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Top 15 Country Artists That Impressed Me the Most in 2021


The year 2021... oh what a year.

I graduated from college. Moved back home. Started my career. And the virus is still lurking in the shadows.

It was a great year... for some. Not for me. But I'm sure for some.

However, even with a bland year such as 2021, there was a lot of great music. As the year was drawing to a close last night, I couldn't help but think about all of the new country artists I discovered over those long 12 months.

Before we jump into this list, I wanted to point out that I know some of these artists have been around for a few years. I understand that these artists aren't necessarily new to the scene as they have been grinding for years.

However, all of these artists are new to me as I never listened to them before 2021.

Also, don't say that there are no female artists in the country music genre. I believe the argument is mostly that there aren't many female country artists that win big awards. But nonetheless, I was honestly surprised while writing my list that the majority of these artists are females.

2021 was definitely the year for females in the country music genre. They absolutely dominated.

With all that being said, let's get into the list of the top 15 country artists that I discovered over the last year.

15. Marcy Grace


Marcy Grace is one that I would have never heard of if she did not follow me on Instagram a few months ago. But she did, and I am grateful.

Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, Marcy Grace is a fresh up and comer in country music. The reason she is last in the list is just because she doesn't have a whole lot of music.

But I ain't lying when I say that her song, "Empty Hearted", is an absolute smash. There's something nostalgic about it that leaves me hitting the repeat button every time.

14. Callista Clark


Funny story about this one.

Callista Clark is a woman that I just learned about a couple weeks ago. However, I have heard her single, "It's Cause I Am", for a month or so because it has been playing non stop on the radio.

The thing is, I thought the song was song by someone completely different. I was picturing a woman in her mid-30's for some reason. I think it is because she has a huge voice for such a young artists.

I was watching CMT when Carly Pearce mentioned Clark's name. So, I looked her up and that's when I realized who she was. I thought, "I really like that song". When I saw a picture of her I couldn't believe it. A huge voice comes out of a tiny little lady like herself.

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Either way, she is the future of country music and I can't wait to see what she does.

13. Tenille Arts


This is one of the artists who I know have been around for a few years, but I never gave her a chance until this past year.

I had just gone through a break-up (actually, I discovered a lot of the female artists after this said break-up) and I found Tenille Arts' song, "I Hate This". After hearing that song, I was hooked. I became an instant fan.

Then I found, "Somebody Like That", and realized that I have heard her before. But I never truly "discovered" her music until this past year.

12. Meghan Patrick


I only pray that artists such as Meghan Patrick get the recognition they deserve. These are the women who are keeping the traditional sound of country music alive and well. And I only hope that they continue to do so.

Seriously, go check her out and show her some love.

11. Caylee Hammack


It's amazing what a huge name like Chris Stapleton can do to a country song. Before Stapleton provided some back up vocals on Caylee Hammack's "Small Town Hypocrite", I had no idea who she was.

But hot damn, she needs to hurry up and blow country radio up. She is a power house. A force to be reckoned with. A storyteller with an incredible story to tell. Keep them coming, Miss Hammack.

10. Hannah Dasher


I give all credit to YouTuber Grady Smith all credit on this one. Without him, I would've never discovered Hannah Dasher.

Just look at her, her entire persona screams huge personality. With her flashing wardrobe and big hair, there's no denying that this woman is a total diva. And I am all for it.

The best thing about Dasher is that she is who she is. No games. She doesn't try to be anything else. Her sassy personality flows through her music that just makes you want to dance.

9. Drew Parker


What is there to be said about Drew Parker that I have not yet said before. His song "While You're Gone" is a top notch country song.

Anything in his collection could easily be a great country hit. Full of heartbreak or full of fun, Parker knows how to make a country song that'll either make you want to cry or drink a beer... or both.

8. Kylie Morgan


Kylie Morgan is a native from Oklahoma. Being from Oklahoma myself, of course I am a huge supporter of hers. I truly believe Oklahoma produces the best country artists.

Morgan has a song that I'm sure every one has heard. "Break Things" is an upbeat jam that is best heard blaring through your car speakers and singing at the top of your lungs.

Oklahoma is proud of you, Kylie Morgan. Keep 'em coming!

