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Country Song

February 11, 2007|Randy Lewis

"Every Mile a Memory," Brett Beavers, Dierks Bentley and Steve Bogard, songwriters (Bentley)

"I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today," Matraca Berg and Jim Collins, songwriters (Gretchen Wilson)

"Jesus, Take the Wheel," Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson, songwriters (Carrie Underwood)

"Like Red on a Rose," Melanie Castleman and Robert Lee Castleman, songwriters (Alan Jackson)

"What Hurts the Most," Steve Robson and Jeffrey Steele, songwriters (Rascal Flatts)

More than in any other genre, the song matters in country music, and this year voters have a clear choice between solid craftsmanship and real artistry.

"Like Red on a Rose" is a tightly focused paean to long-term love that derives emotional power from expressive simplicity. "I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today" takes an unconventional tack on love and commitment in the face of disharmony that gives it a welcome freshness amid the cliched hits that dominate country playlists. Berg and Collins deserve to take the walk to the stage.


-- Randy Lewis

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