Been out of love with country for a spell? Ready to fall back? EW’s picks for downloadable tracks will put the genre in your good graces.
GRETCHEN WILSON ”When It Rains” The quintessential country shuffle is also the best salute ever to the socially incorrect joys of getting loaded alone.
BIG & RICH ”Big Time” Even if you don’t love their wackier stuff, you can’t hate the boys for channeling Buck Owens.
COWBOY TROY ”I Play Chicken With the Train” Will this love-it-or-loathe-it combo of rap, power chords, steel, and fiddle change country forever? Maybe not, but it’ll flatten you for four minutes.
HANNA-MCEUEN ”Fool Around” Two smooth harmonizing sons of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band members deliver a barnstormer skirting between alt-country and the mainstream.
MIRANDA LAMBERT ”Kerosene” On this guitar-driven rock stomp, she sounds like Natalie Maines reincarnated as a lovably vengeful pyromaniac.
SHOOTER JENNINGS ”4th of July” Waylon’s son rips it up as if the ’80s cowpunk movement never went away.
DIERKS BENTLEY ”Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do” He’s a wanderer, and dig how that rockin’ steel guitar wanders into ecstasy during the delirious coda.
LEE ANN WOMACK ”I May Hate Myself in the Morning” You’ll love yourself all day for giving in to this cheatin’ song, the country ballad of the year.
BOBBY PINSON ”Don’t Ask Me How I Know” Regrets? He’s had a few, and the raggedy-sounding Texan names ’em all.
THE WRIGHTS ”On the Rocks” He’s Alan Jackson’s mild-mannered nephew; his wife is a modest Sheryl Crow ringer. Together they share a wry duet of marital discord that makes bickering sexy.
JULIE ROBERTS ”You Ain’t Down Home” With a voice that proves how close country can be to the blues, CMT’s favorite starlet issues an affectionate taunt that would make any slicker want to stick to the sticks.