Music Artists
The 10 best female country music artists show that the country genre isn’t just a boys’ club. Capable of massive album sales and award-winning songwriting, female country music artists have always been a driving musical force helping to maintain the signature Nashville sound. The best female artists have become icons not only within country music, but popular culture as well.
- Patsy Cline In the years since her premature death in a 1963 plane crash, Cline has taken on a mythical status among music fans. One of the first female country music artists to enjoy crossover success on the pop charts, Cline had several hits in her short life, including the country music standards “I Fall To Pieces,” “Walkin’ After Midnight” and “Crazy.”
- Loretta Lynn Born the child of a poor Kentucky coal miner, Lynn defied the odds by becoming one of the most popular female country music artists of the ’60s and ’70s. Country music fans could identify with her honest lyrics in songs like “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.” Lynn’s best-selling autobiography was immortalized in “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” an award-winning 1980 film.
- Dolly Parton Performing songs on the radio by the age of nine, Parton has been in the country music business for over half a century. She’s enjoyed success throughout that span with iconic country songs like “I Will Always Love You,” “Heartbreaker” and “9 to 5.” Known for her distinguished singing voice and ample physical assets, Parton is often referred to as the Queen of Country Music.
- Alison Krauss Perhaps the least well-known of the ten best female country music artists, Krauss’ status in the industry is very much deserved. Mixing roots-bluegrass with country to form a signature sound all her own, Krauss’ creative songwriting quality is most evident in the Grammy-winning 2007 album “Raising Sand,” a collaborative effort with Robert Plant.
- Tanya Tucker This female country music prodigy’s first hit came at the age of 13, and she hasn’t looked back since. Tucker matured within the “outlaw country” movement of the 1970s, churning out hits and never losing her unique sense of style. Songs like “Texas (When I Die),” “Lizzie and the Rainman” and “If It Don’t Come Easy” show her talent for performing memorable country songs.
- Reba McEntire Now known more for her movie and TV appearances, this female country music artist has a number one single to her credit in each of the last four decades. McEntire has maintained a traditional country music sound throughout her long career, as evidenced in songs like “How Blue” and “Only In My Mind.”
- Tammy Wynette The inescapable “Stand By Your Man” is this female country music artist’s best-known song, but Wynette had a long career filled with other notable tunes as well. Gaining popularity with identifiable themes like heartbreak and loneliness, Wynette’s five marriages served as ample fodder for classic country music standards like “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” and “Another Lonely Song.”
- Emmylou Harris With her urgent and yearning vocal quality, this female country music artist has one of the most recognizable styles in the genre. Highly coveted as a songwriter and a backing vocalist, Harris’ work on songs like “Boulder To Birmingham” and “Mama’s Hungry Eyes” show off her ample talents.
- Shania Twain With over 41 million album sales in the U.S. to her credit, Twain is the most commercially successful of the ten best female country music artists. Her breakthrough 1997 album “Come On Over” was the best-selling country album of all time, ushering in a new era of mainstream success for the Nashville sound.
- Faith Hill Not to be outdone by contemporaries like Shania Twain, this female country music artist’s resume includes 30 million album sales, multiple Grammys and the highest-grossing country music concert tour of all time. Singles like “This Kiss” and “Breathe” helped Hill gain crossover success, making her an unstoppable force in country and pop music.