Your Favorite Country Singers: Then And Now

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Carrie Underwood

Underwood went from small town Oklahoma girl and winner of American Idol‘s season four to a sophisticated superstar. Underwood has a fair share of achievements under her belt having sold more than 65 million records worldwide and won many awards including 7 Grammy Awards, 11 American Music Awards, and 17 Billboard Music Awards. In fact, Billboard has referred to Underwood as Country Music’s reigning Queen, but hey, if the shoe fits! In this case, it’s a cowboy boot for the stunning underwood.

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Rascal Flatts

The members of Rascal Flatts have come a long way since the country trio formed their band in Columbus, Ohio in 1999. Not only have they dramatically upgraded their lifestyles and wardrobe, but they have managed to climb to the top of country charts throughout the nation. The band, which is composed of Gary LeVox, his second cousin Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney, made their debut in 2000 with a three-song demo that got the band signed. Since then they have been touring the country and releasing new music including their most recent hit I Like The Sound Of That, which is one of our personal faves!

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Keith Urban

Although times have changed, Urban’s baby blues, frosted tips and amazing voice have not, and we’re very appreciative for that. While Urban portrays an all-American country musician image, he was actually born in New Zealand.  Since moving to America and making it big on the country scene, Urban has served as a coach on the Australian version of The Voice and as a judge on American Idol.  In 2016, Urban embarked on his Rhythm and Roots tour and released the single Blue Aint Your Color, which is the perfect ballad to power through any recently broken heart.

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LeAnn Rimes

If there’s one thing that has stayed the same about Rimes over the years, it’s that she has always her hands full of victory. Whether it was taking home two Grammys at the age of 14 in 1997 or charting the tops with her hit single Can’t Fight The Moonlight, Rimes’s talent and beauty has only improved over the years. Rimes made her way into country music in 1996 with her debut album, Blue, which reached No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart and went certified multi-platinum in sales. In her spare time, Rimes like to write and has published a total of four books, two children’s books, and two novels.

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Brad Paisley

Starting in 1999 with his debut album, Who Needs Pictures, Paisley began to take the world of country music by storm and has since released 10 studio albums – all of which have gone gold or higher. In 2001, Paisley earned one of Country music’s crowning achievements, becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Paisley also wrote songs for Pixar’s Cars franchise including Behind the Clouds, Find Yourself, and Collision of Worlds. Recently, Paisley revealed via Twitter that the title of his new album he plans to release in April 2017 would be Love and War, and will feature several collaborations with iconic artists, including Timbaland and Mick Jagger.

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The Dixie Chicks

While our fondest memories of the Dixie Chicks in the early 90’s may not have been their questionable red carpet fashion choices, we’re glad they’ve made it this far. The ultimate girl band is composed of its founding members, who are sisters, Emily Erwin Robison and Martie Erwin Maguire along with lead singer Natalie Maines. Since the group formed in 1989 in Dallas, Texas, they went from busking and touring the bluegrass festival circuits to selling out arenas and world tours. The Dixie Chicks achieved commercial success in 1998 with their hit songs There’s Your Trouble and Wide Open Spaces.

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Reba McEntire

With that fiery red hair, those cool blue eyes and spunky personality, Reba has become not only a country music fan favorite but also a legendary TV personality. The singer, songwriter, actress and record producer began her career in the music industry in 1975 after she signed to Mercury Records. It was only a matter of time until McEntire realized her full potential and set her sights on the small screen earning her own television sitcom, Reba which ran successfully for six years from 2001 until 2007. Nowadays you can catch McEntire on America’s Got Talent as a guest judge, or getting ready for her next big project playing the leading role of Ruby Adair in the new ABC show Bluegrass Blood Red.

