If you know anything about me, it’s that I’m an American trying to emigrate to Britain. I’m often asked what I’ll miss the most about the USA. It’s a tough call; there are lots of things that are uniquely American that the Brits just don’t get.
From gravy and biscuits (which really tastes a lot better than it sound) to Donald Trump (who really is as bad as you think), there’s a lot about this country that doesn’t quite translate.Chief amongst those, though, has to be country music. Sure, there are exceptions—every gay in Soho has seen a drag queen mime a Dolly Parton or Shania Twain tune at some point—but by and large, the songs of the south simply don’t have the same cache in the UK. Country music is a uniquely American genre. But while the music itself may not be to your liking, some of the men who sing it may be.
So, in an effort to introduce my favourite music to my favourite country, I give you the ten hottest men in country music:
10. Dustin Lynch
Hometown: Tullahoma, Tennessee
Must-hear tracks: “Cowboys and Angels”; “Hell of a Night”
With those sparkling blue eyes and that million-dollar smile, it’s no wonder Dustin Lynch has melted the hearts of country fans everywhere. His deep voice will make you swoon on tracks like “Cowboys and Angels,” while “Where it’s At” and “Hell of a Night” will get you wound up for a night of tailgating and mudding down home on the farm. (Don’t know what those are? Man, you’re missing out.)
9. Thomas Rhett
Hometown: Valdosta, Georgia
Must-hear tracks: “Beer with Jesus”; “Crash and Burn”Full confession: “Crash and Burn” is my song of summer 2015.
I jam it through the streets of Chicago as I’m cruising around town. It’s hardly surprising considering Thomas Rhett is the son of a country legend (his full name is Thomas Rhett Atkins, Jr, making him the son of 1990’s country star Rhett Atkins). With those dark eyes and dimples, he’s sure to break a few hearts. But simmer down, fellas; he married his childhood sweetheart in 2012.
8. Hunter Hayes
Hometown: Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Must-hear tracks: “Invisible”; “Storm Warning”
Country music’s answer to Ed Sheeran, twinkalicious Hunter Hayes is the next big thing in Nashville. His song “Invisible” will speak to LGBT youths everywhere (it could be the theme song to the “It Gets Better” campaign), while his EP 21 was released on Friday. With that smile, we’ll let the obvious Adele comparisons slide.
7. Chris Young
Hometown: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Must-hear tracks: “I’m Coming Over”; “Tomorrow”
Chris Young has come a long way since winning Nashville Star, an American Idol-style singing competition in 2006. Since then, he’s produced five number one singles and four top ten albums on the Billboard Country Charts. His baritone voice perfectly captures the heartbreak of saying goodbye on records like “I’m Coming Over” and “Tomorrow,” both of which are guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.
6. Reid Perry
Hometown: Greeneville, Tennessee
Must-hear tracks: “If I Die Young”; “Chainsaw”The only artist on the list that is not a soloist, Reid makes up a third of the brothers/sister trio The Band Perry. They took the country world by storm in 2010 with their single “If I Die Young,” a haunting traditional ballad about a life lost before its time. Since then, they’ve gone on to win Academy of Country Music, Country Music Association, and Grammy awards.
5. Jake Owen
Age: 33 (though he’s got a birthday coming up on the 28th!)
Hometown: Vero Beach, Florida
Must-hear tracks: “Alone with You”; “Real Life”I haven’t heard a song this decade that more accurately sums up life in a small southern town than “Real Life,” and I haven’t seen an artist have more fun with summer this side of Kenny Chesney. 2011’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” was his third album, but his first major hit, and it solidified him as one of country’s more laid back, exciting artists.
4. Luke Bryan
Hometown: Leesburg, Georgia
Must-hear tracks: “Kick the Dust Up”; “Drink a Beer”
The reigning ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year (the two highest honours in country music), Luke Bryan is the undisputed King of Country. From thumping, arena rocking songs like “Kick the Dust Up” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” to more stripped down songs such as “Roller Coaster” and “Do I,” Bryan has defined this decade of country music and is the epitome of the “bro country” movement sweeping Nashville. His song “Drink a Beer” always manages to make me cry, as it reminds me of loss of one of my best friends from uni. Say what you will about country, but evoking that emotion is the mark of a true artist.
3. Canaan Smith
Hometown: Williamsburg, Virginia
Must-hear tracks: “Stuck”; “Love You Like That”
Another former reality tv star, Canaan Smith first shot to prominence as a contestant on The Amazing Race. While his first single only peaked at #44 on the Billboard Country Charts, his sophomore effort, “Love You Like That” has already hit #1 on the Country Airplay charts. His eponymous debut album, which dropped in March, has already cracked the top 20.
2. Easton Corbin
Hometown: Trenton, Florida
Must-hear tracks: “I’m a Little More Country than That”; “All Over the Road”
When Easton Corbin first came to Nashville’s attention in 2009, the overwhelming response was swoon. He’s the quintessential boy next door, with his corn-fed good looks and endearing twang. Since then, he’s claimed 4 number one songs, and while his latest two singles haven’t performed as well as some of his previous hits, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Hometown: Cedartown, Georgia
Must-hear tracks: “Cop Car;” “Leave the Night On;” “Take Your Time” You may notice that Sam Hunt gets three “must-hear tracks” whereas every other artist on this countdown gets two. There’s a reason for that; his debut album, Montevallo, is one of the strongest debut albums by a country artist this decade. Mixing elements of traditional country, Americana, rock, and hip-hop, Hunt has created a truly unique musical experience that is currently taking country radio by storm. His cut of “Cop Car,” a song he wrote, has more heart and more passion than the Keith Urban cover which made it famous. This former collegiate quarterback may never play in the NFL, but he’s definitely got a future in Nashville.
Disagree with my selections? Have your own opinions about who the hottest men in country music are? Sound off in the comments below.
Skylar Baker-Jordan is THEGAYUK’s political contributing editor and has bylines at HuffPost, The Independent and the Daily Dot.