Seven Mainstream/Top 40 Country Acts That Don't Suck

For almost as long as country music has lived as a genre, the argument about what makes a song, album, singer or group "country" has existed. Depending on who you ask, over time, and especially in the past couple of decades, country music has either splintered into dozens of wildly different and completely independent sub-genres and styles, or the umbrella that covers country music has simply grown bigger, keeping anything that has a hint of twang in the family.

It's become painful to listen to Top 40 country radio, or catch a few of the top videos on CMT and GAC. So, let's focus on the positive, shall we? There are a number of quality, inventive and decidedly non-cheesy artists excelling under the mainstream country umbrella these days. Eden's Edge, a young, rootsy trio from Nashville, is one of the bands that fits such a description, and will be playing at Poor David's Pub tonight. Miranda Lambert rolls into town tomorrow night.

Here's a rundown of acts that might help you look beyond Jason Aldean's hoop earring or the collective amount of highlights in Rascall Flatts' hair.

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Kelly Dearmore