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Martina McBride

Known for her incredible singing range, it’s no wonder why McBride is referred to as the Celine Dion of country music. In 1991, McBride was signed to RCA Records and made her debut the following year with her single, The Time Has Come.  The 14-time Grammy Award nominee not only has a huge voice but a big heart to match. Working with a variety of charities, McBride has served as a spokeswoman for the National Network to End Domestic Violence as well as the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

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Shania Twain

Thank you Shania Twain for making us all feel like a woman since 1997. The Canadian Queen of country pop has sold over 85 million records, making her the best-selling female artist in the history of country music and one of the best-selling artists of all time. It wasn’t until Twain released her second album, The Woman in Me (1995), that she achieved widespread success selling over 20 million copies worldwide.  If you haven’t had enough Shania, then there is a treat in store as she’ll be dropping her new album titled Triumphant in May 2017. She’s also set to perform at the 2017 Stagecoach Festival, on April 29.

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Luke Bryan

While Bryan’s fashion sense may not have always been on point, his voice is precisely why he has made our list. If you look past Bryan’s black pleather suit jacket, you will find a heavenly voice with songwriting abilities to match. Bryan first landed on the country music scene as a songwriter for some of your favorite artists until he got on the mic and started making hits of his own. To date, Bryan has sold over 7 million albums and 27 million singles worldwide and continues to do so. As of 2017, Bryan performed the National Anthem at Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX and is working on the music competition show The Voice as a guest judge.

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Jake Owen

Born Joshua Ryan, Jake Owen signed to RCA Nashville in 2006 and released his debut studio album Starting with Me that same year. It wasn’t until September 2011 that Owen achieved his first number one hit on the country charts with the title track to his third studio album Barefoot Blue Jean Night. Owen kept churning out the hit records with his 2013 album Days of Gold and American Love, which he produced in 2016. After divorcing his model wife of three years, Lacey Buchanan, in August 2015, Owen is officially single and back on the market!

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Darius Rucker

This country crooner first got famous as the lead singer of the band Hootie & the Blowfish, which he founded in 1986 with his friends Mark Bryan, Dean Felber, and Jim “Soni” Sonefeld at the University of South Carolina. In 2008, Rucker began to pursue his solo career and signed to Capitol Nashville, releasing the album Learn to Live that same year. The album’s first single, Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It, made Rucker the first black artist to reach the number one spot on the Hot Country Songs charts since Charley Pride in 1983. On March 11, 2017, the Wagon Wheel singer returned to Europe as part of the C2C: Country to Country festival where he previewed the song First Time from his upcoming album.

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Lee Ann Womack

Let’s be real, Womack was always a stunner, but she has aged very well as she looks at her absolute best these days. Womack’s single I Hope You Dance was more pop than country but proved to be a major hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Country Chart and becoming her signature song. It wasn’t until 2005, when she released There’s More Where That Came From, that Womack returned to her traditional country music roots. As of 2016, Womack has released a total of six studio albums and has sold over an impressive 6 million albums worldwide. Lee Ann Womack is expected to release a brand new album in 2017 titled The Lonely, the Lonesome and the Gone.

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Toby Keith

Keith traded in his jean jacket for a suit jacket as he rose up through the country music ranks becoming one of the most successful country artists ever. Born in Clinton, Oklahoma, Keith released his debut single, Should’ve Been a Cowboy, in 1993 and it quickly reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. A man of many talents, Keith tried his hand at business opening up Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which now has locations all over the country. The singer also established a clothing line called, TK Steelman and in 2011 introduced a new drink called Wild Shot. Keith’s music career and his various other lucrative business ventures have made him one of the wealthiest celebrities in the United States and is referred to as “Country Music’s $500 million man.”

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Josh Turner

Turner is one county artist who truely has the voice of a God, and we’re wondering if the fact that he’s a devout Christian has anything to do with it. Turner has said, “I don’t believe God wants me to be a gospel singer, he just wants me to be a Christian singer. That’s who I am, a Christian.” After signing to MCA Nashville Records in 2003, Turner released his first studio album titled Long Black Train. Turner’s second album, Your Man, which he released in 2006, scored him his first two number-one hits for the songs Your Man and Would You Go with Me. Most recently, Tuner graced the world with his sixth and last album titled Deep South, which he released on March 10th, 2017.

