Country music is one of the great achievements of American culture. Grown from the roots of bluegrass, folk, and blues music, country music stars have created a unique genre of music the whole world has embraced.
The 2000s were a prominent time for country music. So, let’s go through the best 2000s country artists! We’ll include stars who peaked in the 2000s as well as musicians who just started or ended their careers.
Kenny Chesney is the definition of a 2000s country musician. Everyone who wanted to join the country music scene wanted to be just like him—cool and energetic but still true to the music he loves. His over-the-top productions and likable nature endeared him to fans worldwide.
But his album sales prove he was the most successful country music artist of the 2000s. Aside from his Christmas album, all six of his 2000s albums debuted on top of the country charts. None of those albums sold less than a million units each, with some selling more than four million.
Toby Keith grew up living a real blue-collared life. Born in Oklahoma, Keith would become an oil rig worker before his singing was discovered. Keith got his first shot in the industry in the 90s when his hit song “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” became the most played country song of the decade.
After that, the rest was history. Through the 2000s, Keith became one of the most popular country stars. His 2000s albums all debuted in the top 10 on the country charts, and many peaked at number one on the overall charts, as well.
Made up of Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus, and Joe Don Rooney, Rascal Flatts has been rocking the country scene since 1999. Since then, they’ve become one of the biggest 2000s country musicians.
Rascal Flatts’ unique sound, influenced by Christian rock and the classic Nashville country sound, is what made their group famous. Too bad they broke up in 2021, but according to group members, they’ll still put on a few shows a year. Hopefully, that’s true!
Beginning his career in the 1990s, Tim McGraw blew up in the late 90s and early 2000s. All five of his albums released in the 2000s reached the top three on the U.S. charts, including two that peaked at number one.
Tim McGraw is best known for his deep lyrics that he sings with a melodic southern pitch. He married Faith Hill, another one of the best 2000s country artists, in 1996. She sings on some of McGraw’s biggest songs, including “Angry All the Time” and “It’s Your Love.”
Keith Urban, A Country Music Musician
Keith Urban is the Australian country musician par excellence. Beginning his career in the 1990s, Urban gained prominence during the 2000s for his album Golden Road, which reached number two on the U.S. country charts.
After that, the rest was history. He’s released eight more studio albums since then, all of which reached at least number two on the country charts. Urban’s music is best known for incorporating Australian pop and rock influences, as well as his simple but honest lyrics.
Faith Hill reached her pinnacle of fame in the mid-2000s. By then, she already had three albums that reached number one on the U.S. music charts, including her hit album, Breathe, in late 1999. Breathe has sold more than eight million copies worldwide since its release.
Hill married Tim McGraw in 1996, and the couple has been a musical force ever since. Hill’s melodic voice has many layers. She has a sweet drawl but also an amazing range she uses to hit beautiful notes.
George Strait is arguably the most successful country artist of any period, let alone the 2000s. When he released his album Strait World in 1981, everyone knew he would become a star. Currently, he has 60 number one singles, the most for any individual artist.
All five of Strait’s 2000s albums reached number one on the U.S. country charts, and four of them sold enough albums to go platinum. His 2001 song “Murder on Music Row” critiqued what he saw as flaws in the country music industry, especially greed.
Carrie Underwood first became a household name after winning season four of American Idol in 2005. Since then, Underwood has grown into the biggest female star in 2000s country music.
In the 2000s, she released three albums, all of which topped the U.S. country charts. Two of her albums, Carnival Rides and Play On, also reached number one on the overall charts. Her debut album, Some Hearts, was the fastest-selling country album to that point.
Brad Paisley has been rocking the country scene since the late 90s, but he became a star in the early 2000s. After the release of his album, Part II, in 2001, Paisley would release six more albums, all of which ranked in the top 10 on the country music charts.
Paisley’s singing is best known for its dry but witty lyrics. His guitar-playing skills are also up to snuff, with his songwriting prowess not far behind. Paisley grew to become one of the biggest country artists of the 2000s because of his relatable lyrics and smooth voice.
