Looking back on the 1990s, it’s hard to believe how many great country singers there were. It was truly a golden era for the genre, with so many talented artists releasing chart-topping hits.
From traditional country to the more pop-leaning sounds of the late ’90s, there was something for everyone. And while there are too many great singers to list them all, we’ve narrowed it down to 17 of the best.
So without further ado, here are the 17 best country singers of the 1990s:
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1. Shania Twain
The 1990s were truly the decade of Shania Twain. She released her debut album in 1993, and it wasn’t long before she became a household name.
With her unique blend of country, pop, and rock, she appealed to a wide range of listeners and quickly became one of the biggest stars in the genre.
She continued to dominate the charts throughout the decade with hits like “Any Man of Mine,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”
And, by the end of the ’90s, she was the best-selling female country artist of all time.
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2. Trisha Yearwood
In the early 1990s, a new sound was emerging in country music and one singer was at the forefront of that movement – Trisha Yearwood. She helped redefine country with her soulful voice and down-to-earth style.
Her debut album, “Trisha Yearwood,” was released in 1991 and spawned the number one hit single “She’s in Love with the Boy”. But it was her second album, “Hearts in Armor,” that made her a superstar.
The album featured hits like “You Say You Will”, “Walkaway Joe”, and “Down on My Knees”.
These songs along with many others cemented her status as one of the biggest names in country music of the 90s.
3. Garth Brooks
It’s really hard to name a bigger country star than Garth Brooks in the 1990s. He was absolutely everywhere, and his concerts were some of the most popular events of the decade. Known for his high-energy showmanship, Brooks was a true entertainer.
But it wasn’t just his live performances that made him a star. He also released a string of chart-topping albums and hit singles throughout the ’90s.
Some of his most popular songs include “Friends in Low Places”, “The Thunder Rolls”, and “If Tomorrow Never Comes”.
While he hasn’t been as active in recent years, there’s no doubt that Garth Brooks is one of the biggest country stars of all time.
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4. Tim McGraw
The beauty of Tim McGraw is that he’s able to appeal to both country and pop audiences. In the ’90s, he found crossover success with songs like “Don’t Take the Girl” and “Live Like You Were Dying”.
But he also had plenty of traditional country hits with songs like “Something Like That” and “My Next Thirty Years”.
No matter what kind of song he was singing, McGraw always delivered it with conviction. That’s one of the things that made him one of the biggest stars of the ’90s.
5. Faith Hill
Faith Hill burst onto the country music scene in the early 1990s and has been reigning as one of the genre’s top singers since.
She has released seven studio albums, all of which have reached the top of the country charts, and has scored numerous hits including “This Kiss,” “Breathe,” and “The Way You Love Me.”
Hill is also a successful actress, having starred in the hit TV series “The West Wing” and in films such as “The Stepford Wives” and “Pure Country.”
She has won five Grammy Awards, been nominated for an Emmy, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017. In addition to her musical and acting accomplishments, Hill is also a dedicated mother to her three daughters. She is truly a multi-talented artist who continues to be one of country music’s biggest stars.
6. Reba McEntire
When it comes to Reba McEntire, there is really no denying her talent. She is a true country music legend and has been entertaining fans for over four decades.
McEntire got her start in the music business singing backup vocals for country singer Red Steagall. But it wasn’t long before she struck out on her own and released her debut album in 1977.
She quickly rose to fame with hits like “Can’t Even Get the Blues” and “How Blue”.
And, throughout the ’80s and ’90s, she released a string of successful albums and singles which solidified her place as one of the top country singers of all time.
In addition to her musical career, McEntire has also enjoyed success as an actress, starring in the popular sitcom “Reba” and in several made-for-TV movies.
She has also won numerous awards throughout her career, including three Grammy Awards and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
7. Vince Gill
Known for his soulful ballads and uptempo tracks, Vince Gill has been in the country music business for over three decades. He first rose to fame as a member of the country-rock band Pure Prairie League in the late 1970s. But it was his solo career that made him a superstar.
Some of his most popular songs of the 90s include “I Still Believe in You”, “Go Rest High on That Mountain”, and “When I Call Your Name. These are a few songs that made Vince Gill one of the top country singers of the 1990s.
In addition to his solo work, Gill is also a highly respected guitarist and has won 22 Grammy Awards for his musical accomplishments.
8. Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson is a country music legend. He first burst onto the scene in the early 1990s with his debut studio album “Here in the Real World”. The album was an instant success, producing Jackson’s first number one hit, “I’d Love You All Over Again”.
Jackson followed up his debut album with a string of successful albums and singles throughout the ’90s while also earning a reputation for being one of the best live performers in country music.
Even today, Jackson remains one of the genre’s top singers and is considered one of the greatest country artists of all time.