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Vince Gill

Gill may have risen to fame as the frontman of the country rock band Pure Prairie League in the 1970’s, but from 1983 his talents as a solo artist have placed him in high demand as a guest vocalist over the years. Having recorded over 20 studio albums and sold more than 26 million albums, it’s only fitting that Gill has been honored by the Country Music Association with a whopping 18 CMA Awards! As of 2017, Gill has won 21 Grammy Awards, which is more than any other male country artist.

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Dolly Parton

While plenty has changed over the years, this daughter of a tobacco farmer still has one of the sweetest smiles in Nashville. At the time of releasing her debut album Hello, I’m Dolly in 1965, Parton hadn’t starting sporting the elaborate wigs she proudly wears today, but her hair was still 10 feet tall and probably bulletproof. Asides from her contributions to music, television and film, Parton has also made the world a better place with her philanthropy work. In 2016, Parton was one of many country music artists who participated in a telethon to raise money for victims of the Great Smoky Mountains wildfires.

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Eric Church

Church has certainly switched up his style since signing to Capitol Nashville in 2005 and making it big. The Night Train singer has released a total of five studio albums since putting out his debut album Sinners Like Me in 2006. If you were wondering why Church has on his signature aviator sunglasses most of the time he’s on stage, it’s because he wears contact lenses which tend to dry out from the stage lights. If you want to catch the singer live, there’s still time as he’ll embark on his Holdin’ My Own Tour in 2017. While an opener date hasn’t been announced, we’re waiting patiently for it.

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Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert was just a simple 19-year-old Texas girl looking to break into the music business when she finished in third place during the 2003 season of Nashville Star. While she’s still that humble girl from the lone star state at heart, she’s grown into a confident and talented woman with a mantel full of accolades and honors. Despite her public divorce from fellow country singer Balke Shelton, Lambert continues to separate herself from her peers by wearing outfits that would force anyone to do a double-take.

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Hank Williams Jr.

As the son of legendary country music singer Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr. knew he had quite big shoes to fill, and he did just that! While Williams Jr. was trying to find his own voice and place within the country music industry, it was interrupted by a mountain climbing accident in1975 that nearly killed him. After the accident, Williams Jr. moved forward with his music and enjoyed much success in the 1980s, gaining celebrity both inside and outside the country music industry.  The country singer most recently released an album in 2016 titled It’s About Time.

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Blake Shelton

We’d like to take a minute to cross reference this pic of baby rockstar Blake Shelton to 2016 Blake Shelton. We’re glad he lost the mullet and those glasses but overjoyed to see he still has his contagious smile, baby blues, amazing hair, and powerful voice. Shelton’s physical appearance isn’t the only thing that has changed over the years. Asides from selling millions of records and selling out concerts and torus, Shelton, unfortunately, split from his wife Miranda Lambert in July of 2015. While the whole country music world was devastated, it was all for the best. He’s now happily engaged to No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani.

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Sara Evans

After moving from her home town of Boonville, Missouri to Nashville, Tennessee, to become a country music artist in 1991, it was no time before Evans was signed to RCA Nashville. After the singer had parted ways with her longtime label Sony Music Nashville in August, 2016, she signed a new recording contract with Concord Music Group. Evans’s departure from Sony gave her time to focus on other aspects of her life, like her marriage to radio host Jay Barker, their blended family of seven children, and her other dreams that she hadn’t pursued while working tirelessly on her music. Evans has also dabbled in TV, including an appearance on the season finale of USA Network’s Chrisley Knows Best, where she performed Infinite Love, a duet with Todd Chrisley in 2016.