Country music fans consider Alan Jackson to be a quiet, bright star. He’s never been one to brag about his accomplishments, even if they’re numerous. Jackson has over 30 number one singles in his career, selling over 80 million albums in that time.
By the 2000s, Jackson was still a household name in country music. All five of his 2000s albums reached number one on U.S. charts. One of his most famous songs of the period was “Where Were You,” which focused on the stunned reaction to the 9/11 attacks.
Willie Nelson, A Country Singer
Willie Nelson is a man of many hats. Whether you enjoy his country, blues, or rock music, everyone has a Willie Nelson song they can put on and enjoy. And that’s one of the biggest reasons he remained a star in the 2000s.
Nelson is one of the most prolific 2000s country singers of all time. Throughout his career, he released more than 72 solo albums, including 16 in the 2000s.
Nelson has been a hero in the country music community for a long time, but his charity efforts in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake made his selflessness widely known.
Garth Brooks is an enigma. Many thought his 2000-2015 hiatus from touring would have killed his career, but it only strengthened it. Even though he wasn’t touring, Brooks still released one studio album, Scarecrow.
Although Brooks wouldn’t return to touring for another 14 years, Scarecrow proved to be a huge success, allowing him to focus on his family. After his family had grown up, he returned to music, allowing him to capitalize on the fame and success of his albums from the 2000s.
Shania Twain is the unchallenged queen of country music in Canada. Although she transitioned into a country-pop singer by the 2000s, that didn’t change her appeal among country music fans.
In 2002, Twain released her most popular album to date, Up! The album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. The album was a masterpiece that had separate discs for each type of music—country, rock, and dance music.
Miranda Lambert had her start on the reality singing show Nashville Star. Although she didn’t win the competition, she and her music were discovered. After that, she continued to rise. One thing she has on many country stars is she writes or co-writes all of her music.
Lambert is also one of the most widely decorated artists of her generation. She’s won the ACM Female Vocalist of the Year on eight occasions, as well as two Grammys and a total of 13 ACM awards.
Dixie Chicks is arguably the best all-female band of all time, and they’re surely the best all-female country band. Currently consisting of Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire, and Emily Strayer, Dixie Chicks came together in 1989 in Texas.
With their classic Texas drawl, the Chicks rose to fame in the last 90s. Their 1999, 2002, and 2006 albums ranked at number one on the U.S. charts. Each of these albums sold more than 10 million copies, solidifying their place among the best 2000s country artists.
Hank Williams, Jr.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Hank Williams, Jr. reached the pinnacle of his fame in the 80s, but he continued recording for the next 40 years. Although he’s still touring, his most recent popular albums came out in the late 2000s.
Whether you enjoy his older songs like “Good Friends, Good Whiskey, Good Lovin’,” or you prefer his newer tracks, Williams Jr.’s silky smooth voice will make you a fan. His influence is also all over modern country stars such as Kid Rock and Justin Moore.
If Taylor Swift had stuck to country music, she may have ranked higher on this list. The mid-2000s country scene was dominated by Swift. With her sweet, angelic voice, she was able to attract thousands of new fans to join the country bandwagon.
By 2009, she began experimenting with pop music, eventually embracing that genre as her own. But as a 2000s country musician, she captured the attention of millions. Who knows, maybe Swift’s future holds more country tunes!
Jamey Johnson has one of the most recognizable voices in modern country music. His baritone-like voice, paired with his talented guitar playing, makes him appealing to both younger and older country fans.
Johnson began his rise to fame in the 2000s, with the most lucrative portion of his career occurring in the 2010s. His album from 2008, That Lonesome Song, peaked at number 6 on the U.S. country charts. His hit song, “In Color,” came from the album, too.
Brooks & Dunn
Ronnie Dunn and Keith Brooks came together in 1990 to form one of the most formidable duos in country music. Their fame peaked in the mid-2000s when they released their most famous music, such as “Believe” and “Play Something Country.”
