Country Musicians Then and Now


George Strait Then

We were first gifted with George Strait back in the 1980’s. He gave us Texan style hits that were remarkably fresh for their time. You’ll remember him for songs like All My Ex’s Live in Texas, Baby Blue and Ace In The Hole. His career didn’t end with country music though, he also acted. He most recently did voice acting in King of The Hill, but you can also catch him in the 1990’s classic, Pure Country.

George Strait

George Strait Now

His career is music didn’t stop in the 1980’s. He has produced a stack of hits all throughout the 1990’s and into today. He has worked hard and garnered the title the King of Country. He is also in the country music hall of fame. As of the present time, many may think that age has probably slowed him down, but it hasn’t. He just released his latest record Cold Beer Conversation in 2015. He is also a grandfather now.

George Strait2

Clint Black Then

Clint Black came out onto the scene at the clear end of the 1980’s with his album Killin’ Time. The album was an immediate hit that scored five tracks that raced to the top of the country music charts. He followed that success with his 1990 album, Put Yourself in My Shoes, which was also a huge success. Most will be shocked to know that this country star was actually born in New Jersey, but he moved to Texas when he was one.

Clint Black

Clint Black Now

Once he had his daughter in 2001, he decided to take a break from making music to focus raising his kid. He describes this as not the best move for his career, but the best move he could have made as a father. This doesn’t mean he hasn’t released a few album here and there. He has also started up an acting career. He has most recently appeared in the Flicka series, but his most famous film appearance goes back to the 1990’s when he scored a role in Maverick.


Josh Abbott Band Then

Hailing from Lubbock, Texas, the Josh Abbott Band isn’t as old as some of the other stars on this list. They became a Lubbock sensation in 2007 and then began touring as early as 2008. In 2009 they released their first album, Scapegoat. It was their second album that really propelled them from a touring indie band into stars. She’s Like Texas shocked the world when it actually charted.


Josh Abbott Band Now

The Josh Abbott Band has long left the dust of small town Lubbock behind and have been releasing a slew of successful albums. They are touring and rolling with the greats. 2015’s Front Row Seat and 2017’s Until My Voice Goes Out has established the bands as to top contenders in the world of country music. They were also present at the Las Vegas shooting to which lead guitarist, Caleb Keeter has stated that he now calls for gun control. He has always supported the 2nd amendment, but the events of that night changed his life.

Josh Abbott Band Performs a Live Concert for SiriusXM Subscribers At "The World's Largest Truckstop"

Dolly Parton Then

It goes without saying, Dolly Parton is probably one of the most famous country singers to ever walk the globe and likely the most famous female in the genre. She first made her debut fifty years ago with her debut album, Hello, I’m Dolly. Though everyone knows that the height of her fame came in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. It was during this time that she released a slew of hit albums. The 1980’s also saw her debut as an actress. She’ll be best remembered for classics like 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton Now

As of today Dolly Parton is 71-years-old, although you wouldn’t believe that by looking at her, as she looks just as beautiful today as she did thirty years ago. In terms of music and acting, the ageless singer/actress is still going strong. She released Pure & Simple, her 43rd album in 2016. She has also continued to act. Her latest roles were 2012’s Joyful Noise and 2011’s Gnomeo and Juliet. Although she is a bit up in age, I think we can expect a lot more to come from this girl.

Dolly Parton2

Jason Aldean Then

Jason Aldean first came into our lives back in 2005 when he released his self-titled debut album. It produced three huge singles that propelled him into super stardom. These hits were of course Amarillo Sky, Why and Hicktown. The young man became an instant sensation and topped his first album two years later when he released his sophomore album, Relentless. The album was huge and sold 98,000 copies in its first week of being released. It went gold the same year it was released.

Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean Now

Jason Aldean has since established himself as one of country music’s top performers of the modern times. 19 of his singles have reached number 1 on the country music charts. In 2016 he was awarded the ACM Entertainer of The Year award. Controversially he was caught in the carnage that took place during the Route 91 Harvest Festival this year. He was the headliner of the show and during his last song the largest mass shooting in American history took place. He and his band were unharmed.

