Top 10 Best Female Country Singers of All Time

You might think you know country music, but do you really know the women who've shaped it? From the pioneers who paved the way to the modern stars who keep the tradition alive, female voices have always been the soul of country. But who are the absolute best? The ones whose songs stick with you long after the last note fades?

This isn't just about who has the most awards or the biggest hits. It's about the singers who've left a lasting impression on your heart and soul. The ones whose voices transport you to another place and time, and whose stories speak to your own experiences.
The Top Ten
1 Dolly Parton Dolly Rebecca Parton is an American singer-songwriter, actress, author, businesswoman, and humanitarian, known primarily for her work in country music.

Are any of you serious? How can anyone on here be better than Mrs. Dolly Parton? She has been in country music longer than any other artist on this list. Additionally, she possesses one of the most natural country/bluegrass voices, which is how it should sound, not like the pop music that Taylor Swift sings. I don't even know why Taylor Swift is on this list.

Taylor is one of those artists who faked a Southern accent to fit in until people caught on and learned that she is from Pennsylvania. I'm really ticked that Taylor Swift is just behind Mrs. Dolly, when Taylor only gets by because of her looks. On the other hand, Dolly had to struggle through poverty, growing up in a family with 12 kids in the Smoky Mountains. The best artists rise to prominence through hard work and growing up with limited resources. Case in point: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, etc.

2 Shania Twain Shania Twain is a Canadian singer and songwriter. She has sold over 100 million records, making her the best-selling female artist in country music history and among the best-selling music artists of all time.

Shania Twain is one of those late-90s/early 2000s country artists that I remember very vividly. This kind of upbeat female country pop was played everywhere when I was younger, and I just couldn't get enough of it.

Another act (it's not a solo artist, they're a group) that I remember liking is probably SheDaisy (or SHeDAISY, however you like to call them). They definitely belong in the "needs more love" category, as their success was short-lived. They were loose, quirky, and funny, plus they knock it out of the park as balladeers. Definitely underrated, even after they became inactive once their label, Lyric Street, shut down.

3 Carrie Underwood Carrie Marie Underwood is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol, in 2005. Her debut album, Some Hearts, was released in 2005.

I do have to admire how hard she worked and struggled before making it to the top. However, it's incorrect to say that Carrie paved the way for artists like Patsy Cline, Dottie West, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton. Those artists actually came before her and paved the way for her and others.

It's great to know that no one voted for her solely based on her looks. It was certainly gracious of Loretta, Dolly, and Tanya to speak highly of Carrie, even if they have made significant contributions to country music in their own right.

Please don't insult Carrie by saying she reminds you of Patsy or Loretta. Some may argue that she has her own unique style that sets her apart. While it's true that she can hit the right notes, saying that Dolly, Patsy, and Loretta have always been off-key is not accurate. So, who can argue? Obviously, the number one position is highly subjective. For some, it may not belong to Dolly, Patsy, or Loretta, but to Carrie, whose music has stood the test of time, even if it has only been about four years. She is real and genuine, although it's unclear how much she had to struggle in her life. So, here's to Carrie!

4 Taylor Swift Taylor Alison Swift is an American singer-songwriter. She was born on December 13, 1989, in Reading, Pennsylvania. Swift is best known for writing personal songs and has won 13 Grammy Awards... read more

I am just so glad that Taylor Swift is number 2, but she really should be at number 1. I adore her, and I don't think my life would be the same without her. She has truly made me love and appreciate country music more than I ever would have without her.

She is stunning, both inside and out. Her voice was a gift from God to all of us ordinary people. Taylor Swift, keep making music and never change, because you are perfect to me. However, if you do change, I will love you forever. I absolutely adore you. I am a Swiftie through and through, and I will never let go!

5 Patsy Cline Patsy Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley on September 8, 1932, in Winchester, Virginia. She became a professional country singer in the 1950s, and became one of the most important artists in American music history. Patsy died on March 5, 1963, in a plane crash in Camden, Tennessee. She was inducted... read more

Patsy Cline's vocal prowess is still incomparable. Others pale in comparison to her monumental and seemingly devil-may-care singing. She tossed off scores like no other, before or since. Has any other woman ever dared to record any score after hers so that we might somehow find someone as good as, or better, to compare to?

