Everyday, we listen to a plethora of studio recordings from our artists of choice. We grab our headphones, lift the volume, and let it play. Some listen for the lyrics, some listen for the instruments, some for the voice. I’m here to talk about that voice, and what makes it worthy of your ears. Who’s got the best one? Who’s worth listening to? There are so many country artists who wouldn’t even make it past the first round of the Voice yet they still reach stardom. I’d rather listen for raw talent.
I rank singing with vocal range, pitch control, falsetto stability, and overall training skill set; not just what sounds good on the radio, but what gives you chills when you listen to. When I think of that, I think of Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, but that’s just me. I grew up knowing those people were the best vocally. People like Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett, or even Blake Shelton have the smoothest of sounds, and are doing extremely well for themselves, but are they really the BEST singers? Do they impress you with the notes they hit? I think not…yet they still reach the top charts. When I think of people who DESERVE to top the chart, I think Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw, and Carrie Underwood, but here are some that may have slipped the radar.
A great singer in an acoustic recording is hard to come by in country music, but surprisingly enough, Sam Hunt (yes, Sam Hunt) did a wildly good job with his acoustic album. Listening through it all caused me to believe that he really is a good singer. He crushes the track “Come Over,” made famous by Kenny Chesney. Funny thing is, Sam Hunt wrote the song, and I actually like his better (especially at 1:21 when he vibratos the “anyone else” with power). Sam has a smooth tone, and though his riffs and runs aren’t spectacular, he can hold pitch very well. I think his album “Montevallo” actually hurt his chances of being thought of as an actual talent. His acoustic album, however, gives reason to think otherwise.
Dan + Shay have a spectacular vocal range that they display in “19 You and Me”. They’re new to the scene of country music, and maybe they benefit from the changing ways of the genre to a more pop-sound. They don’t necessarily have a twang, but they certainly do have talent, belting out the lines each time the chorus comes around, and they hold their notes out. Just take a listen, and I hope you’ll agree with me.
Lastly, I’ll stick with Josh Turner. The man can sing! He’s got a range as low as railroad tracks, but can bring it up to a baritone level, proving his 3-octave vocal range. Everyone (including myself) dips their chin to their chest and raises their eyebrows to try and sing along with “Your Man,” while he does so with ease. He’s just gifted with it, and there’s no training that can teach him to reach such a low register. It’s unfair, but he’s one of best due to that range and he sounds phenomenal live.
These are just a few artists who have showcased their talent and impressed me. I know these names may seem a bit unexpected, but I can’t get over how weak some of the most popular vocalists truly are. Am I wrong? Who do you think is the best?