Country singers can represent many different styles within the same genre. Country music has endured many changes during its existence, and likewise each of these singers embodies a distinctive style and vocal characterization.
- Tim McGraw This singer burst into the country music mainstream with his second album, 1994’s “Not a Moment Too Soon.” Since then, he’s been cranking out toe-tapping hits like “I Like It, I Love It” and “Everywhere.” Additionally, McGraw has had major success collaborating with his wife, fellow country singer Faith Hill.
- Toby Keith The 1993 debut single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” brought immediate success to this country singer, and he hasn’t slowed down since. Keith scored a brand new audience with his 2002 crossover single “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (Angry American),” a patriotic anthem written in the wake of the World Trade Center attack.
- John Denver Few country singers have managed to succeed on the pop charts quite like Denver. His 1971 album “Poems, Prayers and Promises” gave him his first taste of mainstream success. Consequent singles like “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and “Annie’s Song” have endeared Denver’s music to millions, forever cementing his place as a legendary country singer.
- Vince Gill This country singer found moderate success during the mid-1980s, but it wasn’t until his 1989 album “When I Call Your Name” that he really hit his stride. Gill’s musical work during the 1990s was some of his best, helping him to net a staggering eighteen career CMA Awards.
- Emmylou Harris One of the most revered female country singers of all time, Harris initially honed her sound touring and performing with Gram Parsons. After she released her solo debut in 1975, it didn’t take her long to earn her first Grammy Award the next year. Since then, she’s collaborated with a host of musicians, forever proving her versatility.
- Kenny Rogers By the time most country music fans came to know him in the late 1970s, Rogers was already an industry veteran. His first hit, “Lucille,” came in 1977 and opened the floodgates for a string of chart-toppers. As a singer, Rogers is likely best known for his song “The Gambler,” part of a streak of five straight number-one country singles.
- Dwight Yoakam A product of honky-tonk and rock music, this country singer is a marriage of musical style. His big commercial breakthrough came in 1993 with the album “This Time.” One of his singles from that album, “Ain’t Lonely Yet,” won a Grammy. Since then, Yoakam has made the leap to movies, appearing in “Sling Blade” and “Panic Room.”
- Hank Williams, Jr. Affectionately known as “Bocephus,” this country singer continued his late father’s musical legacy, adding his own flair and style. Williams, Jr. found fame early, releasing his first hit single at the age of 14. He has remained relevant in country music since then, even winning the CMA’s entertainer trophy in 1987 and 1988.
- Waylon Jennings This country singer initially made a name for himself in the late 1960s. Jennings won stardom during that time with a string of hits, culminating with a Grammy Award in 1969. He made history with his work on the 1976 album “Wanted! The Outlaws,” which was the first country album to be certified platinum.
- Patsy Cline A true legend in country music, Cline set the standard for all the female singers who would follow in her footsteps. Classic singles like “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy” have become country standards. It’s difficult to believe Cline achieved all of this before her premature death in a plane crash at age 30.
Posted on: Apr. 22, 2011