The Seventh Annual Country Music Critics' Poll 

The Results

For the Scene’s annual country music poll, over 80 critics from all over North America, from big-city newspapers and glossy mags, from alternative newsweeklies and self-published fanzines, voted on the best country acts and records of 2006.

For the Scene’s annual country music poll, over 80 critics from all over North America, from big-city newspapers and glossy mags, from alternative newsweeklies and self-published fanzines, voted on the best country acts and records of 2006. The voters disagreed on a lot, but what they could agree on was the importance of five artists who once ruled the country charts but who haven’t had a Top 20 country single in almost five years. Those artists—the Dixie Chicks, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash—dominated this year’s poll, with some help from Alan Jackson, The Wreckers and Neko Case. The poll results are below. Geoffrey Himes’ essay on what it all means follows on p. 17, along with selected comments from the voters.

BEST ALBUMS:1. The Dixie Chicks: Taking the Long Way (Open Wide/Columbia)2. Vince Gill: These Days (MCA Nashville)3. Rosanne Cash: Black Cadillac (Capitol)4. Alan Jackson: Like Red on a Rose (Arista)5. Johnny Cash: American V: A Hundred Highways (American/Lost Highway)6. Solomon Burke: Nashville (Shout Factory)7. Willie Nelson: You Don’t Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker (Lost Highway)8. Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti-)9. Bob Dylan: Modern Times (Columbia)10. Julie Roberts: Men & Mascara (Mercury)11. The Wreckers: Stand Still—Look Pretty (Maverick)12. Kris Kristofferson: This Old Road (New West)13. Josh Turner: Your Man (MCA Nashville)14. Dierks Bentley: Long Trip Alone (Capitol)15. Alan Jackson: Precious Memories (Arista)16. Keith Urban: Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing (Capitol)17. (tie) Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris: All the Roadrunning (Warner Bros./ Nonesuch)/Willie Nelson: Songbird (Lost Highway)19. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Snake Farm (Sustain/Universal)20. Jessi Colter: Out of the Ashes (Shout Factory)BEST SINGLES:1. The Dixie Chicks: “Not Ready To Make Nice” (Open Wide/Columbia)2. Alan Jackson: “Like Red on a Rose” (Arista)3. The Wreckers: “Leave the Pieces” (Maverick)4. Johnny Cash: “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” (American/Lost Highway)5. Carrie Underwood: “Before He Cheats” (Arista)6. Rosanne Cash: “House on the Lake” (Capitol)7. Julie Roberts: “Men & Mascara” (Mercury)8. Josh Turner: “Would You Go With Me” (MCA Nashville)9. Gary Allan: “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” (MCA)10. Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton: “When I Get Where I’m Going” (Arista)11. George Strait: “Give It Away” (MCA)12. Dierks Bentley: “Every Mile a Memory” (Capitol)13. Radney Foster: “Half of My Mistakes” (Dualtone)14. Ray Wylie Hubbard: “Snake Farm” (Sustain/Universal)15. Jack Ingram: “Love You” (Big Machine)16. Rodney Atkins: “If You’re Going Through Hell” (Curb)17. Brooks & Dunn: “Believe” (Arista)18. Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris: “This Is Us” (Warner Bros./Nonesuch)19. Old Crow Medicine Show: “Down Home Girl” (Nettwerk)20. Tim McGraw: “When Stars Go Blue” (Curb)BEST REISSUES:1. Waylon Jennings: Nashville Rebel (RCA/Legacy)2. Johnny Cash: Live at San Quentin (Columbia/Legacy)3. Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys: Legends of Country Music (Columbia/Legacy)4. Willie Nelson: The Complete Atlantic Sessions (Rhino/Atlantic)5. Dwight Yoakam: Guitars, Cadillacs (Rhino/Reprise)6. (tie) Johnny Cash: Personal File (Columbia/Legacy)/Gram Parsons: The Complete Reprise Sessions (Reprise/Rhino)8. Tony Joe White: Swamp Music (Rhino Handmade)9. The Byrds: There Is a Season (Columbia/Legacy)10. James Talley: Got No Bread (Cimarron)

BEST MALE VOCALISTS:1. Alan Jackson2. Vince Gill3. Josh Turner4. Dierks Bentley5. Solomon Burke6. Brad Paisley7. Willie Nelson8. George Strait9. George Jones10. Keith UrbanBEST FEMALE VOCALISTS:1. Rosanne Cash2. Julie Roberts3. Carrie Underwood4. Natalie Maines5. Neko Case6. Emmylou Harris7. (tie) Martina McBride/Gretchen Wilson9. Alison Krauss10. (tie) Sunny Sweeney/Allison MoorerBEST LIVE ACTS:1. Kenny Chesney2. The Dixie Chicks3. Brad Paisley4. Dierks Bentley5. Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives6. Vince Gill7. Keith Urban8. (tie) Big & Rich/Alison Krauss & Union Station10. Rosanne CashBEST SONGWRITERS:1. Vince Gill2. Rosanne Cash3. Guy Clark4. Jim Lauderdale5. Kris Kristofferson6. Darrell Scott7. Robert Castleman8. (tie) Craig Wiseman/Jeffrey Steele10. Bill AndersonBEST GROUPS AND DUOS:1. The Dixie Chicks2. Sugarland3. The Wreckers4. Little Big Town5. Brooks & Dunn6. Montgomery Gentry7. Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives8. (tie) The Drive-By Truckers/Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris10. (tie) Zozo Sisters/The DuhksBEST INSTRUMENTALISTS:1. Jerry Douglas2. Vince Gill3. Brad Paisley4. Sam Bush5. Chris Thile6. Keith Urban7. Stuart Duncan8. Bryan Sutton9. Buddy Miller10. Emily RobisonBEST NEW ACTS:1. The Wreckers2. Eric Church3. Carrie Underwood4. Sunny Sweeney5. Taylor Swift6. Bradley Walker7. (tie) Kellie Pickler/Chris Young9. Old Crow Medicine Show10. (tie) James Hand/Trent TomlinsonBEST OVERALL:1. The Dixie Chicks2. Alan Jackson3. Vince Gill4. Rosanne Cash5. Dierks Bentley6. George Strait7. Brad Paisley8. Keith Urban9. (tie) Willie Nelson/Kenny Chesney/Carrie Underwood


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