Top 10 Country Singers

I grew up listening to country music. My parents listened to Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton, among others. I preferred the rock and roll my brothers listened to. Dad had three 8 track tapes he played when we went up north--Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, and John Denver. My sister and I used to beg him, "Please put in John Denver, Dad." As a result, I received a lot of John Denver albums as Christmas gifts.

My husband and I shared an appreciation for rock and roll. Then, about three years before he died, he started listening to the newer style of country music in his garage. He loved Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, and Martina McBride as well as some of the older country music he heard on his stations. Eventually, some of it grew on me, and a couple of country songs joined some old rock songs as "our songs".

Though I wasn't a country fan, I feel qualified to submit a list of the top 10 country singers because of my history as a country music listener. In a way, this is the list of country music fans, since it was influenced by my husband and my parents.

1. Carrie Underwood, though relatively new, has one of the best female singing voices I've ever heard. Emotions and nuances weave through all her songs. She's a joy to listen to and to watch. I never get tired of hearing her sing "Before He Cheats."

2. Tim McGraw has a good voice, great presence, and wonderful songs. Besides his own hits, he provides back-up vocals for a wide assortment of singers from all genres. I could listen to "Live Like You Were Dying" over and over, and his voice blends so well with that of his wife, Faith Hill, on "Like We Never Loved at All."

3. I saw Martina McBride at the Genesee County Fair. She was so friendly, bubbly, cute, and tiny. But there's nothing tiny about her voice. Her vocals are beautiful and her words meaningful. I especially love her song "In My Daughter's Eyes."

4. Willie Nelson is homely and doesn't have the greatest voice in the world. But he can play that guitar, and he has personality and a unique style that make you want to hear certain songs sung only by him. I don't want to hear any version of "Always on My Mind" but his, and I can't even begin to imagine anyone but Wille singing "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground." Nor do I want to!

5. John Denver turned out to be much more than an acceptable replacement for Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard. His tunes were in turn haunting and catchy, and the genuine feeling came through in his voice. "Sunshine on My Shoulders", "The Eagle and the Hawk," and "Annie's Song" are some of my sentimental favorites, and I smile when I hear "Grandma's Feather Bed" and "Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio."

6. Hank Williams--Senior, not Junior--was an icon, a legend, and a role model for many country singers. No one sounds like him. No one sings like him. And no one can match the songs he sang.

7. Garth Brooks is not my choice. I probably never would have listened to him. But my husband loved his songs, and his top favorite country song was "Friends in Low Places." I can't listen to that song without smiling, remembering how my husband used to crank the radio up so the whole neighborhood could hear, then bellow the words along with Garth. For that reason alone, Garth Brooks would earn a place on my list, but he also deserves a spot by virtue of his talent and appeal.

8. I have to include Shania Twain on my list. My husband and his sons loved her because she was hot and could sing. She grew on me because she did sing beautifully and her songs have a lot of meaning. "From This Moment" became the main song at many weddings, but my personal favorite was, "You're Still the One." That became one of "our songs."

9. Here I am, running out of numbers and still wanting to mention Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, and Johnny Cash for the memories and the wonderful songs they gave me. I have to put all of them here in the same spot because I had to save the best for last.

10. My favorite country singer is one from my childhood. Roger Miller sang creative, funny, catchy and entertaining songs. At my Dad's retirement party, my sister and brothers and I put an old Roger Miller album on the stereo and stood there and sang along with it. We probably hadn't heard it in ten years, but we knew every word of every song on that whole album. Giving the world songs like that--now, that's talent.

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Comments 58 comments

t.keeley profile image

t.keeley 8 years ago from Seattle, WA

Johnny Cash is by far more influential than any other member of this genre in its history.

Carrie Underwood is easily the most overrated musician in this genre to date. She's well marketed, but she's subpar to McBride in vocal ability hands down. I'm no country fan, but carrie Underwood has destroyed what little a soft spot it had in my heart.

