Retro Single Reviews: An Introduction

Despite some amazing album artists – a Willie Nelson here, an Emmylou Harris there – country music has always been a singles format.  Over the past seven years, we’ve charted the development of some artists from the very beginning, like Lady Antebellum and Zac Brown Band, just by reviewing their singles.

With Retro Single Reviews, we’re going to go back in time to tell the story of the genre’s biggest artists from the very beginning, by reviewing all of their singles in chronological order.

Here’s how it works:  At any given time, we’ll be working our way through the catalog of five artists. When we complete one of them, we’ll add a new one to the rotation.

The first five artists are:

Alan Jackson (1989-present)

He began his career on Arista Records in 1989, recording with them through 2010.  This year, he is prepping his first album on his own label.

Tim McGraw (1992-present)

In his twentieth year on the charts, McGraw is also prepping to leave his longtime label, which is making more money off of hits collections these days than anything else.

Dolly Parton (1967-present)

The most successful female singer-songwriter in country music history has duets with everyone from Porter Wagoner to Ladysmith Black Mambazo in her catalog of singles.

George Strait (1981-present)

With three decades of singles already under his belt, he’s had more #1 hits than any other country artist, and trails only Eddy Arnold and George Jones among all-time hitmakers.

Shania Twain (1993-present)

The top selling female country artist of all time, she’s just released her first new music in six years.  Her career includes several singles that were released only in international markets.


  1. I am thrilled to read about this new feature. I’ve been meaning to do a few more retro reviews myself, but so far I’ve only done one. But reviewing an artist’s singles in chronological order is a great idea. I’ll be eager to see what you guys have to say about the singles that came out long before the site was heard of.

  2. I think this will be a very good feature even though I’m not a big fan of any artist in this opening group. There are individual songs I like from a few of them, most of which I have on greatest hits albums.

  3. Cool idea! I love Dolly and George Strait, so I’m especially looking forward to those. Hope Shania’s feature passes quickly… I’d love to see Reba’s singles take that slot when it’s open.

  4. Awesome :) Although Tim & Shania are my generation of music, I’m looking forward to all of them! Other than their hits, I can’t say as though I know much of the catalogs of Alan, Dolly, or George.

  5. Oh, & you need to add the Chicks at some point ;) And don’t forget Johnny Cash! I grew up on him & Patsy Cline & Johnny Horton (my parents loved the oldies).

  6. Do you intend to review every single release an artist has ever put out (save for maybe those already reviewed on the site) or will you reviewing selected singles from different eras of their careers? Reviewing all 60 Alan Jackson singles, not to mention all 100+ Dolly Parton singles sounds like quite an undertaking.

  7. I am really looking forward to reading these features as well. Will be cool to read about each artists’ evolution chronologically, single by single. Great batch of artists to start off with as well.

  8. Should be fun, though I question the decision to open with four still-active hitmakers. Still, I’m game. I may zone out periodically, but I suspect I’ll be all over the George Strait subset.

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