Brooks and Dunn are the best-selling country duo of all time. They had over 40 top 10 hits in their career, with 20 of those being number one. They have two Grammy awards and 19 country music awards to their names!
Luke Bryan may have hit the peak of his fame in the 2010s, but he started his ride in the 2000s. In the 2000s, he released two albums, both of which reached number two on the country charts in the U.S.
Bryan’s fans enjoy his music because of his relatable lyrics and positive attitude. According to people who’ve known him forever, Bryan always thinks the best of people. Maybe that’s why he wrote his hit song, “Most People Are Good.”
Although he only released three albums in the 2000s, everyone with a good ear for country music could tell Jason Aldean would become a star. His career began taking off in the 2000s, but he became famous in the 2010s.
So, although many would say Aldean is more of a 2010s star, he never would’ve made it there if not for his 2000s success. His final album in the 2000s, Wide Open, went double platinum. It was a glimpse of all the future success Aldean would have in country music.
Blake Shelton is like one of those football players who never seem to leave the NFL. And although he’s been around forever, you can always count on Shelton to release some great tunes. The 2000s were the years when he perfected his sound.
Shelton began releasing albums in 2001 with his self-entitled album. Every single album Shelton released in the 2000s ranked in the top 10 on the country music charts.
Before becoming a household name in country music, Darius Rucker was the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, a pop-rock band known for their use of the blues.
Rucker must’ve learned a lot during his time singing for them, as he introduced a lot of those concepts into his country music.
Rucker only released two studio country albums in the 2000s, with another coming in late 2010. Two of those albums reached number one on the country charts, with Learn to Live going platinum in the process.
Big & Rich
Big and Rich are most well known for their party song “Save a Horse.” Although the song is a great tune, it doesn’t do the duo justice. Made up of Big Kenny and John Rich, the two country stars teamed up in the late 90s to produce some awesome tunes.
Aside from their most famous song, Big and Rich also put out other great songs such as “Lost in This Moment” and “Holy Water.” When they’re not creating tunes for their band, both singers have successful solo acts.
Travis Tritt is a country music star who’s been around forever. He started releasing music in the late 1980s but found his most consistent string of success in the early 2000s.
From 2000 to 2007, Tritt released four albums, all of which ended up top 10 on the country charts. Most fans like Tritt because of his great songwriting skills. He’s worked with Tim McGraw writing songs on many occasions.
Zac Brown Band
In recent years, Zac Brown Band has blown up to become one of country music’s hottest commodities. So, although their fame is currently peaking, anyone with an ear for country music knew they were rocking it in the 2000s.
The band released two albums in the 2000s with another album in late 2010. Their 2008 album, The Foundation, sold over five million copies. Zac Brown Band may have a modern sound, but they utilize instruments and techniques more common in older music.
Kid Rock has had a controversial career, so why not give him a controversial position on this list? As the country-rock king, Kid Rock has used his genre-bending style to create some of the most recognizable songs from the 2000s.
Whether you like his storytelling in “All Summer Long” or you prefer his twangy voice in the song “Born Free,” Kid Rock has a mega-diverse music catalog. You’ll always be able to find a summer song if you have a Kid Rock album.
Top 2000s Country Artists, Final Thoughts
So, these are the best 2000s country musicians. The 2000s were among the best times for country music, so there are countless artists to choose from. Do you think we missed any of the best country stars?
P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!
Who is the most popular country singer in the 2000s? ›
- George Strait.
- Taylor Swift.
- Kenny Chesney.
- Brad Paisley.
- Toby Keith.
- Tim McGraw.
- Alison Krauss.
- Keith Urban.
