The 20 Most Underrated Country Stars Of All Time

Country music has produced some big stars over the years who’ve gone on to enjoy major success: Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson are just a couple of examples. But while those figures have dominated the spotlight, a whole group of unsung artists have also been contributing to the genre for decades. And it’s time they got their due! So grab your cowboy hats and rhinestones: we’re about to run down the 20 most underrated country stars to ever take to the microphone.

1. Townes Van Zandt

Aside from having a name that just screamed “country music,” Townes Van Zandt was a true talent who had the tools to dominate the genre. He fit outlaw country like a glove.

The singer-songwriter produced several melancholic tracks across his career that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the oeuvre of Neil Young or Bob Dylan. We’d recommend “Waiting Around To Die” and “Lungs” if you fancy a good sob!

Fear of fame?

But why wasn’t Van Zandt a more mainstream name in the genre? Well, part of it was down to his own reluctance to pursue fame. He feared what it could’ve done to his career. That’s why Van Zandt didn’t want to work with Dylan whenever the chance arose, despite admiring him.

Mind you, there were other factors at play here, too. For once, the artist had a history of struggling against serious substance abuse issues throughout his life, prior to his death on New Year’s Day in 1997.

2. The Louvin Brothers

Although their names might not carry the weight of some of their country contemporaries, one thing can’t be denied about Charlie and Ira Louvin. They were true pioneers of the scene throughout the 1950s.

Known simply as The Louvin Brothers, their wonderful harmonies inspired lots of future figures within the genre. Tracks such as “When I Stop Dreaming,” “Knoxville Girl,” and “I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby” are stone-cold classics!

Elvis was a huge fan!

The band’s gospel influences can’t be ignored, either, and a certain Elvis Presley loved that side of their work! Yet The Louvin Brothers could’ve been even bigger stars at the height of their fame. The siblings recorded a host of songs in the past that they didn’t actually release.

Instead, other singers took the tracks on: Roy Acuff’s “Streamline Heartbreaker” and Carl Story’s “Love and Wealth” were just a couple of examples. Ira and Charlie’s original versions finally came out via a compilation record in 2018.