08/21/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT
Tom Petty, Highway Companion
His career-revving third solo album shows that Petty is far from ready to quietly ride off into the sunset. The gentle, folky ballad "Square One" is surely one of the most beautiful songs he's ever written.
Rhymefest, Blue Collar
This Chicago emcee, who won a Grammy last year for cowriting Kanye West
's hit "Jesus Walks," makes an exciting major-label debut that displays his humor and blue-collar heart.
Under the Influence of Giants, Under the Influence of Giants
Loaded with funky rhythms, infectious melodies and high-pitched harmonies, UTIOG
is an ultra-groovy mix of influences from the Beatles to the Bee Gees.
Ronnie Milsap, My Life
Milsap's excellent new disc is a welcome reminder—35 No. 1 country hits later—of the passion and soulful musicality of an old master.