Below is a list of notable country performers alphabetically by period, with each listing followed by a description of the artists' work.
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Early innovators [edit ] Vernon Dalhart recorded hundreds of songs until 1931. Jimmie Rodgers, first country superstar, the undisputed "Father of Country Music". The Carter Family, rural country-folk, known for hits like "Wildwood Flower". Uncle Dave Macon, banjo player, singer, and songwriter who became the first star of the Grand Ole Opry in the late 1920s Roy Acuff Grand Ole Opry star for 50 years, "King of Country Music". Jenny Lou Carson, the first female to write a No. 1 Country Hit (1945) " You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often". Patsy Montana, the first female Country singer to sell 1 million records. Girls of the Golden West, one of the first Country music duo groups. Ernest Tubb Beloved Texas troubadour who helped scores become stars. Al Dexter, a country musician and songwriter, best known for "Pistol Packin' Mama," a 1944 hit that was one of the most popular recordings of the World War II years. Red Foley, the first major country star after World War II, host of Ozark Jubilee Hank Snow Canadian-born Grand Ole Opry star famous for his traveling songs. Hank Williams pioneer, singer, and songwriter, known for hits including "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", "Your Cheatin' Heart" and " Jambalaya (On the Bayou)". Bill Monroe, father of bluegrass music. The Davis Sisters, best known for the hit " I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know" Louvin Brothers, inspired the Everly Brothers. Little Jimmy Dickens 4-foot 11 inch star of the Grand Ole Opry. Goldie Hill, the "golden hillbilly", best known for the hit song "I Let the Stars Get in My Eyes". Wilf Carter, the "yodeling" cowboy, aka Montana Slim. Jean Shepard, one of Country's leading female vocalists in the 1950s. Webb Pierce, classic honky-tonker who dominated '50s country music. Kitty Wells, country's first female superstar, called the " Queen of Country Music". Johnny Cash created the boom-chicka-boom sound and recorded music from 1954 to 2003. Ray Price, created the 4/4 shuffle which transformed traditional country music. Glen Campbell, "The Rhinestone Cowboy," legendary session guitarist who launched out as a solo act and broke Country Music's 3-chord barrier and popularized "The Nashville sound" known for lush string and orchestral arrangements. Woody Guthrie, wrote and sang the song "This Land Land is Your Land" and is cited by musicians from many genres as an inspiration. Bob Wills, considered by many artist to be the real king of country music Performers of The Golden Age and country pop in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s [edit ] Bill Anderson, singer who is still a major songwriter of new hits Liz Anderson, as famous for her songwriting as her singing; mother of Lynn Anderson Lynn Anderson, a California blonde who became a major country star in the 70s; helped by regular exposure on national television, was one of the first female artists to achieve major crossover success. Has won CMA, ACM, AMA, & Grammy Awards. Named Billboard's "Artist of the Decade" (70-80). Deborah Allen, a popular 80s Country/Pop vocalist Eddy Arnold, the all-time hit leader by Joel Whitburn's point system Moe Bandy, singer of the 70s/80s; paired with Joe Stampley on a series of recordings The Browns, brother-sister trio Glen Campbell, brought a whole new audience to Country Music with his TV show, co-starred with John Wayne in movie "True Grit," won many awards, top Country Music hitmaker and pop crossover icon. He popularized "The Nashville Sound." Johnny Cash, one of the single most Influential and popular country singers of all time. Best known for hits like " Ring of Fire", " Folsom Prison Blues" and " Cocaine Blues". He died in 2003 Patsy Cline, immensely popular balladeer who died in 1963 David Allan Coe, Outlaw Country star of the 70s Jessi Colter, Outlaw country singer and wife of Waylon Jennings, best known for " I'm Not Lisa" John Conlee, had a string of hits from the late 70s to mid 80s, including his signature "Rose Colored Glasses Skeeter