Top country artists of 2019
There is country music and then there is top country music, with some singers shining just a little bit brighter with their lyrics and voices. While some country music and artists age better with time, youngbloods continue to come onto the scene with chart-topping songs. Stacker compiled Billboard data on the Top Country Artists of 2019 to find those considered the best of the year.
Billboard uses a hybrid formula made up of Nielsen Music data from sales, radio, and streaming to rank the artists. The following 50 country singers are at the top of their game. Add in all of the Country Music Association (CMA) and Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM) accolades so many of these artists have received and it’s clear why they’re so popular.
Country music’s common themes of Christianity, broken hearts, and heavy drinking run through many of the noted song titles. Another commonality among many of the top country artists of 2019 is that they call Nashville—the birthplace of the music genre—home. While some artists, including Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood, have numerous hits, newcomers like Cody Johnson and Mitchell Tenpenny made the list with only one Billboard chart-topper.
Notably absent from the 2019 list are Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, who topped the country charts briefly at the beginning of the year with the crossover hit “Old Town Road,” before the song was removed by Billboard. The song broke the record for most weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.
Read on to find out the top country artists of 2019.
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#50. Brantley Gilbert
Exactly one decade from his first single release, Georgia native Brantley Gilbert was nominated for the CMA’s Collaborative Video of the Year for “What Happens in a Small Town,” a hit duet with Lindsay Ell that peaked at #53 in November. Though the song was Ell’s first #1 hit, it was Gilbert’s fifth since his 2009 debut. The country singer followed the single with his Dec. 2 release of “Fire’t Up.” Two other chart-topping songs, including “Not Like Us,” and “Man That Hung the Moon” off the 2019 album “Fire & Brimstone” also got Gilbert noticed again.
#49. Chris Janson
Chris Janson continued to top country music charts with his 2019 song “Good Vibes,” which peaked at #48 on Billboard in October, and “Done,” which was a turning point in his career, according to the Missouri native, who calls the tune “a mid-90s down-the-middle-of-the-road hit.” “Done,” which Janson wrote at his house with no schedule, followed his 2017 top songs “Drunk Girl,” and “Fix a Drink,” and his 2015 hit “Buy Me a Boat.”
#48. Lady Antebellum
Troup Lady Antebellum made a comeback with the country trio’s 2019 album “Ocean,” which according to the guitar player and lead singer Charles Kelley, came about during a “band mid-life crisis.” Members Hilary Scott and Dave Haywood formed the group with Kelley in 2006, breaking out as the guest vocalists on Jim Brickman’s #14 Billboard hit “Never Alone” by 2007. Twelve years later, the trio pulled from real-life experiences, including Kelley’s drinking problem and marital issues, depicted in “Be Patient With My Love.”
#47. Jake Owen
Florida-born Jake Owen's August 2018 hit "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)," a tribute to John Cougar Mellencamp, kept the singer on the top country artists of 2019 chart. His most recent single "Homemade," that details his grandparent's 70-year love affair is also a 14-minute short film. Owen's first solo hit on the Billboard chart was "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" in 2011, which followed 2008’s "Life in a Northern Town," which was a Sugarland hit featuring Owen and Little Big Town.
#46. Eli Young Band
Nominated for the 2019 CMT’s Group Video of the Year for its hit “Love Ain’t,” which peaked in May at #50, the Eli Young Band has continued to find success since its 2002 start. The four-person band, whose members met as University of North Texas students at the turn of the century, saw their first hit Billboard song in 2009 with “Always the Love Songs.” Other Eli Young Band Billboard hits include the 2011 hit “Crazy Girl” that peaked at #30, the 2012 song “Even if it Breaks Your Heart” that peaked at #29,” and the 2013 tune “Drunk Last Night,” that climbed to #41.
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#45. Dustin Lynch
Dustin Lynch’s “Good Girl” put him back on the Billboard chart in 2019 since listing him at #36 in September 2017 for “Small Town Boy.” In January, Lynch peaked at #44 for “Good Girl,” which along with “Small Town Boy” got the Tennessee native inducted into country music’s Grand Ole Opry by Reba McEntire. Lynch was so moved by McEntire’s induction speech that he kept the tissue she handed him when he started to cry.
#44. Brett Eldredge
Though Brett Eldredge’s last Billboard hit “Wanna Be That Song” peaked at #46 in January 2017, the singer was still considered one of the top 2019 artists as he began his 10-city Glow Live Christmas tour based off his album “Glow” released three years ago. The hit song off the album, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” with pop star Meghan Trainor, gives the Illinois native extra radio airtime each holiday season.
#43. Chris Young
Featured in CMT's December 2019 “Crossroads” series alongside Gavin DeGraw, Chris Young gives a standing-room-only performance a decade after he first graced the Billboard Hot 100 with 2009’s “Gettin’ You Home.” Young, who peaked at #33 on the Billboard charts in Dec. 2015 for “I’m Comin Over,” has had a lot of airtime in 2019 with his hit song “Raised on Country.” The Tennessee native was discovered on USA Network’s fourth season of Nashville Star.
#42. Riley Green
Riley Green joined the top country artists of 2019 based on his Billboard hit and first single, “There Was This Girl,” which peaked at #70 in May. He followed up with his first album “Different ’Round Here” in September, but controversy surrounded the song, “Bury Me in Dixie,” which he pulled from streaming in October. The lyrics “I wish Robert E. Lee could come and take a bow” offended some listeners.
#41. Justin Moore
The recent hit “The Ones That Didn’t Make it Back Home,” made Justin Moore just a bit more famous in his own house. The Arkansas-born singer’s connection to the song about fallen soldiers is through both grandfathers who served in the military. Even the singer said he is surprised that the tune, that peaked at #46 in August, has remained so popular a year after its release, noting, “the song has been such a blessing in my career, and I think it always will be.”
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