9. Martina McBride
Another one of the top female country singers of the ’90s is Martina McBride. Although she first gained attention in the early ’90s, it was her 1994 album “Wild Angels” that made her a household name. The album featured the hit singles “Safe in the Arms of Love” and “Swingin’ Doors”, which quickly propelled McBride to superstardom.
Since her breakthrough, McBride has released fourteen more studio albums, all of which have been very successful.
Not to mention, she is also a 14-time Grammy Award nominee and is widely considered one of the best vocalists in all of music.
10. LeAnn Rimesm
Just at the tender age of 13, LeAnn Rimes released her debut album, “Blue”, in 1996. The album was an instant success, propelled by the massive success of the lead single, “Blue”. The song became a huge hit and helped make Rimes one of the youngest singers to ever achieve commercial success.
Raised in Texas, Rimes was steeped in country music from a young age. And, throughout her career, she has continued to make beautiful country-pop music that has resonated with fans all over the world.
To date, Rimes has released thirteen studio albums and has won numerous awards, including two Grammy Awards. At just 35 years of age, she has already accomplished more than most singers could ever dream of and is sure to continue making great music for many years to come.
11. Billy Ray Cyrus
Billy Ray Cyrus pushes everything to the extreme. From his mullet hairdo to his over-the-top country songs, Cyrus was always larger than life in the ’90s.
And, his 1992 debut album, “Some Gave All”, was no exception. The album was a massive success, thanks in large part to the lead single, “Achy Breaky Heart”. The song quickly became a global phenomenon and made Billy Ray Cyrus a household name.
In addition to his successful music career, Cyrus also starred in the popular TV show “Hannah Montana” as the father of the titular character. The show was a massive hit and made Cyrus even more famous.
12. Brooks & Dunn
When it comes to country music duos, there are few that are more iconic than Brooks & Dunn. This duo was one of the most successful country acts of the ’90s and helped to define the sound of country music during the decade.
Some of their most popular songs include “My Maria”, “Ain’t Nothing ’bout You”, and “Only in America”.
Apart from their incredible musical success, Brooks & Dunn are also known for their larger-than-life onstage persona. Their live shows are always high-energy and filled with pyrotechnics, making them a must-see for any country music fan.
13. Trace Adkins
There is something about Trace Adkins’s voice that is just so damn country. It’s deep, it’s gruff, and it’s the perfect vehicle for Adkins’ brand of country music.
After releasing his debut album in 1996, Adkins quickly established himself as one of the top country singers of the ’90s.
His later albums “Big Time” and “More…” were both huge successes, thanks in large part to the popularity of the singles “The Rest of Mine” and “I’m Gonna Love You Anyway”.
In addition to his successful music career, Adkins has also enjoyed a successful acting career, appearing in movies such as “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “Deepwater Horizon”.
14. Brad Paisley
There is a sense of fun and playfulness to Brad Paisley’s music that is unmatched by any other country artist. His songs are catchy, his lyrics are clever, and he is always able to put a smile on his fans’ faces.
Paisley first gained attention with the release of his debut album, “Who Needs Pictures”, in 1999, which featured the hit single “He Didn’t Have to Be”.
Since then, Paisley has gone on to release eleven more studio albums, all of which have been extremely successful. The best thing about Paisley, though, is that he always seems to be having the time of his life, and that sense of fun is evident in his music.
15. Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney is the definition of a country music superstar. He has released over 19 studio albums, has sold over 30 million albums, and has won numerous awards, including multiple Grammy Awards.
Chesney first came into the spotlight in the mid-’90s with the release of his third studio album, “Me and You”. The album was a huge success, thanks in large part to the popularity of the album’s title track and “When I Close My Eyes”.
Later albums like “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” and “Be as You Are” also found commercial success. But, it is Chesney’s ability to connect with his fans that has really made him one of the biggest country stars in the world.
16. Deana Carter
Although she only released a couple of albums in the ’90s, Deana Carter made a big impact on the country music scene with her debut album, “Did I Shave My Legs for This?”.
While the album only reached the number 2 spot on the Billboard Country charts, it featured the massive hit single “Strawberry Wine”.
Thanks in large part to its catchy melody and Carter’s sweet, angelic voice. “Strawberry Wine” would go on to win Carter a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
17. George Strait
George Strait is a true country music legend. He’s been making music for over four decades and is one of the best-selling artists of all time.
While he was already a well-established star by the time the 1990s rolled around, he continued to have great success throughout the decade.
Some of his most popular songs from this era include “Love Without End, Amen”, “Carrying Your Love with Me,” and “Blue Clear Sky”.
As you saw, the 90s was a great decade for country music with many talented singers.
Some of these artists, like Garth Brooks and Shania Twain, went on to become true superstars, while others, like Deana Carter and Brad Paisley, enjoyed more modest success.
But, one thing is for sure, all of the artists on this list helped to make the ’90s one of the best decades for country music.