As 2009 comes to a close, I’ll be sharing my top 5 favorite artists, singles, and albums of the past year. Country music in 2009 can be summed up by one single artist…Taylor Swift. She’s broken countless chart records, sold millions of albums, and racked up a ton of awards all at the tender age of 20. Though she’s been the hottest thing in 2009, she failed to make my top 5 list of favorite artists, mainly due to the fact that I view her mainly as a pop artist. Here are my top 5 favorite artists of 2009.
Number 5: Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley has had another stellar year including 2 more number singles with “Then,” and “Welcome to the Future.” He was named Male Vocalist of the Year by both the CMA and ACM and he co-hosted the CMA awards for the second year in a row. But what makes Brad one of my favorite artists of 2009 is the release of his album American Saturday Night. No doubt is the album one of his finest, but it also showcases him as one of the best mainstream traditionalists in country music.
Number 4: Sugarland
Sugarland continued their rise to country superstardom in 2009 with singles such as “It Happens,” “Love,” and their current heartwrenching ballad “Keep You.” They earned the CMA for Duo of the Year and what they did during their acceptance speech is what helped them make my list. While accepting their award, they invited Brook & Dunn up onstage to say a few words as a goodbye to the CMA awards (B&D will retire after their Last Rodeo tour). Their grace and unselfishness is what makes Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush one of country’s finest artists.
Number 3: Keith Urban
Keith Urban has continued his strong career by topping the charts with his recent album Defying Gravity which yielded singles like “Sweet Thing,” “Kiss a Girl,” and “Only You Can Love Me This Way.” But the reason Urban has landed on my list is his stellar stage performances. During his Escape Together World tour, Urban entertained crowds with his brilliant guitar skills and smooth voice all with little glitz and glam. His shows always ranked high on my list of best concerts of the year and this show was no exception.
Number 2: Carrie Underwood
Though 2009 was a quiet year for Carrie Underwood, she still managed to make my list of top 5 favorite artists of the year. She continued her dominance at radio by adding two more number 1 songs to her credit (“I Told You So” and “Cowboy Casanova”) and she released her third album, Play On. She was also named the ACM’s Entertainer of the Year. However, the reason she made my list was her excellent stint as co-host of this year’s CMA awards. From joking around with co-host Brad Paisley about the fragrances of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill to brilliantly singing parodies of country classics like “Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” Carrie all but sealed the hosting job for the next few years to come.
Number 1: Lady Antebellum
Lady Antebellum can throw the title of ‘newcomer’ away because they’ve cemented themselves as country’s latest “it” group in 2009. They’re accolades are the reason they topped my list of favorite artists of 2009. They earned their first number 1 song with “I Run to You” which nabbed them the CMA Single of the Year trophy. They’re debut album was certified gold early in the year and then platinum towards the end of ’09. The lead off single from their sophomore album Need You Now spent five weeks at number 1. They earned the CMA Vocal Group of the Year trophy at this year’s CMA awards ending the reign of supergroup Rascal Flatts. Yea, it’s safe to say Lady A have had the best year of their career and I see a bigger year for them in 2010.