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Kris Kristofferson Then

Kris Kristofferson was no doubt one of the leading sounds of the 1970’s. Younger folks won’t understand the impact that this guy had, but he was monumentally huge. He released his debut album in 1970 and became an immediate hit. He got a number of Grammy awards. He also did a lot of acting. One of the biggest films he was in was the Martin Scorsese classic, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. He was also in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid and  A Star is Born where he won a Golden Globe for best actor. It should also be noted that in 1985 he joined The Highwaymen, a country music super group that consisted of him, Willy Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.

Kris Kristofferson

Kris Kristofferson Now

Despite being 81-years-old, Kristofferson is still pushing out new music and a award winning worthy music at that. His latest released was 2015’s The Cedar Creek Sessions and it was nominated for a Grammy Award. His acting career has perhaps been going stronger than his music career at this point. He is set to be in a film documenting the life of country singer, Blaze Foley in 2018.

Kris Kristofferson2

Tim McGraw Then

Tim McGraw wasn’t exactly an instant hit when he first hit the scenes in 1993. His debut album didn’t receive any awards, high charting positions or any absolute raving reviews. It was his second album, Not a Moment Too Soon that turned him into a star. The 1994 release would be followed by a slew of successful albums throughout the 1990’s and into the 2000’s. During the late 1990’s he also acted for the first time. His career in front of the camera was launched when he appeared on The Jeff Foxworthy Show.

Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw Now

His newest albums aren’t exactly cracking the charts like they used to, but they guy has a lot on his plate. He married Faith Hill and they two have three daughters together. He has also been acting in bigger films such as The Blind Side, Friday Night Lights and Four Christmases. This doesn’t mean he has given up on music though. His last album was 2015’s Damn Country Music. It was his fourteenth album.

Tim McGraw2

Reba McEntire Then

While most probably only ever recognized her when she appeared on her own television sitcom, Reba has actually been in the spotlight for years. She released her first studio record back in 1977, but didn’t really become a star until after a slew of failures. After nine years making no impact, she finally made it big with 1980’s Whoever’s in New England. From there she released more classics like 1990’s Rumor Has It. She found most of her success in the 1990’s.

Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire Now

The 2000’s saw her take a step towards acting when she premiered her own sitcom titled Reba. It was about her tackling the life of a newly single mother. It was the most successful show on the WB between 2001 and 2006. Then it came to an end. In 2011 she returned to television with a show called Malibu Country. It didn’t didn’t do so well and ended after a single season. Currently she is trying to sell a new show.

Reba McEntire2

The Dixie Chicks Then

The Dixie Chicks quietly came onto the scene with their 1990 debut album, Thank Heavens for Dale Evans. Back then you wouldn’t even recognize them for what they are today. There were four Dixie Chicks at that time and famous vocalist, Natalie Maines wasn’t one of them. In fact she wouldn’t come onto the scene until three albums later with their 1998 hit, Wide Open Spaces. This was the formation that would cause havoc when they slander George W. Bush.

The Dixie Chicks

The Dixie Chicks Now

The Dixie Chicks haven’t released an album of new material since 2006. Although they have recently released a single with Beyonce called Daddy’s Lessons. They also just got off of a world tour that ended earlier this year. Given that and the single, I think it is safe to say that we can soon expect to see a comeback album by the Dixie Chicks. We can at least hope for it.

Dixie Chicks, Emily Robison, Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire

Loretta Lynn Then

The 85-year-old star first hit the country music scene over fifty years ago in 1960. She released her first album in 1963. It was simply called Loretta Lynn Sings. She first broke major ground when she released her timeless classic in 1970, Coal Miner’s Daughter. It remains a staple in classic country music till this very day. She would go on to release albums for decades to come.

Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn Now

Loretta Lynn is somewhat of a living legend. Country music has been her life since she started releasing music in 1960. She has consistently released a new album almost yearly since her debut. Her latest release was 2016’s Full Circle. It was met with great acclaim. Given the title of the album, some thought it’d be her last, but she is scheduled to release another album in 2018 called Wouldn’t It Be Good. It would have been released earlier if she hadn’t suffered a minor stroke.