You see, Patsy Cline, besides her great range and athleticism within that range, besides her warmth (resonance) of sound, sang with legato. The others don't. They talk-sing, which is not singing and never can be.

6 Martina McBride Martina Mariea McBride is an American country music singer-songwriter and record producer. She is known for her soprano singing range and her country pop material.

Martina is, if not the best singer of all time, then one of the top three, only equaled by Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand. Her voice is so powerful and her range so great that she brings tears to my eyes sometimes and raises the hair on my arms and neck. She and Celine are the only performers to whom I've ever had that reaction. She's got to be number one on the country list because she is only equaled and not surpassed by anyone of any genre.

Martina McBride is not just the greatest country singer of all time, but I believe she is the greatest singer of all time! Her voice is not only strong and powerful, but it is also sweet and feminine, and her range is phenomenal. Plus, I really love that she sings every song with great passion and conviction, and she uses her talents to promote a better world.

7 Reba McEntire Reba Nell McEntire is an American country music singer, songwriter, record producer, actress and television producer.

Reba has a voice that is so unique, it touches the heart and soul every time. She has her own way of conveying the message of her songs to the listener. Many of the lyrics resonate with women who listen to her music, as they can relate various aspects of Reba's songs to what may be going on in their own lives.

Reba is feisty, funny, charismatic, down-to-earth, and an incredible singer. She has amazing stage presence and is not afraid to reinvent herself. There's not much more I can say, except to ask the question, "Reba, when are you coming back to Ireland?"

8 Loretta Lynn Loretta Lynn was an American country music singer-songwriter with multiple gold albums in a career spanning over 62 years.

Loretta Lynn is by far the most recognized name in country music - actually, in any type of music. People involved in pop, rock, and country all know who Loretta Lynn is. She is country music royalty at its best. She's real, down-to-earth, and loves her fans.

In my view, there are five great female singers of all time: Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and Dolly Parton. I'm not saying other female singers didn't pave the way, but these women kicked down doors and will forever be known as the Queens of Country. Sure, some might be jealous, but face the fact: Loretta Lynn is at the top.

9 Miranda Lambert Miranda Leigh Lambert is an American country music singer and songwriter. She is best known as a solo artist, and is a member of the Pistol Annies.

Miranda Lambert is true country. She is a sweet Texas girl and is a wonderful influence on young girls. She is proud of her curves and shares her opinions, whether you like them or not. She writes beautiful songs about things that everyone goes through.

Her marriage to Blake Shelton is just so sweet, and you can tell that they really love each other. Miranda Lambert is the best female country singer of this generation!

Forget opinions. She's simply the greatest of this generation. Barring sudden retirement, she will go down as the greatest of all time. She is the total package. Her songs change as she changes, so her songs will always be relevant.

Her voice is beautiful and sexy, which means she can sing soft love songs as well as hard and edgy ones. I grew up with Reba and Tanya Tucker and listened to Patsy and Dolly, all great in their own right. But forget it. Miranda, as humble as she is, is hands down the greatest.

10 Sara Evans

I love Sara Evans! She is beautiful and has an outstanding voice. She avoids the crazy media stuff and has actually continued to remain successful through the years. I still remember Suds in the Bucket from 2001! Needless to say, I hope she is around for another 10 years!

Sara Evans has an awesome voice that is naturally country. I have seen her on two occasions: in San Antonio, TX, at Far West Rodeo in 1999 and then again at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk, VA, in 2015. She is my favorite female artist!

She's amazing. She has the most beautiful voice in the world. She sings with her soul and with her heart. I just love her.

The Contenders
11 Faith Hill Audrey Faith McGraw, known professionally as Faith Hill, is an American singer and record producer. She is one of the most successful country artists of all time, having sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.

Faith's voice is spectacular. If anyone has any doubts, just listen to "Where Are You Christmas." The subtleties and dynamics she displays during that song are phenomenal! To me, only Martina compares to her, and I am torn as to which one is better. Taylor Swift doesn't come anywhere close to these two. She is a songwriter, and that's about it.