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Trace Adkins

We all know how the saying goes, if it’s not broken don’t fix it. This is probably why, throughout the years, Adkins has switched up and upgraded his look tremendously but still kept his trusty stiff-brimmed cowboy hat. Since signing to Capitol Records Nashville and starting his career, Adkins made his debut in 1995 with the album Dreaming Out Loud. Since then Adkins has released 10 more studio albums and has one more in the works coming out in 2017 called  Something’s Going On.

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Billy Ray Cirus

Billy Ray Cyrus, is that you? Miley’s dad was seen rocking this bold new look at the 2016 CMT awards and, of course, he arrived with his more famous daughter Miley on his arm. Cyrus wasn’t always this sleek or chic of a dresser as you can see by referencing the photo on the left. Whether your a fan of his older hits like Achy Breaky Heart, or his newer singles like Thin Line and Hope Is Just Ahead, there’s a Cyrus song that everyone can enjoy. On top of singing and songwriting, Cyrus has also been busy on the big and small screens scoring roles in films like Flying By and Like a Country Song and TV shows including Hannah Montana and 90210.

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Gary Allan

After signing to Decca Records in 1996, Allan made his big country music debut with the release of his first gold-certified studio album titled Used Heart for Sale. The album’s leading single, Her Man, which was released in 1996, thrust Allan into the limelight. Since then Allan has released 10 albums, with the last one in March of 2015 being famous for its lead single Hangover Tonight. Critics have described Allan’s unique voice as “raspy and unpolished” and his music as “elegant, often deadpan songs [that] tend toward manly understatement.”

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Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Lee Musgraves released an impressive three albums even before appearing on the fifth season of Nashville Star in 2007, where she ranked seventh place. Five years later Musgraves signed her first major record deal with Mercury Nashville Records. In the conservative country music genre, Musgrave sets herself apart with her controversial lyrics about topics such as homosexuality acceptance, recreational drug use, and questioning religious sentiment. In an interview,  Musgraves said, “The things I’m singing about are not controversial to me, I talk about things that have made an impression on me that a lot of people everywhere are going through.” The recently engaged Musgraves said ‘yes’ on December 24, 2016, to her boyfriend Ruston Kelly.

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Kris Kristofferson

He was the sound of the 70s, and now Kristofferson is back and better than ever! The country legend has no problem talking about his days of, hell-raising and landing a chopper on Johnny Cash’s lawn with John Patterson.  In his heyday, Kristofferson had written songs for so many people that by 1972 he almost single-handedly swept the Grammy songwriter awards. The now 80-year-old singer and movie star has recently spoken frankly about an uncertain future for his live tour dates. In 2016, it was reported that Kristofferson was dealing with Lyme disease, which was originally thought to have been Alzheimer’s disease.

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Loretta Lynn

A true female country music great, Lynn is the most awarded female country recording artist and the only female ACM Artist of the Decade in the 1970’s. In 1983, Lynn was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. Lynn was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2013. Still going strong, the country starlet announced the release of her new record, Full Circle, in March 2016, which features Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello.

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Jason Aldean

Thank you, Jason Aldean, for giving us country tunes to ride down a back road or serenade our lovers. The country crooner got his start performing his own songs in Atlanta nightclubs before being signed to Broken Bow Records and later let go. Thank goodness for second chances because Aldean is now signed to Capitol Records for which he has created countless hit songs including, My Kinda PartyNight Train, and Burning It Down. Aldean has kept himself busy in recent years, headlining tours around America like the Six String Circus Tour in 2016 and even received the Entertainer of the Year award for the first time in his career during the 2016 ACM Awards.

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Taylor Swift

Swift’s style has changed tremendously over the years, but she’s still the same southern country girl at heart. Having now switched over into pop, Swift’s ability to appeal to a wide array of audiences while maintaining her squeaky clean image is what has allowed her to reach this level of fame and success. While there have been many versions of Taylor over the years, our favorite was the Tears On My Guitar-Taylor, although, the show she put on in her newest video for Bad Blood had us in awe. You go, Tay Tay!

