It’s no surprise that most famous country stars are from states such as Texas, Virginia, or Tennessee. It’s the South, a strange and mystical place that Northerners can barely understand. Southerners run around everywhere wearing nothing but American flags, they ride horses instead of cars, and they go to saloons instead of bars. Worst of all they call every kind of soda a coke, even though Coke is a single brand. Those monsters.
Maybe that’s why country has never been as popular in the North as it is in the South. Those reasons, however, haven’t stopped a couple of bold Northerners. These men and women have gone and proven that you don’t have to own a ranch to produce some good country music.
First up is Alison Krauss. She was born and raised in Illinois where she got into music at an early age. In the 30 years that she’s been active in the music industry she has won herself 27 Grammy Awards and 41 nominations with her melodic voice and collaborative work. She might be best known for her work on the soundtrack to the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou.” Fun fact: The movie’s soundtrack sold better than the movie did, the only time in history that has ever happened.
Next up is the country group Rascal Flatts, who originated in Columbus, Ohio when two of the members of the band realized they were cousins and decided to make a band with one another. These guys have only been around half as long as our previous artist, but they have consecutively put up chart topping singles. The group has done well to bring country to the younger generations, and has a habit of giving old songs a nice modern touch.
This next artist is a little less known than the other two, but since his debut album in 2001, he has received plenty of praise from both critics and fans alike. Jeffrey Foucault grew up in southeastern Wisconsin, went to college, left college to work on the family farm, then went back to get a history degree (same as me), then finally write his first album. His voice is quiet yet powerful all at once, giving his songs an added weight. Listening to him can take a person back to the days of the old west, painting an image of a man watching the sun set on the open prairie. It’s powerful stuff, something one might not expect from a Yankee.
Our final artist is technically from the the South, just not the American South. But he still gets a spot on the list. Keith Urban was raised in rural Australia where he began his country singing career in 1991, moving to the United States just a year later, and starting his solo career in 2000. It always surprises me how well Australians can imitate an American accent, and it blows my mind even more that he adds that little bit of country twang to it. He’s accomplished a great deal in his past 13 years of country stardom, winning awards from all over for both his music videos and albums.
Those are just a few examples that show it doesn’t matter how big your belt buckle is or where you’re from. It’s possible for good country to come from anywhere.
Written by Jacob Conflitti