Despite misconceptions, country music isn’t only heard and appreciated in the South. There are country influences in almost all music genres and plenty of talented singers give credit to country music as having an important role in their development as artists.
And, even though for the past few decades country music has decreased in popularity, it has been brought to the mainstream attention once more thanks to appreciated singers and songwriters such as Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift. So I figured it would be interesting to tell you a little bit more about my top choices of country music singers.
You can’t say country music without referring to one of the most influential people of the 20th century. Johnny Cash was a vocalist, guitarist, and American songwriter known for his trademark low voice.
He received numerous awards as a recognition to his influence in country music, with some of his most known songs being “I Walk The Line”, “That Old Wheel”, “Cocaine Blues”, and “Man In Black”. He gained the nickname “The Man in Black” because he always wore black and dark-colored clothes.
The biographical movie about the life of Johnny Cash was released in 2005, two years after the singer’s death. “Walk The Line”, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, was nominated for five Oscars and three Golden Globes. It won one Oscar and all three Golden Globes nominalizations.
Along with Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton remains the most influential figure in modern country music. She is a singer, a songwriter, a record producer, an actress, author, musician, and business executive. She was heavily influenced by gospel music and plenty of her earlier performances took place in churches.
Throughout her career, Dolly released no fewer than 43 albums, with one of the most popular being “Jolene”, released in 1974. “Jolene” remains one of Parton’s most famous songs and was covered by dozens of artists over the years. She is also the godmother of famous singer and actress Miley Cyrus.
Formed in Nashville in 2006, Lady Antebellum remains one of the today’s most renowned country music bands. Their unique sound combined with great vocals and a touch of sensitivity turned the band into a hit.
The band is one of the few to have exported their success over the American border, with their most known song, “Need You Now” reaching no. 2 in Billboard’s Hot 100 Tracks. The single was certified platinum and, soon, Lady Antebellum released an entire new album and performed on some of the most popular American TV shows and sports events.
Bonus: The Death South
The Death South is, in my opinion, one of the coolest and freshest country bands in the past few years. The Canadian music ensemble identifies with different music genres, from folk-bluegrass to country, indie, and more. The band also had a banjo player who left in 2015.
Nevertheless, their music is both serious and funny at the same time and their number one hit, “In Hell, I’ll Be in Good Company” became a YouTube sensation thanks to the great video.