Country Singers From Kansas
The Midwest has strong roots in country music, and Kansas is no exception. Several acclaimed country artists are from The Sunflower State.
Born in Sharon, Kansas, Martina McBride has been keeping busy in her 20-plus year career. Since her first album in 1992, The Time Has Come, McBride has tallied 14 grammy nominations and sold over 14 million records. Outside of her music career, McBride has devoted her time to being a mother to three children and serving as a spokesperson for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts
Joe Don Rooney's journey to being the lead guitarist for Rascal Flatts began in Baxter Springs, Kansas in 1975. Rooney had a chance jam session with Jay DeMarcus, bassist from Rascal Flatts, that led to the band being formed in the late '90s. Rooney and Rascal Flatts have recorded nine albums and become one of the most commercially successful country acts. In 2006, Rascal Flatts was the top-selling artists with over 6 million records sold supported by their Me and My Gang album.
Who would have thought that a town of only 2,000 people would give birth to one of country musics bests female singers? Will, Chely Wright defied the odds after growing up in Wellsville, Kansas. Wright has reached great success as a singer by selling over 1.5 million records and having writing credits for songs recorded by Brad Paisley and Mindy Smith. In addition to her music career, Wright is also an advocate for gay rights and is the founder of the charity Reading, Writing and Rhythm, which aims to help fund music programs in schools.
Rory Lee Feek
Rory Lee Feek comes from Atchison, Kansas which contains just over 11,000 people. Feek has been working in the background in country music since the late '90s as a songwriter for other country acts such as Collin Raye, Clay Walker, Kenny Chesney, and more. Feek and his wife Joey competed in the CMT talent show Can You Duet where they placed third.
Joe Walsh of The Eagles
Hailing from Witchita, Kansas, Joe Walsh's near half-century career as a musician has seen successful stints in The Eagles, James Gang, and Ringo Star & His All-Star Band. The Eagles are mainly known as a rock band, but they've found some country music success, as well. The Eagles performed "How Long" at the 2007 CMA Awards, a song that won the Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group, and was a Top 25 hit on the country chart. In 1998, Walsh went into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Eagles. Most recently in 2014, Walsh played on tracks for the Foo Fighters latest album, Sonic Highways.
It's hard to talk about musical artists from the Kansas area without talking about the musical act that is named after the state itself. “Kansas” certainly falls under the country/rock umbrella with its musical stylings that encompass both genres. Kansas has had 13 members over its 40-plus year history. The band is best known for their two songs “Carry on my Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind,” which have been features on numerous television shows and movies over the years.