5. Alan Jackson // Here in the Real World
Debut albums rarely define a legacy. But Jackson’s 1990 debut is vital on many fronts: it helped refocus mainstream country and demonstrated his raw ability to tap into the American heartland. Rocking between bluegrass and honky-tonk, Jackson schooled a whole new generation of music fans, and, much like George Strait, helped inspire the current wave of traditionalists. “Here in the Real World,” “Wanted,” “Ace of Hearts” and “I’d Love You All Over Again” were the building blocks of his career and set the pace for this living legend.