Eminem was the 2000s' top-selling artist with 32.2 million combined in sales, plus two albums in the decade's Top 10: The Marshall Mathers LP was fourth with 10,195,000 sold and Eminem Show was fifth with 9,789,000.Who dominated music in the 2000s? ›
Artists such as Eminem, OutKast, The Black Eyed Peas, T.I., 50 Cent, Kanye West, Nelly, Nas, Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah, Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliott, M.I.A., Lil' Kim, Gorillaz, Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, The Game, and Ludacris were among the dominant mainstream hip hop artists to have represented the hip hop genre for the ...What country song was popular in 2000? ›
In 2000, Chad Brock and Phil Vassar achieved their first Hot Country Songs number ones with "Yes!" and "Just Another Day in Paradise" respectively. Veteran singer Kenny Rogers gained his first number one in thirteen years when "Buy Me a Rose", featuring Billy Dean and Alison Krauss, topped the chart in May.What is the #1 country song of all time? ›
1. 'I Walk the Line' by Johnny Cash.Who is the most successful country singer of all time? ›
1. GARTH BROOKS. Garth Brooks' certified sales of 156.1 million put him right up there with the biggest-selling artists of any genre, ahead of rock titans like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.What was the #1 song of 2000? ›
In December 1999, Billboard published decade-end lists based on statistical performances on weekly Billboard charts, with Mariah Carey being dubbed the Pop Artist of Decade. Other artists receiving the honor in the following decades are Eminem (2000s) and Drake (2010s).What song sold the most in 2000? ›
- 2000 – Eminem – The Way I Am [The Marshall Mathers LP] – 3,710,000.
- 2004 – Green Day – Holiday [American Idiot] – 3,710,000.
- 2000 – NSYNC – It's Gonna Be Me [No Strings Attached] – 3,680,000.
- 2006 – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Snow ((Hey Oh)) [Stadium Arcadium] – 3,600,000.
Sales numbers from Nielsen SoundScan reveal Em beat the Beatles in the '00s.
Who sold the most albums in 2000? ›
No Strings Attached is the best-selling album of 2000, accumulating nearly 9.94 million sales by the end of the year. The album was noted for its debut sales figure of 2.4 million, the highest first-week sales in the Billboard 200 history.Who will stop making music in 2025? ›
Chris Martin recently shocked Coldplay fans when he revealed the band plans to stop making new music within the next three years.What country song was #1 in 1999? ›
Mark Chesnutt topped the chart with his cover version of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing".What country song was #1 in 2001? ›
The year-end number one was "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" by Alan Jackson, a song written in response to the September 11 attacks.What country song was #1 in 2002? ›
The longest unbroken run at number one during 2002 was seven weeks, achieved by Kenny Chesney's song "The Good Stuff", which was also ranked number one on Billboard's year-end chart of the most popular country songs.Who has the most #1 hits in country music? ›
Without a doubt, George Strait holds the title of having the most number one singles. He holds the record of 44 songs that reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.What song has been #1 the longest? ›
"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.What is the most played country song on the radio? ›
- You Didn'tBrett Young•Weekends Look A Little Different These Days. ...
- Going, Going, GoneLuke Combs•Growin' Up. ...
- What He Didn't DoCarly Pearce•Soundtrack To Summer 2022. ...
- GoldDierks Bentley•Gold. ...
- Thought You Should KnowMorgan Wallen•Thought You Should Know. ...
- No BodyBlake Shelton•No Body.
1. George Strait was born on May 18, 1952, in Poteet, Texas. The “King of Country Music” married his high school sweetheart Norma in 1971 and they remain married to this day.What is the most played song in history? ›
It was never a hit single and got almost no play on Top 40 radio. There's even a dispute over the exact title. Yet “It's a Small World,” also known as “It's a Small, Small World” and “It's a Small World (After All),” is very likely the most played song in music history — nearly 50 million times.
