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Top 8 Guide Picks: Class of 1996

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Each year we see a new class of stars appear on the country music horizon. Sometimes an artist will have a huge hit right off the bat, and other times it may take an album or two. The stars listed as the "Class of 1996" are those that made their first impact on country music in that year.

1. Dreamin' Out Loud - Trace Adkins

Dreamin' Out Loud
Trace proves on his debut album that he can sing both ballads as well as honky tonk tunes. Contains the hits "I Left Something Turned On At Home," "There's A Girl In Texas," "Every Light In The House," and "(This Ain't No) Thinkin' Thing."

2. Used Heart For Sale - Gary Allan

Used Heart For Sale
With the diversity of songs, "Used Heart For Sale" is good introduction into the unique talents of vocalist Gary Allan. This CD should be in every fan's collection.

3. Just The Same - Terri Clark

This album has a lot of slow songs with a few fun ones thrown in. She enjoyed a heavy amount of airplay with "Emotional Girl" and "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me." These songs were great at telling the women that they are in charge of their own destinies. "Something in the Water" is an old-fashioned ballad that almost makes you want to grab the box of tissues. "Any Woman" is also a great ballad.

4. Jo Dee Messina - Jo Dee Messina

While the album is uneven in it's song selection, production and vocals, it does showcase the fiery talent that lied within Jo Dee that was realized on her second, and first platinum album, "I'm Alright." This CD is a good addition to any collector's collection, especially Jo Dee Messina fans.

5. Ricochet - Ricochet

With it's nice mixture of harmonies with a group that actually plays their instruments, Ricochet's self-titled debut is a nice addition to any collection.

6. Blue - LeAnn Rimes

For LeAnn's debut album, she shows us that she truly can sing country music as pure as it comes. The title cut on the album, "Blue," sounds hauntingly like the late Patsy Cline. LeAnn has an amazingly pure voice and this song took radio by storm. The teenager was an instant favorite and was thrown into the limelight as we waited to find out what else she could do.

7. Measure of a Man - Kevin Sharp

This is Kevin's debut album, and contains his hits "She's Sure Taking It Well," and "Nobody Knows."

8. Mark Wills - Mark Wills

This is Mark's debut album, and it contains the hit singles "Places I've Never Been," and "Jacob's Ladder."
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