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Country Music’s 30 Most Powerful Women of All Time

Great female country singers become icons with just a single name. Dolly, Reba, Shania, Loretta … no one will ever ask “Which one?” in a conversation about these powerful country women.

The list goes on: Patsy, Miranda, Tammy, Martina — even Taylor, the very first artist revealed on this Country Music’s 30 Most Powerful Women of All Time list, has a single moniker. Artists like the Judds and Dixie Chicks can be summarized by saying Wynonna or Natalie. There’s no need for the “Underwood” in Carrie Underwood. A Rosanne by any other name will get you trampled by women named Alison, Crystal and Gretchen — perhaps especially Gretchen.

Country music’s all-time greatest female artist is a mix of power and beauty. She’s a savvy business woman with a strong catalog of hits and a tremendous influence on the next generation. No one would dare to mess with her, yet somehow she’s universally regarded as one of the kindest figures the genre has ever known. Think you know who we’re talking about? Because that description could be used for a dozen different country women.

Commercial success, influence and career longevity were factors in deciding the best female singers in country music history. Pure vocals and sharp songwriting also weighed heavily, especially in deciding the Top 10. While there was tremendous debate about which artists to include, the Taste of Country staff and a panel of country experts didn’t debate No. 1. Flip through our list and click any of the links below for a more detailed explanation.

No. 30: Taylor Swift
No. 29: Patty Loveless
No. 28: LeAnn Rimes
No. 27: Anne Murray
No. 26: Kacey Musgraves
No. 25: Rosanne Cash
No. 24: Gretchen Wilson
No. 23: Linda Ronstadt
No. 22: Sara Evans
No. 21: Crystal Gayle
No. 20: The Judds
No. 19: Connie Smith
No 18: Tanya Tucker
No. 17: Martina McBride
No. 16: Alison Krauss
No. 15: Lee Ann Womack
No. 14: Trisha Yearwood
No. 13: Emmylou Harris
No. 12: Barbara Mandrell
No. 11: Dixie Chicks
No. 10: Faith Hill
No. 9: Kitty Wells
No. 8: Shania Twain
No. 7: Tammy Wynette
No. 6: Patsy Cline
No. 5: Carrie Underwood
No: 4: Reba McEntire
No: 3: Miranda Lambert
No: 2: Loretta Lynn

It’s the Ultimate Women In Country Music Playlist!

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