Here’s a look back at forgotten country artists who shined in 1995, a year of strong debuts and high-charting, honky-tonk anthems.
20 years ago, the country music charts looked a lot different than those of today. A slew of brand new artists released incredibly strong debuts that took country radio by storm. Although most of these names haven’t made the Billboard charts in recent years, these artists deserve to be remembered. Whether it’s your first time hearing them or a nostalgic musical trip back in time, take a moment to find out why these 10 artists you forgot you loved from 1995 deserve a second listen.
10. Wade Hayes
Wade Hayes‘ debut single, “Old Enough to Know Better,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard country charts in February 1995. The up-tempo, tongue in cheek song made a big mark on mainstream country radio and earned him a nomination for Top New Male Vocalist of the Year at the 1995 CMA Awards. Hayes released two more albums in the late 90’s that were also relatively successful, then went on a hiatus from the music industry from 2000 to 2009.
In 2011, Hayes announced he had been diagnosed with colon cancer, but has been in remission since 2012. He is releasing a new album, Go Live Your Life, through the crowd-funding website PledgeMusic in February 2015.
9. Ty England
Ty England spent the first half of the 90’s touring as a guitar player with his former roommate Garth Brooks. After deciding to go solo, he released his debut single, “Should’ve Asked Her Faster,” which became his most successful release to date.
England has been quiet in recent years and hasn’t released an album since 2007’s Alive and Well and Livin’ the Dream. He still actively posts on social media to interact with fans and to share updates on his family and personal life.
8. Jeff Carson
After being signed to Curb Records in 1994, Jeff Carson released his debut album in that spawned two top ten singles and his first and only number one hit, “Not On Your Love.” Although he continued to release music into the late 90’s, Carson’s singles did not receive much airplay on country radio.
In 2009, Carson announced on his MySpace page that he was switching careers from music to working as a full-time police officer in Franklin, Tennessee.
7. Rick Trevino
1995 was a big year for Austin native Rick Trevino, who gained two number one hits from his certified gold self-titled release. Later that year he also released he second album, Looking for the Light, which spawned another top ten hit with the cheeky single “Bobbie Ann Mason.”
Trevino continued to record both English and Spanish language albums throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s. His last album, Whole Town Blue, was released in 2011 and Trevino still regularly tours in the southwest, especially in his home state of Texas.
6. Bryan White
In 1995, Bryan White was just 21 years old and had just released his first self-titled album. Two singles from the release, “Someone Else’s Star” and “Rebecca Lynn,” became number one hits. His fresh face and obvious talents helped White stay on the scene and release two more successful albums over the next five years.
After struggling with the difficulties of stardom at an early age, White took time off from the industry for much of the early 2000’s. He is currently touring and promoting his latest album, Shine, which was released in 2014.
5. Lari White
Lari White originally found stardom by winning a recording contract from a talent show on the now defunct television network TNN in 1988. After being dropped by her label and being resigned by RCA Records in 1992, White released a strong debut album and a series of successful singles. Her most popular and well-received album was Wishes, which produced three charted singles in 1995, including the sticky-sweet “That’s How You Know (When You’re In Love).
In recent years, White has worked as a co-writer and co-producer for artists like Billy Dean and Toby Keith and still actively plays shows in the Nashville area.
4. Daryle Singletary
Daryle Singletary‘s self-titled debut album spawned four popular singles in 1995, with the most successful being the additively heartbreaking “I Let Her Lie.” The song, which reached number two on the #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart, is still the highest charting release of his career.
Singletary is still actively touring and has a new album, There’s Still A Little Country Left, set to be released later this year.
3. David Lee Murphy
David Lee Murphy was introduced to mainstream country radio when he recorded a song for the popular soundtrack to the 1994 rodeo bio-drama “8 Seconds.” He quickly released his debut album, which produced four successful single releases. His song “Party Crowd” was the most-played country song of 1995, and his second single, “Dust on the Bottle,” hit number one on the Billboard country charts that year.
With smoldering good looks and impressive vocals to match, Ty Herndon was an instant hit with female country fans. “I Want My Goodbye Back” was he second single from his debut album which peaked at number seven on the Billboard country chart in September 1995.
In 2014, Herndon made headlines when he came out as a gay man in an interview with People Magazine. Since then, he has independently released a new album and will be on tour later this year with fellow late 90’s hit-makers Andy Griggs and Jamie O’Neal.
1. Rhett Akins
Rhett Akins burst on the Nashville scene in 1995 with this infectiously catchy tale of country heartbreak at its worst. “That Ain’t My Truck” reached number three on the Billboard country charts and was one of three hits from his debut album, A Thousand Memories.
Today, Akins is still very active in the Nashville scene and has co-written many recent hits, including “I Can Take It from There” by Chris Young and “Boys ‘Round Here” by Blake Shelton. It seems his musical talents were passed down to his son and current chart-topper Thomas Rhett, whose two recent hits, “It Goes Like This” and “Get Me Some of That,” were co-written with his dad.