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Alan Jackson

Jackson certainly worked his way up the ranks after getting his first job in The Nashville Network’s mailroom. Jackson’s wife and high school sweetheart, Denise Jackson, connected him with Glen Campbell, who helped jumpstart his career becoming the first signed to the newly-formed Arista Nashville branch of Arista Records in 1989. Since then, Jackson has recorded 16 studio albums, three greatest hits albums, and has sold over 80 million records worldwide. On on January 8, 2015, Jackson kicked off his 25th Anniversary Keepin’ It Country Tour which began in Estero, Florida at the Germane Arena.

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Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley’s hairstyle has changed more than a Hollywood actress’, and so have the women at his side. On the photo on the left, you can see Michelle Poe of Burns and Poe on Bentley’s arm. Today, Bentley is married to Cassidy Black, with whom he has two daughters and a son. The 36-year-old, who now keeps a little more scruff on his chin, is more prone to t-shirts and leather jackets on the award show red carpets, as seen in this ‘now’ picture on the right from the Super Bowl XLIX in 2015.

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Tim McGraw

There’s no denying McGraw can be compared to a fine wine as he has only gotten better with time. We wonder if having fellow country superstar Faith Hill by his side has added to that. The two have been married since 1996 and have three daughters. Since getting his start, McGraw has released 14 albums, headlined nine tours, and has even ventured into acting. McGraw has landed roles in films such as The Blind Side alongside Sandra Bullock, Friday Night LightsTomorrowland, and Four Christmases with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn.

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Tanya Tucker

Tanya Tucker made her debut as a country singer just around her 13th birthday! In 1972, her hit song Delta Dawn became a huge hit! She was one of very few singers who was able to keep her fan base with her as she matured into an adult country singer. Throughout her career over the last 40 years, her songs stayed in the top 10 and top 40 range. In the early 2000s, Tucker decided to establish her own recording studio so she could have more control over when and how she released her music. Now she enjoys singing at smaller events as she pleases.

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Randy Travis

Randy Travis’ unique baritone voice has left a mark on country music since his debut in the 80s. Since then, Travis has had 16 number one hits on Billboard Hot Country Songs! Throughout his successful career, he has earned 6 Grammy Awards and 6 CMA Awards. Tragically, Travis suffered a major stroke in 2013. He was unable to speak, sing, or walk without a cane for three years.  Now in his late 50s, after much physical therapy and recuperation, he was able to perform “Amazing Grace” at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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Kelly Clarkson

We all met and fell in love with Kelly Clarkson after she won the first season of American Idol. Back then, her powerhouse voice took our breath away and still does to this day. She was just 20 years old when she rose to fame in 2002. Since then, she has sold over 70 million records. Clarkson is married with two children. She recently went back to her country music roots and collaborated with Martina McBride, another favorite on this list!

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Kenny Rogers

Kenny Roger’s lucrative country music career has spanned over six decades! Now at 78 years old, he is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Even though Rogers said he was going to retire in 2015, he considering recording another album. This country star can’t slow down. He will still perform in concerts through August 2017. Throughout his long career, Rogers was married five times and has five children from four of his ex-wives.

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Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris is just as beautiful today as she was when she first stepped onto the country music scene in the 1960s. Since then, she has won 13 Grammy Awards and many other awards. All the top artists like Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, and  Neil Young still seek her out to provide backup vocals, songwriting help, and collaboration. More recently, Harris has focused her attention on activism. She is very involved with the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Clint Black

Clint Black made his debut in country music back in 1989 when he released his hit album, Killin’ Time. The popular album topped the charts! After the release of the killer album, five of his songs immediately reached number one on US Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. Clint also tried the acting route and got himself a feature role in the hit film Maverick. When Black had his daughter in 2001, he decided to cut back on his music career. He said, “it ended up not being a smart career move, but it was a real smart dad move.”

