The Best of 2011 Country Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


2011 was a great year for country music. Here are some of the best songs of the year.

The Year in Review

In a year that has been full of surprises, the best of 2011 in country music has been a welcome respite. From new names to breakout hits, the past twelve months have yielded a bumper crop of great country tunes. Here, in no particular order, are the best of the best from 2011.

Top 5 Albums

My Way-Paul Anka
Guilty- Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb
American VI: Ain’t No Grave-Johnny Cash
The gift-Susan Boyle
Now That’s What I Call Music! 35

Top 5 Songs

1. “Dirt Road Anthem” by Jason Aldean
2. “Tattoos on This Town” by Jason Aldean
3. “Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson
4. “Take a Back Road” by Rodney Atkins
5. “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton

The Best of 2011

It’s been a great year for country music, with a number of artists releasing great albums. Here are a few of the best of 2011.

Best Male Artist

The best male artist of 2011 was Blake Shelton. He released his fourth studio album, Red River Blue, in July of that year. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making it Shelton’s third consecutive album to do so. It also produced his fifth consecutive number one single on the Country Airplay chart, “Honey Bee”.

Best Female Artist

Carrie Underwood was named Best Female Artist at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, held April 3, 2011, in Las Vegas. This is the fourth time that Underwood has won this award.

Best Group

The year 2011 was a great one for country music, with many great albums and songs being released. One of the best things about country music is the camaraderie between the artists, and 2011 was no exception. Many artists collaborated on songs and albums, including members of Lady Antebellum, Brooks & Dunn, Rascal Flatts, and Zac Brown Band.

The best group of 2011 was undoubtedly Lady Antebellum. The trio released their third album, Own the Night, in September of 2011. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and has been certified platinum by the RIAA. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Country Album. The album’s first single, “Just a Kiss,” peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and won a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

Best New Artist

The past year has been an exciting one for country music, with many new artists emerging on the scene and making a name for themselves. Here are our picks for the best new artists of 2011.

-Luke Bryan: One of the most successful new artists of the year, Bryan combines traditional country sounds with a more modern sensibility. His debut album, “tailgates & tanlines,” was a huge hit, spawning severalNumber One singles.

-The Band Perry: Another massively successful new act, The Band Perry is a trio made up of siblings Kimberly, Reid, and Neil Perry. Their debut album, “All Your Life,” has been a huge success, producing several hit singles.

-Scotty McCreery: McCreery was the winner of Season 10 of “American Idol,” and he has gone on to enjoy great success with his debut album, “Clear as Day.” McCreery’s traditional country sound has resonated with fans and he is quickly becoming one of the genre’s hottest new stars.

The Worst of 2011

It was a tough year for country music. A lot of artists released disappointing albums, and even more failed to meet expectations. Here are the worst offenders of 2011.

Worst Male Artist

This was a shockingly difficult decision to make, because, in all honesty, no male artist released an album that was good enough to warrant a place on this list. However, after much deliberation, we have decided that the title of worst male artist of 2011 goes to Jerrod Niemann.

Niemann’s self-titled album was released in June of 2011 to much fanfare. Unfortunately, the excitement was short-lived, as the album failed to live up to even the lowest of expectations. The songs are bland and uninspired, and Niemann’s voice is grating and nasal. This is an album that is best forgotten.

Worst Female Artist

1. Reba McEntire – Reba didn’t have the best year in terms of album sales or critical acclaim, but she’s still one of the most popular country artists out there.
2. Miranda Lambert – Miranda’s album Four the Record was well-received by critics, but it failed to match the success of her previous release, Revolution.
3. Taylor Swift – 2011 was a tough year for Taylor, as her highly-anticipated album Red failed to live up to expectations and she was beset by personal problems, including a very public break-up with country star Jake Gyllenhaal.
4. Carrie Underwood – Carrie had a good year in terms of album sales and endorsements, but her music was largely overshadowed by her personal life, including her high-profile marriage to Mike Fisher.
5. Kellie Pickler – Kellie’s album 100 Proof was one of the lowest-selling albums of the year, and she failed to make much of a splash on the country charts.

Worst Group

When it comes to groups, there were plenty of options for the worst of 2011. From up-and-comers who failed to deliver on their promise, to established groups who turned in lackluster performances, 2011 was not a good year for country music groups. Here are our picks for the worst group of 2011:

-The Band Perry: This trio had one of the biggest songs of the year with “If I Die Young,” but their debut album was a disappointment. Their follow-up single, “You Lie,” was even worse, and they seemed to disappear from radio after that.

-Eli Young Band: This group had a few hits in 2011, but their overall sound is too poppy and bland for country radio. They also seem to be on the verge of imploding, with members repeatedly quitting and rejoining the band.

-Lady Antebellum: This trio won multiple Grammys in 2010, but they failed to capitalize on that momentum in 2011. Their album sales were down, their singles failed to make a dent on radio, and they seemed to be playing it safe at every turn.

Worst New Artist

The title of Worst New Artist of 2011 goes to….drum roll please….Florida Georgia Line! This is a no-brainer, as they have had one of the worst songs of the year with “Cruise”. It is a terrible, repetitive song that just won’t go away. And unfortunately, it looks like these guys are here to stay, as they have already been nominated for a Grammy. Let’s just hope that they don’t win and that this is the last we hear of them.

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