Essential Canadian Country Singers

Canada's most talented country singers

Country music and the South are practically synonymous, but the United States isn't the only place where country stars are born and bred. Canada has provided us with some great country music artists, and the Canadian country singers listed below are some of the most successful acts in the business that continue to sell music in the U.S. today.

Terri Clark was born in Montreal and raised in Alberta. She moved to Nashville in 1987 and caught her big break a few years later, releasing her eponymous debut album in 1995. How I Feel is Clark's third album, issued in 1998. By this point in her career, she had an established sound, and this album is a prime example of her evolution as an artist. ​How I Feel contains an eclectic mix of musical styles, from rockin' songs to ballads. "You're Easy on the Eyes" was a No. 1 hit in Canada and marked her first No. 1 in the United States. "Cure for the Common Heartache" is reminiscent of a Patty Loveless song, and Alison Krauss lends her talents on backing vocals.

This Canadian act originated in Alberta as 12 Gauge. They enjoyed minor success: they released two albums, two of their singles charted and one of their music videos got some airplay on CMT Canada. The group moved to Nashville in hopes of scoring an American record deal, changed their name to "Emerson Drive" and signed with DreamWorks Records in 2000. Their debut album was released in 2002 and spawned the Top Five single "I Should Be Sleeping." Emerson Drive is genuinely fun to listen to, and you hear the bond between the group members.

A native of Alberta, Carolyn Dawn Johnson was passionate about music from the very beginning. She started out as a songwriter, moving to Nashville in 1994 and becoming a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Her big break arrived in 1999 when she penned "Single White Female" for country singer Chely Wright. The song became Johnson's first number one hit, and she decided to pursue a solo career. Room With a View debuted in 2001, producing the hits "Georgia" and "Complicated." Johnson's songs, all of which she ​co-wrote, cover every part of the emotional spectrum.

Shania Twain grew up poor in Ontario and music became a form of escapism early on. At just 8 years old, Twain was already singing for tips in local bars. Come on Over is the country star's third album. You'd be hard-pressed to find another album with this many hits on it, especially a country one. It was such a strong album off the bat that a whopping 12 singles were released. Come on Over is very much rooted in country, but it is widely noted as Twain's international pop breakthrough, having sold more than 40 million copies since its release in 1997.

Paul Brandt, who grew up in Alberta, was working as a pediatric nurse in the '90s when he decided to try out a new line of work: country music. Nashville music execs caught wind of the singer after he won Best Original Canadian Country Song for his song, "Calm Before the Storm," at a national talent contest. He burst onto the scene in 1996 by releasing an album of the same name. The album quickly went number one, as did its four singles: "My Heart Has a History," "I Do," "I Meant to Do That" and "Take It from Me." To this day, Calm Before the Storm remains one of Brandt's most popular albums.