7. Charlie Marie


Charlie Marie is 100% traditional country music. Everything form her sound to her voice, there is nothing about her that isn't traditional.

That voice of hers is what makes her so unique. It's too hard too describe. You'll just have to listen to understand. But Marie is an incredible country singer and I cannot stop listening to her. She has a certain way of delivering her songs. Her lyrics are incredibly descriptive. I wish we had more country artists like Marie.

6. Ernest


I knew Ernest as a song writer before he was a performer. With writing credits on songs such as "More Than My Hometown", "Breaking Up Was Easy In the 90's", and "Big, Big Plans", Ernest has proven that he is a gifted song-writer.

Then I found his debut album, "Locals Only", and I am a huge fan. Then over the past year, he released a nostalgic fueled single, "American Rust". And finally, he only just released a future hit single yesterday with Morgan Wallen called "Flower Shops".

The only thing I can say is this guy has a huge career ahead of him and I am pumped for it.

5. Lainey Wilson


"Things a Man Oughta Know" is the hit song from Lainey Wilson. With a clear, smooth voice that sounds incredibly real and true, it's no wonder why Wilson is on the verge of a major breakthrough.

She is a woman who was born to be a huge country artist. It's almost like this whole thing comes naturally to her.

4. Mike and the Moonpies


A band that I slept on for a good while now. That is until their newly released album, "One to Grow On". With songs such as "Brother" that depicts a man trying to find his long lost brother after the passing of their father, and "Hour on the Hour" that tells the story of a song about heartbreak that plays every hour, Mike and the Moonpies have an incredible gift on writing meaningful songs.

Where country radio has become a sort of flashy world full of corporate suits and ties, it is nice and refreshing to have a band that feels like they play for the working man.

Honorable Mentions:

I was caught in a rough patch here. Because I didn't know if I should include these two artists or not, but I would hate if I didn't.

So, coming in our honorable mentions...

Morgan Wallen and Hardy


Obviously, Morgan Wallen is the biggest name in country music at the moment. And Hardy has made a name for himself as both a writer and a performer.

Though, I never gave them the credit they deserve until 2021. In their early career, they both looked like douchey, pretty boys who were trying to be tough country guys. They then changed their whole look to resemble more blue-collar boys rocking mullets.

Morgan Wallen released his record-breaking album and Hardy release his incredible "bro-country" themed album, "A Rock", and then "Hixtape".

Morgan Wallen and Hardy were two of my most listened to country artists these last 12 months. But they are already huge stars so I didn't want to include them in a list centered around unknown and/or up and comers.

So, I decided to add them anyway as an honorable mention. Thank you for all that ya'll do, Morgan Wallen and Hardy.

3. Triston Marez


Another artist that I have talked about before, Triston Marez is another up and comer with a bright future. I discovered Marez through the most underrated Texas country singer, Randall King. There is no doubt that I am a huge fan of King, so when I saw him talking about his buddy, Triston Marez, I had to give him a listen.

Marez has a traditional, old school sound that celebrates country music roots. He would be perfect for a Friday night out on the dance floor. This guy has serious talent.

2. Carly Pearce


Female vocalist of the year winner at the 2021 CMA Awards, Carley Pearce is obviously the queen of mainstream country music this past year. As I said earlier in this article, I discovered Pearce after a rough break-up. Her album, "29", had so much heart that it spoke to me.

Pearce herself had just gone through a divorce and her emotions shined in every song. This is what mainstream country music is supposed to sound like. Pearce is perfect in every way and I pray that Nashville does not destroy her.

Stay true to this sound, Pearce. Stay true.

1. Morgan Wade


I found it hard to decide which country artist was better than the other and where they should all go in this list. However, there was a clear winner in my eyes.

Morgan Wade was a unexpected surprise out of 2021. Rough on the outside, but full of emotion on the inside. Wade has a rough, scratchy voice that comes through so raw and real that it is hard to feel every song that she sings.

All you have to do is listen to the lyrics from her song, "Wilder Days".

"...You say I am too young for you
You're scared I'm too right for you..."

Caught in the middle of maybe this is the right girl for me, but she might bring out the wild side of me that I have been hiding for so long.

Damn. I'm telling you. Morgan Wade is the best female country artist that came out of 2021. We didn't deserve her.

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