Loretta Lynn2

Keith Urban Then

The New Zealand born country singer was born far from the country, but that didn’t stop him from working his way into the top of the charts. When he released his self-titled debut album in 1991, it didn’t exactly make waves in America. It was his second self-titled album in 1999 that brought him into our lives. The album was a smash hit and he’d continue on a steady path to success.

Keith Urban

Keith Urban Now

Some eighteen years after making his big America debut, Keith Urban pretty much looks the same today as he did back then. With his paint blonde tips and boyish face, few things have changed about the country singer. He recently released Ripcord, his most recent album and like all that came before it, it was a chart topping hit. Just one year after its release it was certified platinum.

Keith Urban2

Toby Keith Then

When Toby Keith first entered the scene, the man looked nothing like he does today. Make sense, as the world was a very different place. It was 1993. His clothing was tight fitted and he had a mullet. His self-titled debut was a groundbreaking album and he’follow on its footsteps throughout the whole 1990’s. Somewhere through that decade he’d find the style we know him for today and become one of country music’s biggest stars.

Toby Keith

Toby Keith Now

It’s 2017 and Toby Keith is still cranking out classics. In 2015 he released the album 35 MPH Town. The album climbed to the top of the country music charts and sold 19,000 copies during its first week of release. Just in September of 2017, Keith released a compilation album titled The Bus Songs. It contained two new tracks, five unreleased songs and five re-recorded songs. It even made it to the top ten on the country music charts.

Toby Keith2

Lee Ann Womack Then

Lee Ann Womack didn’t exactly get the youthful start that most artist do. Having a daughter in 1991, she spent the early years focusing mainly on raising her kid. It was when life was full of turmoil that she came back to the arts. Amidst a divorce she released her self-titled debut album in 1997. All the tensions of her personal life were riddled in the album and made it an instant classic with country music fans. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that she’d make her biggest impact with the hit, I Hope You Dance.

Academy Of Country Music Awards' Artist Of The Decade - Show

Lee Ann Womack Now

Today Lee Ann Womack is 51-years old. With nine studio albums to her names, a fanbase in the millions and a daughter who is also a country singer, she has created quite an empire for herself.  She herself is still releasing new material. Later in the month she is set to release her her ninth studio album, The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone. If it’s anything like her last releases, it is sure to be a hit.

Lee Ann Womack2

Vince Gill Then

We first met Vince Gill in 1979 when he joined the Pure Prairie League. He stuck with them for three albums before releasing his breakthrough EP, Turn Me Loose. Three of its six songs hit the charts. It was from there that he made a name for himself. He released a slew of highly successful albums throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. He even song backup vocals on the Dire Straits album, On Every Street.

Vince Gill

Vince Gill Now

In 2000 Vince Gill married popular Christian singer Amy Grant. It was a move that led him to perform a slew of duets with her. He continued releasing successful music since the turn of century. His last album came in 2016. It was titled, Down to My Last Bad Habit. It was a success with both fans and critics alike. He has since went on tour with Eagles to help them out after the untimely death of Glenn Frey.

2012 Concert For The Rainforest Fund - Show

Hank Williams Jr. Then

One of the great legends of country music is without doubt Hank Williams. That meant that his son had some pretty big shoes to fill when he stepped onto the country music scene in 1964. The world first met him when he sung his father song for the Hank Williams Story soundtrack. He was only 15 at the time. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that he really stepped out of his father’s shadow and made it into his own. 1979’s Family Tradition album was a huge success for him.

Hank Williams Jr.

Hank Williams Jr. Now

Hank Williams Jr. has come a long way since his original 1964 release. He has been releasing music consistent basis since his first release. The peak of his success was in the 1980’s. It was then that almost everything he released would top the charts. His son, Hank William III has also made a name for himself in country music. He has explored outside the genre as well, touching on punk rock and metal.

Hank Williams Jr.2

Billy Ray Cyrus Then

Billy Ray Cyrus first stepped onto the music scene in 1992 with his crossover hit, Achy Breaky Heart. The song was stuck for months on top of the country charts and it even went triple platinum in Australia. It all saw popularized line dancing into the mainstream. His 1992 debut album, Some Gave All, features Achy Breaky Heart along with three other hits. He took the rest of the 1990’s by storm as he was considered a superstar by many.

