Who are the most significant musical artists in the United States today? That is the question that this list attempts to answer. Today, the first five are released, featuring country darlings and American Idol winners.
50 – Eric Church
Country-rock artist Eric Church has been one of the most consistent acts in his genre since his 2006 debut, with each of his four albums being certified gold or better in the United States and Canada. His 2011 album Chief has sold 1.7 million copies and made Billboard’s year-end albums chart in 2012 and 2013. He is frequently nominated for Grammy’s, but thus far never in one of the major categories.
49 – Kacey Musgraves
Musgraves’ songs of triumphs and tragedies in small-town America have won over both critics and Grammy voters. Her acclaimed 2013 major-label debut Same Trailer, Different Park was ranked 10th on the Pazz & Jop poll, while she snagged a Best New Artist nomination and upset Taylor Swift to win the Best Country Album award at the Grammy’s. Her chart performance has been steady, but not outstanding enough to make the year-end charts. However, that could change this year.
48 – Carrie Underwood
The 2005 American Idol winner’s career is still going strong years after her appearance on the show and her initial crossover success. Although she has not been able to fully replicate the chart performance of her debut, her most recent album (2012’s Blown Away) has gone platinum and produced the hits “Good Girl” and “Blown Away.”
47 – Phillip Phillips
Speaking of American Idol winners, Phillip Phillips won the 2012 edition of the contest and had the best-selling debut single of any American Idol winner with “Home.” His first album, The World from the Side of the Moon, debuted at #6 and went on to sell a shade over one million copies. However, he has struggled to match the chart performance of his debut single, with subsequent singles peaking at 24 (2012’s “Gone, Gone, Gone”) and 58 (2014’s “Raging Fire,” which dropped off the charts after one week).
46 – LMFAO
Though much-maligned in some circles, LMFAO scored two massive hit singles from their 2011 album Sorry for Party Rocking. “Party Rock Anthem” was the second-biggest song in the United States in 2011 according to Billboard’s end-of-year chart. More surprising, “Party Rock Anthem” was ranked as the 30th best single in the 2011 Pazz & Jop poll. The group is currently on hiatus, although member Redfoo has kept himself busy by scoring solo hits in Australia and failing to qualify for the US Open.
Image Credit: Kelly Christine Musgraves / via Country Weekly