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Trisha Yearwood

Trisha Yearwood’s heartbreaking and vulnerable lyrics mixed with her strong and confident voice have earned her great success in the music industry. Even if you are not a country fan, you know her song “How Do I Live,” that became her signature song. We can’t forget to mention that she is also married to another star on this list, Garth Brooks! That is what you call a ‘country power couple’! Recently, Yearwood has been very busy working on the live television musical The Passion and touring with her husband.

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Wynonna Judd

Wynonna Judd was born to be a country singing star! Judd and her mother, Naomi got famous in the early 80s when they created and released their country music duo, The Judds. The album ended up with 14 number one hits! Nowadays, Judd does not just limit herself to singing. She is a woman of many talents and is also very involved in writing and acting. We can’t forget to mention that she was also a contestant on season 16 of Dancing with the Stars.

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Alison Krauss

Alison Krauss is our favorite bluegrass country music star on this list! The incredible vocalist and musician became famous at the young age of 14 after she recorded for the first time. Since then she has won countless awards including 27 Grammy Awards and numerous accolades. Her music made it to the big screen in O’ Brother Where Art Thou and Cold Mountain. To this day, she is still busy releasing music. In February 2017, she released her newest album called Windy City.

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Patty Loveless

Patty Loveless made her debut in the country world back in the 80s with the release of her self-titled album. Loveless is known as the most popular neotraditional female country singer. She got even more popular in the 90s and earned more than 40 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. Even though Loveless does not perform on a regular basis anymore, she has continued to sing backup for Miranda Lampert on tour. She also loves to spend time with her husband and children.

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George Strait

Strait‘s music isn’t the only thing that hasn’t aged. The legendary country singer looks remarkably similar today as he did over 30 years ago. The King of Country wasn’t even 30-years-old when he began his country music career, yet he somehow took the stage with the poise of performers who’d been doing it for decades. Strait’s Texan style is simply timeless, and in the last year he’s become a first-time grandfather and released his 26th studio album! It seems that there’s plenty more music left in this fine Texas cowboy.

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Rhett Akins

In 1995, Rhett Akins burst on the Nashville scene with his infectiously catchy tale of country heartbreak at its worst. “That Ain’t My Truck” nabbed number three on the Billboard country charts and it was just one of three hits from his debut album, A Thousand Memories. Today, Akins is still active in the Nashville scene and has been co-writing many recent hits, including “I Can Take It from There” by Chris Young and “Boys ‘Round Here” by Blake Shelton. Music must be in the genes, as his son, Thomas Rhett, is a current chart-topper.

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Ty Herndon

Herndon made his debut in 1995 with his number one single, What Mattered Most. A few years later he hit the red carpet at the 2001 ACM Awards dressed in a red leather suit, which left us wondering how Herndon didn’t overheat? Since those days the country singer has ditched the red leather and clearly picked up some fancier threads. Immediately following the release of his most current album Lies I Told Myself in 2014, Herndon came out as being gay during a magazine interview.

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Ricky Van Shelton

This former country music artist has charted more than twenty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts since getting his start in 1986. Shelton has also produced ten Number One hits including Somebody Lied, Life Turned Her That Way, and Don’t We All Have the Right. If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard much from him in recent years, it’s because, in May 2006, Shelton announced that he would be retiring from touring to spend more time with his family.

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Bryan White

The Oklahoma native found stardom in 1994 after he was signed to Asylum Records at age 20. That same year White released his self-titled debut album, and it was no time before it went certified platinum. White’s fourth album, How Lucky I Am, included the single God Gave Me You which eventually became a big hit in the Philippines. White now lives in Nashville and is married to actress Erika Page White, with whom he has two sons, Justin and Jackson.

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Deana Carter

Daughter of a renowned guitarist, Fred Carter Jr, Deana is known for many of her Country ballads such as We Danced Anyway and How Do I Get There. Stepping away briefly from recording music, Carter recently returned as an actress in the film, Painted Horses. Carter was also cast as a minor character in the drama film titled, Take 2 for Faith which was released in March of 2017. Although many years have passed Carter has managed maintained a flawless visage.

