The countdown of the best albums of the 2000s continues on CML. See if your favorite collections of country songs from the best artists have made the list.
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Top Country Albums 2000-2009 Part 2
20) If You’re Going Through Hell – Rodney Atkins (2006)
If you look up persistant in the country music dictionary you’ll seen an entry describing Rodney Atkins. Starting back in 1997 Rodney released his first single. The track didn’t make much noise on the charts. One more single was released that year before things got quiet for a time.
In 2002 a few more singles followed. These two tracks cracked the top 40 on the charts, but there was no sign of stardom in the future for the persistant country singer.
Then, finally, in 2003 some luck struck. Rodney released the single Honesty and it cracked the top five on the charts. The song became the lone hit single from Rodney’s first album release. The album didn’t sell terribly well, but everything is relative. It looked as if this would be the only shot for Rodney on the charts – those that knew him better would probably say otherwise, though.
In 2006 something strange happened. Rodney released the single If You’re Going Through Hell. The song shot up the charts straight to number one. The track went gold and became a smash hit. People loved it. They loved the good old boy personality of Rodney and how he seemed to understand what good country folk were going through.
Three more hit singles followed and pretty soon Rodney’s album If You’re Going Through Hell had four number one singles and soon sold well over a million copies. The album was just the break Rodney had been working toward for a decade. A little tip of the hat goes to the team over at Curb Records for sticking with Rodney through all the years.
Everything paid off in 2006 with the success of If You’re Going Through Hell.
19) Mud On The Tires – Brad Paisley (2003)
In the last decade Brad Paisley seemed to quickly become a country superstar. Somewhere around the time his third album was released it seemed like Paisley had all the talent and the drive to be the best.
With his third album Mud on the Tires Brad started really finding his groove. The first three tracks all reached the top three on the country charts with the fourth single and title track reached number one on the charts. It was the start of a huge string of top tracks for the soft spoken country funny man.
Mud on the Tires became Brad’s first album to reach multi-platinum status. Fans couldn’t get enough of the charm and wit from Brad. He had a way of crafting crazy story songs with extremely catchy guitar melodies. It was a formula for success and to this point in his career Brad has kept the string of hits coming so much so that he’s become one of country’s biggest stars ever. He’s been on an incredible run the last decade and things all seemed to really get started with Mud on the Tires.
18) Set This Circus Down – Tim McGraw (2001)
It was hard to choose just one album from country legend Tim McGraw for this list. Starting back in the ’90s Tim has been one of country’s biggest stars. He’s racked up hit after hit with consistency rarely seen in this industry.
Tim’s first album of the ’00s was the set Set This Circus Down. It was an important moment in Tim’s career. He was coming off a Greatest Hits release that always kind of marks the end of a first phase in artists’ careers. For Tim it had been a hugely successful first phase. Everybody was kind of wondering if he’d be able to keep the success going.
Tim delivered with an album of four straight number one singles. It was a huge album. It sold in excess of three million copies in the US alone. The singles were huge especially The Cowboy In Me, which seemed to connect Tim with the older guys in the country audience – typically a difficult sect of the country audience.
Looking back it’s hard to think there would be any doubt in Tim’s career. I’m sure he never wavered in his expectations for himself. The doubt was there with those in the industry and even a few fans. It seems like it’s always difficult to come off a Greatest Hits package with a fresh set of new songs.
Set This Circus Down was a big album for Tim. It kept the momentum of his career going strong into the ’00s. The album showed a little change in musical direction for Tim. The album saw all four singles reach the top spot on the charts. It was a huge album for Tim and one of the biggest albums in the ’00s…period.
17) Lady Antebellum – Lady Antebellum (2008)
Seemingly out of nowhere, Lady Antebellum took over country music. In 2008, the band released their first album and it really did change the way country music was going at the time. It’s only been a few years since the album was released, but the guys in Lady A brought a unique dynamic to country music.
When the first single was released people were taking second looks. The band features duel lead singers with Charles and Hillary. The male and female leads allowed Lady A to sing songs most other country acts couldn’t pull off. The band is able to put a true duets album together while remaining their own band. It’s not a new thought in country music, but Lady A is able to make it really work for them and fans love it.
Also unique about the band is the fact they write just about all their own material. And while that can sometimes be tricky the band also proves to be really good songwriters. The songs and singles on Lady Antebellum are really good. The songs are about love, pain, and all the things in life that make you feel certain emotions.
It’s a fun album. It’s a unique album. And the album is something special in country music history.
16) Wide Open – Jason Aldean (2009)
Jason Aldean got off to a promising start with his first album in 2005. The set saw three major hit singles released to radio. Soon a second album followed with a few more hits singles, but there wasn’t really a major impact on the second album. It seemed like Aldean was heading sideways with his career rather than forging ahead.
By the time 2009 rolled around it was a make or break period for Jason Aldean. He took the opportunity and decided to make the most of it. Jason turned on the heavy metal power chords and paired it with some true country stories. The result was the album Wide Open and it changed the way people perceived Aldean and the way country music could be played.
The first single from the set was She’s Country – a big, heavy rocking country track about the attitude of country women. The song became a major hit for Aldean and country and rock fans singing along together. It was a breakthrough for Aldean and a bit of a breakthrough for country as well.
Beyond the heavy rocking tracks there was also a little bit of romance from Aldean. Big Green Tractor was the second single from the album and it became just as big if not bigger than any other Aldean single up to that point in his career. The rollicking song about a country boy falling for a city girl had all the makings of being just another country love song, but for some reason this song stood out and sounded completely unique. People couldn’t get enough and the song soon took the album to platinum status. Two more huge singles followed and Aldean seemingly went to a headliner overnight.
Wide Open changed the way people thought about country music. Aldean made it ok for hard rock and country fans to co-exist. It was a beautiful marriage made possible by one of today’s biggest country stars.