Our final “Best of 2010” list focuses on the five artists who, in our opinion, have done an amazing job representing country music this year. These five artists have all hit number one on at least one of Billboard’s country charts and have shined a positive light on country music. Let’s reveal who ATC thought were 2010’s Artists of the Year.
5. Easton Corbin
It takes a lot for a newcomer to impress me but Florida native Easton Corbin has done just that this year. Corbin skyrocketed to the top of the charts not once, but twice this year with his first two singles “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It” while his album, Easton Corbin, debuted inside the top five of the country albums chart. In fact, his album also made our list of the top five albums of the year.
After seeing him in concert twice this year, it’s hard not to imagine this young heartthrob becoming one of country’s finest traditionalists and one of the genre’s best representatives. In his debut year, Corbin has already toured with Entertainer of the Year Brad Paisley and nabbed three CMA nominations as well as seven American Country Awards nominations (he went on to win three ACA’s). He was just named Billboard’s Top New Country Artist for 2010. Look for Easton to be around for a long time.
4. Jason Aldean
Jason Aldean is probably the most under appreciated artist in country music. This year, Aldean has strung together smash hit singles with “Crazy Town,” and “My Kinda Party.” Jason’s newest single, his duet with Kelly Clarkson, “Don’t You Wanna Stay” could prove to be his career making hit. His third studio album, Wide Open, has been consistently inside the top 10 country albums throughout the year while his fourth, My Kinda Party, had one of the biggest selling debut weeks from a male artist in a few years.
After headlining last year’s CMT on Tour, Jason moved onto headline his own tour this year and is quickly becoming one of the genres newest superstars. Just recently, Jason was honored as one of CMT’s Artists of the Year along with Lady A, Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band, and Taylor Swift.
3. Carrie Underwood
Just as Miranda Lambert has proven you don’t always need to win a talent competition, Carrie Underwood has proven that it doesn’t hurt to win a talent competition. Since her run to the title on the 2004 season of American Idol, Carrie Underwood has been on top of the country music world and has yet to come down. This year, Carrie continued to sell copies of her 2009 album, Play On, while sending two more singles to the top of the chart (“Temporary Home” and “Undo It”).
What makes Carrie one of ATC’s top five artists of the year is the incredible tour she put together in this year’s Play On Tour. Carrie performed in front of nearly one million fans and the tour helped propel her to become the first woman to win the ACM Entertainer of the Year award twice. Carrie keeps continuing to rewrite the country music’s history books so there’s no telling what she can accomplish in 2011.
2. Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert has proven that you don’t need to win a talent competition to make it big in country music. The Texas native placed third on the first season of Nashville Star and has since seen her career rise from a talented newcomer to country’s newest leading lady. 2010 has been a career milestone for Miranda Lambert and could go down as the best year of her career.
This year, Miranda scored her first top five hit with “White Liar,” but it was the follow-up single that has taken Miranda to the next level. Her brilliant single, “The House That Built Me,” not only became her first number one single but also spent four weeks atop the Billboard chart and was named the CMA Song of the Year and topped ATC’s list of the best singles of the year. She was named Female Vocalist of the Year by both the ACM’s and CMA’s and also claimed both organization’s Album of the Year for her masterpiece, Revolution. She also made history by receiving 9 CMA nominations which is the most for any female artist in the CMA’s history. 2011 could turn out to be another fairytale year since she’s just been nominated for four Grammy awards.
It was just a little over two short years ago when I was fortunate enough to meet a new country band called Lady Antebellum when they performed in a local high school auditorium. After their performance, I knew Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood were going to be superstars, but I never imagined they’d take the country music scene by storm. This year they’ve experience the true meaning of a breakthrough year which is the reason why Lady A tops ATC’s Artists of the Year list for the second year in a row.
Their sophomore album Need You Now was released in January and is not only the best selling country album but it’s also been certified triple platinum. Need You Now also claimed the title as ATC’s best album of the year. The group also added two more number one songs to their credit this year in “American Honey” and “Our Kind of Love.” They’ve racked up several ACM, CMA, and American Music Awards and are currently up for a whopping six Grammy awards including the overall Album of the Year trophy. Along with the chart and awards success, the group headlined their first tour and received their first CMA Entertainer of the Year nomination. They’ve repeatedly stated that they will probably never have a year like 2010 again, but I beg to differ. This is only the beginning for this trio that has what it takes to become this generation’s leading group.