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John Michael Montgomery

Montgomery first rose to fame in the early 90’s with his debut album; Life’s a Dance after being scouted and signed by an executive from Atlantic Records. The son of a musician, Montgomery learned how to play the guitar at the tender age of five. Although his last studio album release was back in 2008, Montgomery is still going strong on the music front, so don’t count him out just yet. The singer currently has tour dates booked throughout 2017.

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Lorrie Morgan

At age 13, Morgan made her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, and in 1990 had her first number one single with Five Minutes. Morgan’s second album, Something in Red, was released in 1991 and went platinum. In October 2008, Morgan filed for bankruptcy, citing up to $10 million in liabilities and listed her own assets as valued between $500,000 and $1 million. Regardless of her hardships, she managed to pull, it together and released an album last year titled A Picture Of Me and is currently on tour.

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Dwight Yoakam

Yoakam isn’t your average country crooner as he’s considered to be one of country music’s pioneers. Since gaining popularity in the early 1980s, Yoakam has recorded more than twenty-one albums, sold more than 25 million records, and charted more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. The singer is also the most frequent musical guest in the history of The Tonight Show. Last year Yoakam appeared in a supporting role on the show Goliath alongside Billy Bob Thornton.

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Clay Walker

In 1996 a doctor informed Clay Walker he’d be in a wheelchair by 2000, and dead by 2004 due to Multiple Sclerosis. This was a grim prognosis for the singer who was 26 years old and just beginning a superstar career. At first, the Texan simply accepted his fate, but fortunately, his doctor was woefully misinformed and dead wrong. Today Walker looks better than ever and is keeping busy recording new music and doing live performances throughout the country.

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Gretchen Wilson

After landing a deal with Epic Records Wilson’s single Redneck Woman took off like a rocket. The 2004 Grammy-Winning song topped the Hot Country billboard and made it to number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100. After a few years of making hit albums, and millions of dollars, Wilson’s time in the sun was shadowed by other country stars, and soon found herself on the outside. Against all odds, Wilson put out another album this year titled Ready to Get Rowdy.

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Neal McCoy

McCoy first charted on Billboard Hot Country Songs in 1988, and reached the Top 40 in 1992 with his hit song Where Forever Begins. Although he has not topped the country charts since, McCoy’s commercial success continued into the late 90s with two more platinum albums, a gold album, and six more Top Ten hits. Nowadays When McCoy isn’t doing the seldom performance, he’s busy with his charity called the East Texas Angel Network, which provides money for families of seriously ill children.

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Pam Tillis

The daughter of well-known country singer Mel Tellis, Tillis first entered showbiz at the tender age of eight. Tillis released her debut single, Every Home Should Have One, when she was twenty-four which kick-started her professional singing career. The starlet continued to release a number of records during the 80’s and is best known for some of her hits such as Tomorrow’s World and Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life). Tillis has recently been performing at various venues across the country.

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Collin Raye

You may now him professionally as Collin Raye, but once upon a time the singer actually went by Bubba Wray. Between 1983 and 1987 Collin recorded under the latter name, as a member of the band The Wrays. In 1991 he made his solo debut as Collin Raye with the album All I Can Be, which included his first Number One hit Love, Me. Nowadays Raye is busy as the national spokesperson for the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network and putting on small performances around America.

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Connie Smith

Widely considered to be one of the genre’s best female vocalists, Smith has earned 20 top ten Billboard country singles, 11 Grammy Award nominations, and 31 charting albums, three of which hit number one. Despite Smith’s success, she’s still one of the most underrated singers in country music history due to her decision not to pursue superstardom with the non-country general media market like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton. In 2012, Smith was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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Donna Fargo

Fargo delighted millions in the 1970s with her upbeat songs such as The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A. and Funny Face. However, the Grammy winner’s life took a turn for the worst when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1978. Determined to find another avenue to use her creative gifts, Fargo began writing inspirational greeting cards, books, and calendars with life-affirming messages of hope and faith. Fargo’s greeting cards, marketed by Blue Mountain Arts, are for sale nationwide.