Brooks and Dunn trump any modern musicians in the genre simply because what they do is amazingly unconventional and progressive. They single handedly launched the line dancing craze of the 90s, which was copied by artists like Shania and others later in the decade.

But Carrie? She'll be a has-been in two years, and if she's not it's because someone managed to sell her with some other trick.

chelsea 8 years ago

i think that.......................................LISTEN TO BETTER COUNTRY NOT THE ANCIENT COUNTRY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

chelsea 8 years ago

i think that.......................................LISTEN TO BETTER COUNTRY NOT THE ANCIENT COUNTRY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

chelsea 8 years ago

i think that.......................................LISTEN TO BETTER COUNTRY NOT THE ANCIENT COUNTRY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JALEN 7 years ago
















Adam B 7 years ago

Wow, Jalen really likes Carrie Underwood. You know, I am not a big country fan, and I pretty much only listen to it because my wife likes it, but I think Gretchen Wilson has a great voice. I heard her do "Crazy" and "Barracuda" by Heart and she was fantastic.

If you are into rock n roll, I created a list of the top ten front-men of all time

not saying 7 years ago

Carrie Underwood really rocks!! I am her biggest fan ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Zac 7 years ago

It does not justify to keep country and kenny chesney apart. He sure does rock!

hans 7 years ago

What about Rascal Flatts? Its a mix of country pop and rock at the same time. And their songs are really good, bless the broken road and skin(sarabeth) are my favorites

chris 7 years ago

george jones, merle haggard, george strait, alan jackson, garth brooks

catwhitehead profile image

catwhitehead 7 years ago Author

Chris, my Dad would be right with you there. Merle Haggard was one of the three eight tracks he owned and played when we drove up north in the 1974 Monte Carlo.

Krystal Paige profile image

Krystal Paige 7 years ago from Midwest, America

I like Gretchen Wilson because she sang songs by Heart and Alison Krauss is real good. But Shania is pretty good. Nice Hub! :-)

TotalReviewGuy profile image

TotalReviewGuy 7 years ago from Your Computer

My favorite country band is The Eagles. Yep, I said it.

Chuck F. 7 years ago

Carrie Morningwood is not country. All of "todays country" is a joke. Its all watered down pop passed off as country. They suck, their song writing is non-existence and none could make it anywhere else so they landed in "country" music. FM radio and CMT are to blame. Corporate Nashville passes up true talent for bands that look good on video so they can mass market them regardless of talent. True talent is coming out of the Texas scene. Bands such as Randy Rogers Band, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Aaron Watson, Wade Bowen, Stoney Larue and many, many more are writing songs that have meaning and have more talent musically than Nashville stars could only hope to get. Bands with more of an edge such as Cross Canadian Ragweed, Bleu Edmondson, Reckless Kelly and Back Porch Mary rock. Carrie Underwood will be pushed aside as soon as the next clone surfaces in some TV karaoke contest.

Aimz 7 years ago

Where's Dolly Parton on your list?

You've got to include her.


musicman 7 years ago

Alison krauss is by far the greatest country singer out there.

catwhitehead 7 years ago

Musicman, you're right. Alison Krauss has a beautiful voice and loads of talent. I don't know how I missed her, I have 3 of her CDs.

catwhitehead profile image

catwhitehead 7 years ago Author

Aimz, I did mention Dolly Parton as one of the artists I grew up listening to. I love Dolly Parton, and I'd rather hear her sing "I Will Always Love You" than to listen to Whitney Houston's version any day. Maybe I should do a top 20 list. . .?

P Morgan profile image

P Morgan 7 years ago

Johnny Cash fan, too. And hey, thought I was the only Kenny Chesney fan on HUbs :)

Montana Hotty 7 years ago

The best

1 Marty Robbins

2 Jim Reeves

3 Buck Owens

Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

I like Johnny Cash too and I agree with Willie Nelson's Always on My Mind - probably one of my favorite songs ever. But where is George Strait? Saw him in concert once - all he had to do was stand there, sing and play his guitar. No special effects, just him and it was awesome!

