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10 Most Underrated Country Acts From the 1990s

When you think '90s country music, names like Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and Trisha Yearwood come to mind almost immediately. Dixie Chicks, Martina McBride, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, too. That era, often characterized by both neo-traditional music and arena-sized pop-country, was crucial in the genre's evolution: moving from countrypolitan to roots-based tunes. Of course, pop melted into the format unlike ever before, but it never seemed to be too saccharine or frivolous. The core of storytelling was always prominent.

But what about the music-makers who rarely get enough credit? Well, we've picked our 10 favorites, the ones most overlooked in the grand scheme of things. Check out our selections below.

10 Most Underrated Country Acts From the 1990s:

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Country Music

10 Best Performances From Brett Eldredge

With mainstream country veering further into pop music these days, there is less stress on sheer vocal talent, trading in mood-creating and lyrics for beats and rhythms. Brett Eldredge, now on his third, non-holiday album (2017's self-titled), often mixes the best of both worlds. His singles might not reflect his commitment to continuing country legacy, but his deep cuts are entrenched in both the past and present. If you need more convincing, just check him out on the road or tune into one of many primetime performance slots. His live presentation is often embedded in storytelling, never compromising art for the sake of mass appeal.

Below, we have curated Eldredge's 10 best performances, ranging from concert footage to acoustic sessions and TV appointments.

10 Best Performances From Brett Eldredge:

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10 '90s Country Hits That Are Still Super Relevant Today

2017 is awash in '90s nostalgia, from revivals and/or spin-offs of "Full House" and "Will & Grace" to "Twin Peaks" and a slew of other projects in development. It's inherently cool to relive the '90s, for better or worse. But you'll most likely just feel old.

Music appears to be rehashing many of the sounds and themes of that era, too, with the likes of such country up and comers as Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan, Runaway June and Midland borrowing from Alan Jackson, George Strait and Dixie Chicks. It was inevitable, really, but we aren't complaining.

Below, we take a look at 10 songs from the '90s which remain just as relevant today.

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10 Most Influential Country Albums From the 1990s

When you re-examine some of the most crucial and defining albums of the 1990s, you begin to get a better understanding of today's music scene ⎯⎯ through the eyes of such noise-making newcomers as Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan, Runaway June and Midland, who are all breaking down the door with their rootsy mixture of throwback traditionalism and thoughtful progressivism. There is no imaginable way to recreate some of the landmark releases that made this list, but paying homage comes pretty close: from pulling fibers of the past together with a distinctly 2017 filter to going against the grain completely and reminding fans of the genre's gutsy past.

Below, we take a look at 10 of the most influential albums of '90s-era country music, ranging from the heavily-pop influenced to the raw, gentle songwriting of a few unforgettable tastemakers. Some picks were chosen for irrefutable commercial achievements, while others earned considerable acclaim for their artistic efforts.

10 Most Influential Country Albums From the 1990s:

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Premiere: JoLivi covers Carrie Underwood's classic hit "Before He Cheats"

There's no way you don't know this 2006 Carrie Underwood classic by heart. After it commanded a streak at the top of the country radio singles chart, it crossed over in a big way--drawing upon her pop fans from her time on "American Idol." Now, up and comer JoLivi, who formerly gave us such pop bops as "Games" and "Fed Up," takes a shot at reimagining the song as part of her Country Live sessions. Previously, she's covered Eric Church's "Talladega," A Thousand Horses' "Smoke" and Lady Antebellum's "American Honey."

"I really wanted to do a country ballad song, which is something I haven't really had the chance to do yet. 'Before He Cheats' is such a classic and powerful song, and I've always loved Carrie Underwood," JoLivi tells One Country. "For awhile, there weren't many women in country music whose songs were making the Billboard Top 100, but then Carrie came along and added a face for women in country and helped pave the wave and open up doors for others, including myself."

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Miranda Lambert

6 Songs That Went No. 1 (While Miranda Lambert Didn't)

Miranda Lambert's double album,The Weight of These Wings, might be one of the most important collections of this era, if not of all-time. Carrying the damage and vulnerability only experience and pain can bring, the bold, raw and intimate set features some of Lambert's finest storytelling. From the tear of “Tin Man" to the garbled mistakes of “Vice" and the plucky ode “Pushin' Time," the singer-songwriter pours her heart out in ways she never has before. Shockingly-- but to no surprise to anyone-- the LP has not spawned a single No. 1 hit (yet). But she has, however, snagged a platinum certification from the RIAA for one million units shifted between the album's two discs. It is a tremendous accomplishment and further proves the disconnect between radio airplay and sales. As Rolling Stone recently dissected, the problem is rooted in systemic sexism that stretches back decades since the music business began. It is a tragedy on par with the Dixie Chicks being banned by radio.

We got to thinking-- if songs like "Vice" and "Tin Man" can't hit the summit, what can? Well, we've collected six recent hits that have. Get ready to weep.

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Lady Antebellum

10 Best Deep Cuts From Lady Antebellum

Everyone knows "Need You Now" like the back of their hand. You couldn't shop, take the elevator, hit up the club or even walk down the street without hearing it back in 2010. As the anchor to Lady Antebellum's sophomore album, of the same name, the brooding late-night ballad catapulted the group to superstardom: it spent a mammoth five weeks at No.1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs and hit the summit on several pop leaderboards, including Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40. It redefined their careers and sent them down a path of sultry mid-tempos about heading "Downtown," getting drunk from the "Bartender"s coolly-mixed beverages and feeling funking with "You Look Good."

And along the way, they've notched some fairly artistic stories, the deep cuts embedded on albums like 2011's underrated Own the Night and 2013's ripe and bright Golden. Their hit singles, which include "Just a Kiss," "American Honey" and "Love Don't Live Here," don't tell the full picture of their capabilities. So, One Country has put together the definitive list of 10 best deep cuts, spanning their nearly decade-long career.

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Exclusive Premiere: Mary Sarah Smolders on Brand New "Without You"

Mary Sarah might not have won "The Voice" last year (because we can't have nice things)-- but don't worry about her, she's just fine. At least, that's what she confidently admits in her new song "Without You," a mid-tempo, classic-swinging break-up song which frames her twang front-and-center. One Country is honored to get our hands on the premiere, and she makes us want to get all dolled up for a night on the town, to shake off our own troubled heartache. "I've got a move-on love song that I'm singing to," she croons on the hook, over the swirling of steel and finger-snaps. "Baby, I'm all good without you," she later smirks.

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Why Runaway June Is Important To Country Music

The talent of three women on nothing but three chords and the truth is a powerful thing. Tightened around a neo-traditional arrangement and flickering references to John Wayne and Jesse James, "Wild West" is one of 2017's best singles. Runaway June, as they're called, made up of Naomi Cook, Hannah Mulholland and John Wayne's granddaughter Jennifer Wayne, bear an uncanny resemblance to one of country's best-selling dynamic players in the business, the Dixie Chicks.

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