What is the most streamed song of all time? ›
The Scottish hitmaker's 2018 single 'Someone You Loved' has been crowned the most-streamed song of all time thanks to the 561 million streams it's racked up across both audio and video streaming. Unsurprisingly, Sheeran's 2017 earworm 'Shape Of You' followed in the No.What was the #1 song in 2005? ›
The R&B track "We Belong Together" by American singer Mariah Carey was named the number 1 song of 2005 and it spent the longest time at number 1 for the year, 14 weeks.Who Won 2010s Artist of the Decade? ›
Drake's dominance during the 2010s wins him top honors in the overall top artist category, which ranks the best-performing artists based on activity on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart and the Billboard 200 albums tally, as well as social media data and touring revenue from Billboard Boxscore, during the decade (see ...Who sold the most records in the 2010s? ›
Eminem sold 13.862 million albums over the past decade, third overall behind Adele (23.924 million) and Taylor Swift (22.972 million). Rounding out the top 5 were Justin Bieber (12.098 million) and Drake (10.526 million). Eminem also ranked No.Who won male artist of the decade? ›
Drake, who extended his record as the most decorated winner in the history of the awards show to 29 wins Sunday, was surrounded by family and friends who presented him with the Artist of the Decade Award.What was voted best song of 2000s? ›
- 'Dirrty' – Christina Aguilera. ...
- 'Date with the Night' – Yeah Yeah Yeahs. ...
- 'Dry Your Eyes' – The Streets. ...
- '22 Grand Job' – The Rakes. ...
- 'What's Your Fantasy' – Ludacris feat Shawnna. ...
- 'Don't Mess with My Man' – Lucy Pearl. ...
- 'Two Doors Down' – Mystery Jets. ...
- 'Wearing My Rolex' – Wiley.
50 Cent's "In da Club" took the top spot, one of four singles from his debut studio album Get Rich or Die Tryin' to make the list (at positions 1, 14, 21, and 63).Who has sold the most ever records? ›
Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.Who sold more than 50 million records? ›
According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.Who has sold over a billion records? ›
- Elvis Presley. ~ 1.5 billion units sold. ...
- Michael Jackson. ~ 1.0 billion units sold. ...
- Madonna. ~ 340 million units sold. ...
- Elton John. ~ 305 million units sold. ...
- Rihanna. Photo credit: EJ Hersom. ...
- Eminem. ~ 227 million units sold. ...
- Taylor Swift. ...
- Whitney Houston.
Who sold more than 90 million records worldwide? ›
The Carpenters have sold more than 90 million records worldwide.What is the No 1 selling album of all time? ›
Michael Jackson's Thriller, estimated to have sold 70 million copies worldwide, is the best-selling album. Jackson also currently has the highest number of albums on the list with five, Celine Dion has four, while the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Madonna and Whitney Houston each have three.What are the 10 best-selling records of all time? ›
- Fleetwood Mac — “Rumours” ...
- Hootie & the Blowfish — “Cracked Rear View” ...
- Pink Floyd — “The Wall” ...
- Led Zeppelin — “Zeppelin IV” ...
- The Beatles — “The Beatles” ...
- AC/DC — “Back in Black” ...
- Eagles — “Hotel California” ...
- Michael Jackson— “Thriller”
- Red Hot Chili Peppers.
- Linkin Park.
- 3 Doors Down.
- Maroon 5.
- The Killers.
- The All-American Rejects.
It's becoming statistically less popular among all demographic groups. Looking at the United States, the metric known as “Total Album Consumption” of “current music fell by 1.4 per cent in the first half of 2022 compared to a year ago.What's the future of music? ›
The future of music will most likely follow the same trends we are seeing in modern technology. It will be incredibly social similar to social media, it will become increasingly computer-based and A.I.Is music declining in quality? ›
Due to the technology of compression, loudness is now being manipulated so that even the quietest parts of the song match the loudest parts, which actually create a very mumbled and muddled sound with less vibrancy and dynamics. So in conclusion, music now sounds all the same and the quality is drastically declining.What was the number 1 country song in 1997? ›
The final number one of the year was "Longneck Bottle" by Garth Brooks.What was the #1 country song in 1988? ›
Dwight Yoakam topped the chart for the first time with "Streets of Bakersfield", a collaboration with Buck Owens.What was the #1 country song in 1986? ›
1986: "Morning Desire" - Kenny Rogers.
