This 2000s album put Keith Urban on the “Golden Road” to superstardom Photo by Rusty Russell/Getty Images
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 13: Country music artist Keith Urban performs at the 2004 CMA Music Festival (formerly known as FanFair) June 13, 2004 in Nashville, Tenessee. The four-day festival, the largest in country music, will be featured in a two-hour television special on CBS TV in summer, 2004. (Photo by Rusty Russell/Getty Images)

It doesn’t require too many years as a music fan to be nostalgic about a specific year of great releases. Those of us who are a little older and have been listening to the sounds of Nashville for a lot longer might have an entire era or decade of country music that we recall fondly: the slick ’70s, the torch and twang ’80s, the neo-traditional ’90s.

One of our all-time favorite decades of country music is 2000 to 2010. It was a new millennium, and country stars were embracing the future with some of country’s most impactful and iconic albums, including Keith Urban’s “Golden Road.”

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Keith’s previous self-titled release produced three sizable hits, including his first chart-topping single, “But For the Grace of God.” The 2002 release of “Golden Road” built on that foundation and truly positioned the Aussie as the future superstar we all know and love. The album gave birth to a whopping three No. 1 singles, including his first gold-selling single, “Somebody Like You,” the fun romp “Who Wouldn’t Want to Be Me” and the dreamy “Raining On Sunday.”

And you may not realize it, but “Golden Road” is a heavy metal album. Yep, it has sold more than three million copies, making it officially certified triple Platinum®.

But Keith wasn’t the only country star who was celebrated a new millennium and a new decade. Kenny Chesney had already secured a respectable amount of success by the time he released “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem” in 2002, but that album seemed to represent a redefining of Kenny’s brand.

Now if anyone has mastered the tricky process of gradually and successfully evolving their music and their look, it’s Kenny, but with “No Shoes,” it was almost as if he was unveiling something that was already there. There was no shock to our systems, but more of a victorious exclamation that this is what Kenny was always meant to be.

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There were also hits! Five of ’em, to be exact, including the No. 1 smash, “The Good Stuff,” and the beachy title track.

Start to finish, these are two of the most listenable albums of the decade that launched in 2000, but we have so many more we love and we’re sure you do, too. Check out our new Rare Country’s 5 video of favorites and be sure to let us know what yours are.

And come back to Rare Country this weekend when we have more of the news from in and around country music in Rare Country’s 5.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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