The only current singer that gives them a run for their money is Carrie Underwood, who is also spectacular in her own right and definitely one of the best ever. I love her! But my vote still goes to Faith Hill simply because you can feel her emotion in her music more than any other female artist.

12 Tammy Wynette

I am really into the ballads of country music, not this new wave mess that tries to sound like it's country. What I want to say about Miss Tammy Wynette is that there is no other performer who is, or ever will be, as country as her. I give a lot of credit to Miss Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Barbara Mandrell, and the women of Miss Wynette's era for their wonderful performances.

But like I said before, no other performer will ever come close to being admired by me the way I admire Miss Wynette. It's a shame to lose someone so special. I miss her voice terribly. The meaning in her music is why I listen to country music. I miss her terribly. Godspeed to you, Miss Tammy.

13 LeAnn Rimes Margaret LeAnn Rimes Cibrian, known professionally as LeAnn Rimes, is an American country and pop singer.

LeAnn sings real country music with a fantastic voice, enunciating each word so you can understand it. She has a real country music band backing her up. Some of her cover songs, like Patsy Montana's "I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart" and Patsy Cline's "Crazy" and "I Fall to Pieces," sound better than the originals - especially when she has a steel guitar to back her up, like Patsy Cline did. I don't believe there have been true country songs on radio stations that claim to be playing country music for the last few years. Most music producers today are city folks who wouldn't recognize country if they heard it.

14 Emmylou Harris Emmylou Harris is an American singer and songwriter. She is also known for her activism. Despite her diverse talents, she is best known for her contributions to the country music genre... read more

Emmylou has to be one of the most sincere, beautiful, and talented singers I've ever had the pleasure of seeing and hearing. Considering her longevity in the business, it surprises me that so many folks out there have never heard of her. I love many of the artists on this list, yet I find that Emmylou is the one who touches my soul with her instinctive delivery of a song.

Emmylou has a beautiful voice and can sing such an amazing repertoire. Her albums are crafted pieces of art in themselves, not just collections of individual songs. In the last 15 years, Emmy has also blossomed into a very talented songwriter in her own right, and when she sings her own songs, the result touches your soul.

15 Linda Ronstadt Linda Maria Ronstadt is a retired American popular music singer. She earned 11 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, and numerous United States and internationally certified gold, platinum and multi platinum albums.

Linda's impact on music, particularly on country and rock and roll, is absolutely jaw-dropping, thanks to that incredible four-octave voice she possessed. Her ability to bring long-standing country music classics of the 1950s and early 1960s back from the shadows and make them relevant to her own audiences is remarkable. Her spotlighting of great songwriters like J.D. Souther, Lowell George, and others makes her a musical treasure.

She should be number one but never will be. She has released albums in rock, country, Spanish music, and old-time standards. She's mainly in this position because she is the only member of the current top ten with the ability to do so, with the possible exception of Patsy. Carrie at number one? Don't make me laugh. She isn't in the same stratosphere as Ronstadt.

16 Kelsea Ballerini Kelsea Nicole Ballerini is an American country music singer and songwriter. She released her first album The First Time in 2015.

Kelsea is just AMAZING! She has a pretty voice, and her songs from her latest release deliver such a good message to girls. Not to mention she has only one or two (I'm pretty sure it's one) songs that say a bad word one time! She deserves more attention.

Dibs is one of my absolute favorite country songs, along with Fly by Maddie and Tae, Confession by Florida Georgia Line, and Peter Pan, which is also by Kelsea Ballerini.

She has a beautiful voice, and she inspires me to keep singing country music like her. So, I really hope she never stops singing.

17 Alison Krauss Alison Maria Krauss is an American bluegrass-country singer and musician. She entered the music industry at an early age, winning local contests by the age of 10 and recording for the first time at 14.

Alison Krauss simply has an amazingly beautiful voice. She is highly respected within the music community for her talent. People should check out the collaboration songs she's done and look at the renowned singers who have lined up to sing with her.

