Gretchen Wilson Photograph by Jesse Chehak
October 15, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

How Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich power in 2004

AGES 31/40/30

Country had lately become the province of soccer moms, but delightfully rowdy freshman efforts from Wilson and B&R made the format safe for truckers again — as well as much-needed teens and twentysomethings (and coastal music execs, suddenly taking Nashville seriously again). Other acts are being signed out of the MuzikMafia jam scene fathered by B&R, now in talks with Warner Music to start their own genre-defying label.

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