Karee 7 years ago

Taylor Swift -


very talented.

hanna 7 years ago

carrie underwood has it all, great control and range in her sweet voice. she is a inspitation to the younger country fans, and that is what we need. we do not need clevage, sexy bedroom scenes.

AdamCairn profile image

AdamCairn 7 years ago from UK

I've been getting into country music a little bit recently so thanks for sharing this. The best I've heard is Southern Culture on the Skids I think. A bit Rockabilly too I suppose.

Trish 7 years ago

Carrie Underwood is by far the greatest vocalist in country music today so great analysis. She has amazing power and a tremendous range that can top off with the most amazing falsettos. She has also the rare singer that actually sounds better live which makes somebody's point about her being marketed ridiculous. She is selling millions of albums because of pure talent. She won American Idol over hundreds of thousand of people singing from a genre in country that doesn't get respect on Idol!

Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

Great Hub! I like & enjoy everyone mentioned except Garth Brooks. He did have a few before the huge fame that I liked in my teenage days. However, the rest of them, I still listen to till this day!

samboiam profile image

samboiam 6 years ago from Texas

Merle Haggard is my all time favorite country singer. My all time favorite country song though is "He Stopped Loving Her Today" by George Jones.

Hank 6 years ago

Wheres Ernest Tubb, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Snow, Tex Ritter, Bob Wills, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, and the greatest female Country singer of all time... Patsy Cline?

ihearorthewhale 6 years ago

These guys are good too

Michelle Liao 6 years ago

Wheres Dolly and Reba McEntire ? >:O

They've got to be included

Merrrry 6 years ago

Johnny cash Willie Nelson hank Williams sr and jr waylon Jennings Kris kostoferson idiots for not including them

tristian 6 years ago

the best:

Terri Clark, Rhett Akins, Eric Heatherly, Chris Cagle, Michael Peterson, David Ball, The Wilkinsons, Brad Paisley, David Kersh, Tracy Lawrence, Rick Trevino, Clay Walker, Trent Summar & the New Row Mob, Tracy Byrd, Tammy Rogers, Chely Wright, Jessica Andrews, George Strait, Chris LeDoux, Mindy McCready, Lila McCann, Gary Allan, James Bonamy, Clint Black, dixie chicks/courtyard hounds

Ipeoney profile image

Ipeoney 6 years ago from USA

I heard Carrie Underwood's voice when she was younger and inexperience. And she has a very good pitch and a beautiful voice

KristenGrace profile image

KristenGrace 6 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

Interesting choices. Nice variety.

ayla 6 years ago

lol this whole conversation started 2 years ago....

Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 6 years ago from Nashville, TN

Great hub and great list....

To t.keeley - I couldn't disagree more. McBride is great. Carrie is great. There's really no reason to say who's better, as they are different. Just because she was on American Idol doesn't mean she's not great. And I guarantee she'll be a star 'til she's an old lady if she keeps making records.

rick123 6 years ago

Jason Aldean has em all beat. HICKTOWN

lauren 6 years ago

i think carrie underwood is the most infunclel country singer

Dan 5 years ago

Well my favorite is Johnny Cash, I think Keith Whitley had a wonderful career that was take away to early. I often am suprised that Conway Twitty is left most of these lists. The man had 55 no.1 hits, thats kinda hard not to put that man in the top 10.

catwhitehead profile image

catwhitehead 5 years ago Author

Dan, I like Johnny Cash. I didn't include Conway Twitty even though he was one of my Dad's favorites, or perhaps because he was one of my Dad's favorites, for the same reason I didn't include Merle Haggard--I had to listen to them too much as a kid.

not saying  5 years ago

here are my top country singers if you disagree well too bad that's just life for ya

1.) carrie underwood ( luv her like crazy )

2.) taylor swift

3.) rascal flatts

4.) miranda lambert

5.) tim mcgraw

well that's all


Georgia 5 years ago

To everyone that wasted out precious reading time with their inappropriate rubbish about Carrie Underwood,

You may not like Carrie Underwood (we all know you're just jealous) but if someone's chosen her for their top 10 country artists then it's none of your business to comment and it's especially not your place to flaunt your loud mouthed opinion. Did we ask for a rant about how much you hate her? No, I don't believe we did, so when you become a country superstar and earn thousands upon millions of dollars and get married to a famous hockey player then maybe, just maybe you might have earned the right to pass judgement on a diamond like Carrie Underwood, but until then please keep your insignificant little opinions to yourselves.