Billy Ray Cyrus

Billy Ray Cyrus Now

When it comes to mainstream audiences in the present time, he’s probably best known for being the father of Miley Cyrus. As sad as it is, it’s true. Despite that he is still releasing material at a consistent rate. He released Thin Line in 2016 and is set to release a new album in 2017. He has also started acting in the years that have past. He most recently acted in Blaze and The Monster Machines.

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Taylor Swift Then

Most won’t remember this, but before Taylor Swift was ever a big shot pop artist, she was a country singer. If you go back to her earlier material you could catch this. Her 2006, self-titled debut was straight country. One of the singles was even called Tim McGraw and reached the top ten of the country charts. She kept this country image for quite sometime. As of today, things have changed.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift Now

As of today, she has long forgot the country image which pushed her to the top. She has done this very slowly as she moved from straight country, to country pop and then to just pop. Looking at her last tour, you’ll notice that she doesn’t sing any songs from her country period. She now sings for a new audience, but as a fair trade she has become a worldwide star and easily one of the biggest names to grace music in the 2010’s.

Taylor Swift F1 USGP Austin, Texas

Alan Jackson Then

At one point things weren’t looking so hot for Alan Jackson. Back in the 1980’s he was just a normal man working for the post office. It was only after his wife hooked him up with Glen Campbell that his talents were recognized. In 1990 he released his groundbreaking album. Here in the Real World. It produced five hit singles and became one of the top country albums of the 1990’s.

Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson Now

As of today he has released sixteen albums and has sold over 80 million records worldwide. His latest release was back in 2015. It was then that he released Angels and Alcohol. Sadly the album didn’t exactly live up to his name and received a number of harsh reviews. One of the reviews even suggested that it’d be better to burn your money then buy his new record. We’re sure he’ll put in a better effort next time.

Alan Jackson2

Tanya Tucker Then

Tanya Tucker’s whole life has been country music. Let’s take into consideration that she was thirteen when her first album, Delta Dawn, hit the shelves. The album’s hit, Delta Dawn made waves in the world of country music back in 1972. She followed the success up with the 1974 hits, What’s Your Mama’s Name and Blood Red and Goin’ Down. She continued to have great success well into the 1980’s and 1990’s. She even brought on a sexy new image.

Tanya Tucker

Tanya Tucker Now

Through the years she has managed to keep a strong fanbase. Her success dwindled in the 2000’s and her music career slowed significantly. The last album she released was 2009’s My Turn. The album consisted of mainly covers. Her last album of original material came out in 2002. Today she lives a more relaxed life and plays smaller shows as she pleases.

Tanya Tucker after

Emmylou Harris Then

Today she is known as one of the country greats and it was quite obvious that she would be when she released her first album back in 1969. With self-penned songs and a great voice, she made an instant hit out of herself. What really made her career and cemented her as a great was her second album. 1975’s Pieces of the Sky. The whole album is practically made of hits and fan favorites. It set her off on a road to success as each album that followed would be a hit.

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris Now

Over twenty studio albums and 13 Grammys later, Emmylou Harris is still an artist that is well in demand. Even at the age of 70, plenty of music’s top names like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Willie Nelson still want to work with her. Sadly, Emmylou has not released a new album since 2011. She has dedicated most of her focus towards being an activist.

Emmylou Harris after

Mandrell Sisters Then

Barbara, Louise and Irlene together created the iconic Mandrell Sisters. They started producing country hits as early as the 1960’s, but it was in the early 1980’s when they landed on everyone’s radar. It was at that point they delved out of the country scene and began singing country pop. They also had their own variety show in the early 1980’s called Barbara Mandrell and The Mandrell Sisters. Sadly, by the mid 1980’s variety shows lost flare and the show was cancelled. They haven’t performed together since 2000, but hopes are high for a reunion.


mandrell Sisters Now

1984 saw a major setback for the Mandrell sisters when Barbara got into a car accident. She sustained multiple injuries and was out of the world of show business for a long time after that. When she did return she set her focus more on television acting. With Barbara gone, the other sisters couldn’t sustain their careers. Louise released a few unsuccessful solo albums and Irlene became an outdoors woman and is a champion hunter.