My wife hates country, but when she heard Alison sing, she had nothing but good things to say about her, even if she doesn't care for the bluegrass sound.

Alison Krauss may not be at the top of this list because she's not the great beauty that Shania Twain is. However, she has one of the most unique and beautiful voices of our time. She is a true musician and has the knack for being able to back up anybody seamlessly. I believe she is one of the top two or three female talents in country music of all time.

18 Olivia Newton-John Dame Olivia Newton-John was a British-Australian singer, songwriter and actress. She was a four-time Grammy award winner who had amassed five number-one and ten other Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 singles, and two number-one Billboard 200 solo albums. She died on August 8, 2022 of breast cancer in Santa... read more

Again, she would probably be rated higher if she were purely country. Let Me Be There is country. Physical is not.

19 Barbara Mandrell

Barbara Mandrell is the epitome of what being the best is all about! She could excel at anything she tried and was incredibly versatile. She undoubtedly has more talent on her worst day than most of today's artists, both men and women. I love and adore this lady so much. She's definitely at the top of my list and will always be my number one.

In my opinion, no one else in the past or present can match the impact and talent that Barbara has had on this industry. She is the total package when it comes to music or any other endeavor she pursues. It's unfortunate that she retired over 20 years ago, and that the younger generation hasn't really been exposed to her music. I'm truly happy that she is content with her normal life and is spending quality time with her family. In any sense of the word, there will never be another Barbara Mandrell. She is the best there ever will be.

20 Danielle Bradbery

She has a gorgeous voice. Without a doubt, she should be in the top ten. She has a bright, sweet voice that can hit both the high and low notes.

Danielle Bradbery does not get enough recognition for her beautiful, flawless voice. She is amazing and deserves to be in the top 10.

Her voice is extremely flawless and has a great range for a 16-year-old.

21 Trisha Yearwood

I'm surprised to find this amazing interpreter down at number 20. Throughout her 20+ year career, she has maintained a high level of artistic integrity. While the collections of songs may vary from album to album, each album is flawless. I do not know any other artist who knows how to select material so well.

She was as dominant in the '90s as any woman singer around. I am shocked she is behind Patty Loveless or Sara Evans. Honestly, I have her first.

This is a silly list. Anyone who actually knows what vocal talent sounds like knows Trisha is one of the all-time best.

22 Tanya Tucker Tanya Denise Tucker is an American female country music artist who had her first hit, "Delta Dawn", in 1972 at the age of 13. Over the succeeding decades, Tucker became one of the few child performers to mature into adulthood without losing her audience, and during the course of her career, she notched... read more

You have Tanya Tucker below Bonnie Raitt and Kelly Clarkson, who aren't even country singers? How insulting.

There aren't 37 singers in Country Music that can carry a tune, much less available for listing ahead of Tanya.

Ms. Tucker, in the 1970s, churned out hit after hit. For her to be this low on the list is an outrage.

23 Patty Loveless

Having just retired, I've had the opportunity to discover YouTube and country music. After hearing Patty Loveless, I'm wondering where I've been all my life. I've perused female country, bluegrass, and rock singers, and she stands out. Her voice is full and resonant, with just that twinge of twang.

Patty Loveless is the best and most authentic country music singer ever. Her voice touches emotions in the listener like no other singer. She doesn't need flashy costumes or choreography like today's singers. She is talent and class all the way.

24 Raelynn

I love your music. God Made Girls and For a Boy are some of my favorite songs.

25 Connie Smith

I can't believe Connie Smith is rated this low. Connie's very first song, "Once a Day," became the first debut single by a female country artist to reach number one, and it stayed there for eight weeks. For nearly 50 years, the single held the record for the most weeks spent at number one on the Billboard country chart by a female artist.

My mother and Connie are best friends. Mom says Connie was on her way to superstardom but put her kids and family first, so she didn't release many concerts or records. Over the last 40 years, I've asked many of the greatest stars of country music who the best female vocalists in country music are, and over 90% have said, "Connie Smith." Great talent knows great talent, so I think that's reason enough to put her up to number one. And if Taylor Swift has ever made a country record, I haven't heard it.

8Load More
PSearch List