The Devils' Advocate

20 Country Music Artists You Need to Listen to Now

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1. Thomas Rhett

He was Born in Valdosta, Georgia. He is married to Laura Atkins, whom he has known since first grade. His father is country artist Rhett Akins. He has released three studio albums with Big Machine Records. In addition to much of his own material, Rhett has written singles for Jason Aldean, Lee Brice, Florida Georgia Line, LoCash and Michael Ray. In junior high he learned to play the drums and would go onstage with his father and play. Other than music he had no other career choice in mind, he just went to college because everyone else was.

2. Sam Hunt

He was born in Cedartown, Georgia. His debut studio album, Montevallo, broke several chart records with five singles spawned from the record, including three consecutive Hot Country Songs chart and four Country Airplay chart number ones.

3. Carrie Underwood

She is the fourth winner of American Idol. Her debut album, Some Hearts, was released in 2005. It became the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history, the fastest-selling debut country album in Nielsen SoundScan history and the best-selling country album of the last 14 years. Underwood won three Grammy Awards for the album, including Best New Artist.

4. Luke Bryan

He was born in Leesburg, Georgia. Bryan was the recipient of the Academy of Country Music Awards and Country Music Association Awards “Entertainer of the Year” award. Luke Bryan has sold over 7 million albums and 27 million singles worldwide. He is also a current judge on American idol.  

5. Kelsea Ballerini

She was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. She wrote her very first song at 12 years old and at the age of 19 she was signed to Black River Entertainment. One of her songs from her first album,”Peter Pan“, was released to country radio on March 21, 2016. It reached number one on both the Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts in September, making Ballerini the first solo female country music artist to top both country music charts simultaneously.This achievement also made her the first solo female to send her first three singles to number one since Wynonna Judd accomplished the same feat in 1992.

6. Old Dominion

Their name was chosen because it is a nickname for the state of Virginia, and four members of the group have links to Virginia. Old Dominion is an American five-member country music band formed in Nashville, Tennessee.

7. Florida Georgia Line

Originally they were a cover band but in December 2011, they signed to the Big Loud Mountain label.Their 2012 debut single “Cruise“, which remains their most popular song, broke two major sales records, it was downloaded over seven million times, making it the first country song ever to receive the Diamond certification, and it became the best-selling digital country song of all time, with 24 weeks at number one.

8. Brett Young

He started singing in the late 1990s when he stepped in to replace an absent leader of the band during a Christian worship meeting at high school. He was inspired by Gavin DeGraw to write and produce music. He released and independent EP in 2007. After eight years based in Los Angeles, Young moved to Nashville, where he was soon signed by the Big Machine Label Group in August 2015. 

9. Kane Brown

He released his first full-length album, the self-titled Kane Brown on December 2, 2016. The single “What Ifs” was released from this album, and in October 2017, Brown became the first artist to have simultaneous number ones on all five main country charts. Kane grew up listening to country music, but became interested in R&B music in middle school. However, after singing Chris Young‘s “Gettin’ You Home” in his 11th grade talent show, and after winning the contest he began to perform country music.

10. Blake Shelton

He has been a judge on the voice since the beginning of the show. In 2001, he made his debut with the single “Austin“. The lead-off single from his self-titled debut album, “Austin” spent five weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

11.Reba McEntire

While a sophomore in college, she performed the National Anthem at the National Rodeo in Oklahoma City and caught the attention of country artist Red Steagall who brought her to Nashville, Tennessee. She signed a contract with Mercury Records a year later in 1975. She has since released 29 studio albums, acquired 40 number one singles, 16 number one albums, and 28 albums have been certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America. She has sometimes been referred to as “The Queen of Country” and she is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 80 million records worldwide.

12. Maren Morris

She was born in Arlington, Texas. Her music recording career started in 2005. In response to the 2017 Las Vegas Strip shooting, Morris released Dear Hate, a song she had written and recorded with Vince Gill, with all proceeds from the track going to the Music City Cares Fund.

13. Rascal Flatts

From 2000 to 2010, they recorded for Disney Music Group‘s Lyric Street Records. After Lyric Street closed in 2010, they moved to Big Machine Records. Their studio albums have accounted for more than 25 singles, of which 14 have reached No. 1 on Billboard Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay. Their longest-lasting No. 1 single, a cover of Marcus Hummon‘s “Bless the Broken Road“, spent five weeks in that position in 2005.

14. Chris Lane

He and his twin brother grew up playing baseball and were going to play in college but due to all the surgeries he had he had to stop playing, so he started playing the guitar. In 2007, Lane and his brother auditioned for the seventh season of American Idol but did not make it to Hollywood. It wasn’t until 2008 when Chris met Seth England of Big Loud Mountain management which launched Chris’s career as an up-and-coming country music artist

15. Dustin Lynch

He started playing the guitar at either 8 or 9 years old but later abandoned it, and picked it up a again at the age of 15. He was first signed to Valory Music Group, and when one of its executives left to join Broken Bow Records, Lynch followed and signed with Broken Bow Records in late 2011.

16. Kenny Chesney

He has recorded 20 albums, 14 of which have been certified Gold or higher by the RIAA. He has also produced more than 40 top 10 singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, 29 of which have reached number one on the charts. He co-directed and produced a film for ESPN entitled The Boys of Fall. He also received six Academy of Country Music awards.  

17. Chris Young

After he was the winner of a singing competition, Nashville Star, which aired on USA Network he signed to RCA Nashville Records. Young gained one of the crowning achievements in country music: becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry. On September 8, 2014, He donated $25,000 of his own money, along with $5,000 from his fan club, to the Nashville School of Arts and in late August 2017 he created a fundraising site for Houston to help with the massive flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

18. Little Big Town

Founded in 1998, the group has comprised the same four members since its founding: Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook, and Phillip Sweet. Their musical style relies heavily on four-part vocal harmonies, with all four members alternating as lead vocalists. Their second album, The Road to Here, was released that year, and received a platinum certification from the RIAA. Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook got married on May 31, 2006.

19. Keith Urban

In 1991, he released a self-titled debut album and charted four singles in Australia before moving to the United States the following year. He found work as a session guitarist before starting a band known as The Ranch, which recorded one studio album on Capitol Nashville and charted two singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Still signed to Capitol, Urban made his solo American debut in 1999. His album Golden Road’s fourth single, “You’ll Think of Me“, which featured his nephew and Australian country artist Rory Gilliatte, earned him his first Grammy Award.

20. Scotty McCreery

He was the season 10 winner on American Idol. His debut studio album, Clear as Day, was released in October 2011 and was certified platinum in the United States. In 2012 he released a Christmas album that was certified gold. He also became the only country music artist in Country Aircheck/Mediabase history to chart a song without the backing of a record label in 2018.

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20 Country Music Artists You Need to Listen to Now