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Anne Murray

She may not bleed red, white and blue but when it comes to music Murray is as country as they come. The first Canadian female singer to reach Number 1 on the U.S. charts, Murray is the one who paved the way for other Canadian success stories such as Céline Dion and Shania Twain. She is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los-Angeles. In 2016, Murray received an honorary degree from Mount Saint Vincent University.

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Faith Hill

Talk about an upgrade! Hill traded in rhinestone adorned velvet for Lace gowns and a neck full of real diamonds. Hill’s debut album, Take Me as I Am, was released in 1993 and did well selling over 3 million copies. Hill has also dabbled in the fragrance market releasing her first fragrance titled Faith Hill Parfums in October 2009 and released her second fragrance, True, in 2010. During a surprise show at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw announced that they would be going back on the road together on the Soul2Soul The World Tour. The tour will begin in New Orleans on April 7, 2017.

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Kenny Chesney

Much like his music, Chesney‘s style has evolved over time. Since his days of sporting bright button-downs and velour cowboy hats, the country singer is now usually much more relaxed during television appearances or at award shows donning a simple t-shirt and jeans. Chesney is also noticeably more toned than he was 12 years ago, and while the lines of time show on his face, it’s certainly not in a bad way. Most fans, including ourselves, will agree that Chesney continues to look and sound better as the years pass by.

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Chris Young

In 2006, the Tennessee native auditioned for Nashville Star in Houston, Texas, entered the show and won! Young’s win earned him a contract with RCA Records Nashville and later that year he released his debut single Drinkin’ Me Lonely. The single peaked at number 42 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and served as the first single to his debut album titled Chris Young. Young recently released a new single titled I’m Comin’ Over  in 2015, and it’s the lead single from his fifth studio album I’m Comin’ Over.

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Crystal Gayle

Being the younger sister of country star Loretta Lynn, Gayle refused to live in her shadow and made quite the name for herself.  The country legend became famous for her floor-length dresses, velvety vocal style, and became one of the most successful country-pop crossover entertainers of the 70s and 80s. The raven-haired beauty took over the charts with hits such as Half the Way, and Talking in Your Sleep, none of which anyone would dare mistake for a Loretta Lynn record. Gayle is currently working on a new album, which will be her first in 13 years, and will be titled Am I That Easy To Forget.

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Willie Nelson

Known to many as the Godfather of Country, Willie Nelson lives, breathes, and embodies country music. During his career, Nelson has released 68 studio albums, 10 live albums, and 37 compilation albums. Nelson has also written several books about his life and appeared in many film roles, occasionally playing different versions of himself. The soft drug enthusiast is now married to his fourth wife, Annie D’Angelo, with whom he has two out of his seven children. His oldest son, Billy, unfortunately, committed suicide in 1991.

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Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks is not only one of the most famous country stars but also one of the wealthiest. As of 2016, Brooks was said to be worth a whopping $70 million! According to the Recording Industry Association of America. Brooks remains one of the most successful solo recording artists in U.S. history, just behind Elvis Presley. Brooks has sold nearly 134 million albums worldwide, and his 1990 album No Fences has sold more than 17 million copies alone! Brooks is showing no signs of slowing down as he just released his last album Gunslinger in 2016.

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Barbara Mandrell & The Mandrell Sisters

Barbara is an American country singer who scored #1 hits with her singles “Sleeping Single In A Double Bed” and “Years”. She was already on her career to success from the tender age of eleven. Her family later formed a band “Mandrell Family” which toured the country. In 1984, Barbara had a near-death experience when she was involved in a head-on car collision with her two children. This experience shifted her priorities, and she made the decision to pull away from music and focus on health and family, to this day.

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