Davis, major female vocalist for decades Mac Davis, Country Pop hitmaker in the 70s and 80s Jimmy Dean, singer and TV personality, former owner of Jimmy Dean Sausage Company John Denver,singer/songwriter of numerous hit songs throughout the 1970s including Annies song, Back Home Again,and Take Me Home,Country Roads. John Denver died in 1997. Roy Drusky]], smooth-singing Opry star for 40 years Jimmy Martin, The King of bluegrass Janie Fricke, known for her series of smooth Countrypolitan hits in the early 80s Lefty Frizzell, perhaps the greatest of the honky-tonkers Crystal Gayle, sister of Loretta Lynn who became a Countrypolitan sensation in the 70s and 80s and had 18 No. 1's during this stretch. Bobbie Gentry, one of the first female artists to write and produce her own material. Don Gibson, wrote and recorded many standards Merle Haggard, popularized the Bakersfield sound Tom T. Hall, "The Storyteller", wrote most of his many hits Emmylou Harris has maintained one of the most artistically rewarding careers in country music Johnny Horton a fantastic singer who met an untimely death that ended a wonderful career. Jan Howard, pop-flavored female vocalist who sang pure country Stonewall Jackson, honky-tonk icon Sonny James, had a record 16 consecutive No. 1 hits Wanda Jackson, honky-tonk female vocalist equally at home in rock and roll Waylon Jennings, one of the leaders of the "outlaw" country sound George Jones,once widely considered "the greatest living country singer", No. 1 in charted hits Dick Curless, Singer/songwriter known mostly for his trucking songs. Kris Kristofferson, songwriter and one of the leaders of the "outlaw" country sound k.d. lang, Canadian country-pop singer-songwriter, known for her campy performances, androgynous look, and mezzo-soprano range, winning CCMA's Entertainer of the Year Award in 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1990, Best Album 1988 for Shadowland, and the American Grammy Awards for Best Country Vocal Collaboration 1989 for "Crying" (shared with Roy Orbison), and Best Female Country Music Performance 1990, for Absolute Torch and Twang. Loretta Lynn, arguably country music's biggest star in the 1960s and early 1970s Barbara Mandrell, first artist to win Country Music Entertainer of the Year back to back. 1980 and 1981 from both the ACM & CMA. Known for having songs crossover to the pop charts. Had the last successful country music variety show on NBC 1980-1982. Had multiple hits in the late 70's thru the late 80's. Could sing, dance and play over 10+ instruments. Roger Miller, songwriter and Grammy record-breaker Ronnie Milsap, country's first blind superstar and arguably the most popular country star of the late 1970s and early 1980s; scored 40 No. 1 hits (35 of which reached the top spot on Billboard) Melba Montgomery, duet vocalist in the 60s, who launched a solo career in the 70s Anne Murray, Prominent Canadian country-pop vocalist best known for the songs Snowbird, Could I Have This Dance, You Needed Me and other hits in the 1970s-1980s. Willie Nelson, songwriter and one of the leaders of the outlaw country sound Marie Osmond, Youngest female to date to have a No. 1 country hit, with " Paper Roses" in 1973, and also had a string of country hits in the mid-1980s such as;" Meet Me in Montana" (with Dan Seals), "There's No Stopping Your Heart", "Read My Lips", "You're Still New To Me" (with Paul Davis), and "I Only Wanted You". Norma Jean, gifted "hard country" vocalist, known also as Pretty Miss Norma Jean Buck Owens, Hottest artist of the '60s, pioneer innovator of the Bakersfield sound Dolly Parton, one of the most successful female country artist in history Ray Price, traditional country star of the '50s and '60s, who experienced pop success in the '70s and '80s Charley Pride, the first black country music star Jeanne Pruett, female vocalist of the 70s, best known for the song " Satin Sheets" Bonnie Raitt, an American blues singer-songwriter and a renowned slide guitar player Susan Raye, Buck Owens' protégée who became a solo star with moderate success Jim Reeves, crossover artist, invented Nashville Sound with Chet Atkins Charlie Rich, '50s rock star who enjoyed greatest success in '70s country Marty