What was the #1 country song in 1996? ›
Canadian singer Shania Twain had the most number ones in 1996, topping the chart with "(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!", "You Win My Love" and "No One Needs to Know".What was the #1 country song in 1992? ›
The final number one of the year was "Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away" by Vince Gill.What was the number one country song in 1982? ›
In October, Dolly Parton topped the chart with the double A-sided single "I Will Always Love You" / "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind".What is the most popular country song right now 2022? ›
Parmalee's “Take My Name” is No. 1 on Billboard's year-end Country Airplay Songs chart for 2022, and its success caught even the band by surprise.What was the hottest song in 2002? ›
Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" which spend four weeks at number between 2001 and 2002, was the number one song of 2002.What albums went platinum in 2002? ›
- Pink – "Don't Let Me Get Me" 3:31.
- Michelle Branch – "All You Wanted" 3:38.
- P. ...
- Mario – "Just a Friend 2002" 3:36.
- Usher – "U Don't Have to Call" 3:51.
- DJ Sammy featuring Yanou – "Heaven (Candlelight Mix)" 4:04.
- Brandy – "Full Moon" 4:00.
- Nappy Roots featuring Jazze Pha – "Awnaw" 4:02.
- George Strait.
- Faith Hill. ...
- Dixie Chicks. ...
- Tim McGraw. ...
- Trisha Yearwood. ...
- Reba McEntire. ...
- Alan Jackson. ...
- Martina McBride. ...
With more than 64 million albums sold worldwide, 18 #1 singles, with seven as co-writes, Seven Grammys, and countless other accolades---all achieved…
2001: "I'm Already There" - Lonestar.What was the number 1 country song in 2003? ›
When Willie Nelson reached number one with his collaboration with Toby Keith, "Beer for My Horses", he became the oldest artist to top the chart, at age 70.
What was the number 1 country song in 1990? ›
At the start of the year, the number one song on the chart was Highway 101's "Who's Lonely Now", which had been at the top of the chart since the issue of Billboard dated December 30, 1989. It remained in the top spot for one further week in 1990 before being replaced by "It Ain't Nothin'" by Keith Whitley.Who won artist of the decade 1990s? ›
Mariah Carey was declared the Artist of the Decade of the 1990s by Billboard.Who is the godfather of country music? ›
James Charles Rodgers (September 8, 1897 – May 26, 1933) was an American singer-songwriter and musician who rose to popularity in the late 1920s. Widely regarded as "the Father of Country Music", he is best known for his distinctive rhythmic yodeling, unusual for a music star of his era.Who has the best country voice? ›
- Johnny Cash.
- Conway Twitty.
- Josh Turner.
- Randy Travis.
- Merle Haggard.
- Waylon Jennings.
- Alan Jackson.
- Chris Stapleton.
Luke Combs claimed the spot on this countdown thanks to smash singles like "Lovin' on You." He's trailed by Morgan Wallen and Kane Brown. (See all 50 artists.) Combs is also squarely atop the Top Country Airplay Artists tally.What is today's most popular country song? ›
- Don't Come Lookin'Jackson Dean•Don't Come Lookin' ...
- Half Of MeThomas Rhett feat. ...
- Fall In LoveBailey Zimmerman•Fall In Love. ...
- 5 Foot 9Tyler Hubbard•5 Foot 9. ...
- down homeJimmie Allen•Tulip Drive. ...
- Son Of A SinnerJelly Roll•Ballads Of The Broken. ...
- Country OnLuke Bryan•Country On.
George Harvey Strait Sr.
(born May 18, 1952) is an American country music singer, songwriter, actor, and music producer. Strait is known as the "King of Country" and is considered one of the most influential and popular recording artists of all time.
George Jones remains the country artist with the most hits overall – 154 between 1955 and 2013. A handful of Jones' chart entries pre-date Billboard's first combined sales and radio airplay country chart, published on 20 October 1958.