Thank you for your time.

Apollo3 5 years ago

Here is my list;

1)Taylor Swift

2)Tim Mcgraw

3)Carrie Underwood

tim 5 years ago

what about steve earl you fools?

Nadin 5 years ago

My number one is Hank Williams!

"There was a time when I believed that you belonged to me

But now I know your heart is shackled to a memory..." ("Cold, Cold Heart"). These words make me cry each time when I listen to this song.

Amanda Boyd 5 years ago

1.Taylor Swift

2.Taylor Swift

3.Taylor Swift

4.Taylor Swift

5.Taylor Swift

6.Taylor Swift

7.Taylor Swift

8.Taylor Swift

9.Taylor Swift

10.Taylor Swift

dolfen 5 years ago

I agree that Carrie Underwood has the best voice in country music today. Her range is unbelievable and the emotion she evokes through her vocal nuances is unreal. As far as her endurance - I have the feeling that she'll be around for a long, long time as she continues to grow and mature. Not only that, she just may branch out into more things as did Reba. Carrie invokes feelings of wholesomeness and well-being in all those fortunate to see her perform. She's an incredible gift to us all.

david 5 years ago

According to Georgia, I have to have held office to criticize a congressman, played professional football to criticize a sports star, or starred in a major film to declare that I don't like a movie or a movie star. And, of course, if I am not a country super star, I should keep my stupid opinions to myself when it comes to Carrie, Taylor, etc. Thanks Georgia. I am relieved to know that I don't have to have an opinion.

TEXANbornNraised 5 years ago

Ummm.. I'm that both George Strait and Alan Jackson HAVE to be in the top five...if this was a your favorite country singers, that's one thing. However, you claim this list to be of the top 10 country singers in history. Not only were Alan Jackson and George Strait left out, but countless other very influential artist as well. while Carrie Underwood and most the others mentioned are great, they are far from surpassing George Strait and Alan Jackson. You're entitled to your own opinion, but if you are going to include these artist as listed, you might want to call the list of your top ten favorite country singers.

Ilovecountrymusic 5 years ago

Where's Taylor swift and Jason aldean

sweet101 4 years ago

were on earth is taylor swift and why am i commenting on this

Jess123 4 years ago

If I had to vote:

My choices on best country sigers would be:

1.Taylor Swift

Also, I do not know if he is country music, but I lov Justin Bieber............................................................................................................................................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSttttttttttttttttttttttIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIInnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

Ray 4 years ago

How anyone could ever put Taylor Swift in the top 80,000 I'll never understand she is the worst of the worst ever. Best: Jimmy Snow (Hank's son), George Jones, Randy Travis, Connie Smith, Skeeter Davis, Jimmy Davis, Box Car Willie, Conway Twitty Doc and Chickie Williams, Stattlers, Pie Plant Pete, Moon Mulican, Elvis, And the Chuck Wagon Gang

demo man 4 years ago

johnny cash.

John 4 years ago

George Strait and George Jones are badasses along with merle haggard, keith whitley, johnny cash, hank williams, ray price, willie nelson, waylon jennings, gene watson and anybody who can break a heart and sing those old tear jerking songs that country music was based on.

Stephen 4 years ago

Carrie Underwood is the most overrated country singers I want more Garth, McGraw, Trace Adkins, Rodney Atkins, Rascal Flatts is terrible in real life they have good songs but they can't really sing at all live. Idk about you but I love Jake Owen and billy Currington (Idk how to spell his name) but my all time favorite is Toby Keith hands down

Km 4 years ago

Taylor swift!

bug 3 years ago

george jones for ever the best

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