When you re-examine some of the
most crucial and defining albums of the 1990s, you begin to get a better understanding of today’s music scene ⎯⎯ through the eyes of such noise-making newcomers as Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan, Runaway June and Midland, who are all breaking down the door with their rootsy mixture of throwback traditionalism and thoughtful progressivism. There is no imaginable way to recreate some of the landmark releases that made this list, but paying homage comes pretty close: from pulling fibers of the past together with a distinctly 2017 filter to going against the grain completely and reminding fans of the genre’s gutsy past.
Below, we take a look at 10 of the most influential albums of ’90s-era country music, ranging from the heavily-pop influenced to the raw, gentle songwriting of a few unforgettable tastemakers. Some picks were chosen for irrefutable commercial achievements, while others earned considerable acclaim for their artistic efforts.
10 Most Influential Country Albums From the 1990s:
1. Dixie Chicks // Fly
Natalie Maines and Emily and Martie Robison continued their showy, bluegrass-infused muscle with their 1999 studio album. Coming off the success of Wide Open Spaces, they had their work cut out for them ⎯⎯ and they more than lived up to the task. With such standouts as “Cold Day in July,” “Cowboy Take Me Away,” the blistering hee-haw “Sin Wagon” and the witty but triumphant “Goodbye Earl,” the record bookends the era with brash feminist spirit, linked together with country’s vibrant and varied styles, from honky-tonk to pop and folk-rock. They march along feverishly on 13 tracks, best showcased on other songs like “Without You” and “Hello Mr. Heartache.” If it weren’t for this loud-mouth, insanely-talented band of singers, songwriters and players, country music may never have led to such modern-day trailblazers as The Pistol Annies (Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe).