Thanks to its reputation for producing country and western stars, iconic venues like the Opry House, and its famed Music Row, Nashville is known around the world as the capital of country music. For decades aspiring country musicians have flocked to Music City hoping to make it big, with many of the nation’s biggest stars in the genre coming up through the Nashville-scene.
More widely, the state of Tennessee has also produced a number of home-grown country music icons, including pioneering singer-songwriter Chet Atkins, pop-country superstar Kenny Chesney, and,. of course, the incomparable Dolly Parton.
But who is the most popular country singer in Tennessee today?
BetTennessee.com is taking a break from its usual Tennessee sports betting coverage to try and find out. First, we took Billboard.com’s 2022 ranking of the Top 50 Country Artists. Then we utilized Google Trends to determine what country music artists were most frequently Googled in the state of Tennessee over the preceding 12 months (June 2022-June 2023).
Tennessee’s Favorite Country Singers
Tennessee Is The Home of Many Country Music Stars
The number one most popular country singer in Tennessee is hometown hero Morgan Wallen.
Born in Sneedville, Wallen got his start as a contestant on “The Voice” in 2014. After signing a record deal when the show ended, he began honing his sound and songwriting in Nashville.
But Wallen’s career really took off with the release of “Dangerous: The Double Album,” which became the first county album to spend seven consecutive weeks atop the Billboard 200 charts. Despite a 2021 controversy involving the use of a racial slur being caught on tape and leaked to TMZ, Morgan’s fans stuck by his side, and this year’s release “One Thing at a Time” has become one of the biggest country music releases of all time — enjoying a shocking 12 weeks as Billboard’s top album!
Luke Combs is the second most popular country singer in Tennessee. Born in North Carolina, Combs moved to Nashville in his early-twenties intent on becoming a country music star. His breakout his album was “This One’s for You” in 2017. But Combs' popularity could best be described by the title of his second album, 2019’s “What You See is What you Get.”
Relatable and authentic, both as a songwriter and human being, Combs won back-to-back Country Music Association (CMA) Awards for Entertainer of the Year in 2022 and 2021
This fall, Combs will cement his reputation as one of the biggest country music stars on the planet when he embarks on a world tour that includes dates in London, Paris, Copenhagen, and Sydney, Australia.
After Wallen and Combs, a foursome of country music stars are tied for third place on our list.
Chris Stapleton is a Nashville veteran known for his soulful sound and bushy beard. Tennessee fans can catch Stapleton at Nissan Stadium on July 28 and 29 for a live performance with George Strait and Little Big Town.
Blake Shelton has been one of the biggest names in the genre since he took over country music radio in 2001 with his love ballad “Austin.” But these days he’s best known as one of the coaches on “The Voice.” Sadly for fans of the long-running music competition series, Shelton will not return this fall for the show’s 24th season.
Zach Bryan is the only name on the list who didn’t get his start in Nashville. Born on a Navy base in Japan, but raised in Oklahoma, Bryan’s path to fame began with a viral performance of his original song “Heading South” that he recorded on his iPhone and uploaded to YouTube. For those looking to catch his earnest vocals in person, Zach Bryan will be playing the Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival on September 24t
Lainey Wilson was named New Artist of the Year at the 2022 Country Music Association Awards after a decade spent in Nashville performing and releasing music. A star on the rise, the “Things a Man Oughta Know” singer also recently appeared on “Yellowstone” Season 5.
Jeff Parker is an entertainment writer for BetTennessee.com. A writer for film, television and the internet, Jeff is a life long movie buff, with a Masters Degree in Popular Culture. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works full time as documentary filmmaker and producer.