Robbins, one of the most popular artists in country music history. Named artist of the decade (1960–1969) by the Academy of Country Music Jeannie C. Riley, sexy girl in a miniskirt who socked it to the pop charts with " Harper Valley PTA." Kenny Rogers, unique-voiced storyteller who also recorded love ballads and more rock material. He defined what was known as country crossover and became one of the biggest artists in country and any music genre. Jeannie Seely, known as "Miss Country Soul" Billy Joe Shaver, songwriter, wrote all but one song on Waylon Jennings' groundbreaking Honky Tonk Heroes album Connie Smith, recorded " Once a Day, the longest stay at No. 1 for any female country artist Margo Smith, known for her sexy come-on songs Sammi Smith, best known for her "husky" voice and 1971 hit song " Help Me Make It Through the Night" Sylvia, Countrypolitan sensation the early to mid-80s Billie Jo Spears, a hard-country vocalist with primarily international popularity Ray Stevens, comedy crossover artist, Branson businessman Mel Tillis, country music legend and father of country singer Pam Tillis. Tanya Tucker, teen Country star whose career later spanned well beyond her teen years Conway Twitty, scored 55 No. 1 hits(The most all time) Townes Van Zandt, songwriter, troubador Porter Wagoner, pioneer on country television Gene Watson, Texas country music cult legend, who gained national success after Love in the Hot Afternoon Dottie West, one of Country music's most influential and groundbreaking female artists The Wilburn Brothers, popular male duet for decades Don Williams, aka "The Gentle Giant" with many popular hits Hank Williams, Jr., Leader in the Outlaw country movement. Multi-instrumental talent, and song writing star. Won several awards. Son of Hank Williams Sr. Tammy Wynette, three-time CMA top female vocalist Faron Young, a country chart topper for three decades Ferlin Husky, country music singer who was equally adept at the genres of traditional honky honk, ballads, spoken recitations, and rockabilly pop tunes Hank Locklin, early honky-tonk singer-songwriter who had hits that charted from 1949–1971 .38 Special The Allman Brothers Band, the most successful southern rock band in history The Band, started out backing up Bob Dylan and their Music from Big Pink is a classic record Black Oak Arkansas Blackberry Smoke Blackfoot The Byrds Charlie Daniels Band Gene Clark Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen Creedence Clearwater Revival, songs like Born on the Bayou helped to create the country rock genre Desert Rose Band The Eagles, a very popular country rock band The Everly Brothers, predated others in this category but important figures in the transition from rockabilly to country rock The First Edition Flying Burrito Brothers Kinky Friedman Grateful Dead, extremely long-lived bluegrass and psychedelic band Emmylou Harris Heartsfield KANE The Kentucky Headhunters Chris LeDoux Lynyrd Skynyrd, a very popular southern rock band Marshall Tucker Band Ricky Nelson, in the latter stage of his career, particularly on songs such as "Garden Party" Michael Nesmith New Riders of the Purple Sage Juice Newton, the top-selling female country rocker of the 1980s Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Ozark Mountain Daredevils Gram Parsons, a pioneer of the country-rock and alt-country sound. A member of the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, and The Flying Burrito Brothers. Poco Pure Prairie League ( Vince Gill was the lead singer of this group on their biggest pop hit, 1980s "Let Me Love You Tonight.") John Rich Linda Ronstadt, in 1978 Country Music Magazine put her on the cover with the title "Queen Of Country Rock". Southern Pacific (band) Gary Stewart honky tonker and southern rocker, legendary throughout the '70s and early '80s. Steve Young Early 1980s country-music performers [edit ] Late-1980s country-music performers [edit ] Early-1990s country-music performers [edit ] Late-1990s country-music performers [edit ] 2000–2009 country-music performers [edit ] Modern country-music performers, since 2010 [edit ] Red Dirt modern country-music performers [edit ] Country-music performers outside North America [edit ] See also [edit ]