The new host of ''Nashville Star'' gives EW a list of her current favorite songs

By Tim Stack
Updated January 19, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

1. LORETTA LYNN ”The Pill” Back to the Country, 1975 (MCA) ”Lynn’s writing inspired me because she spoke so straightforwardly about really taboo topics, things that women weren’t really talking about, like birth control.”

2. JONI MITCHELL Blue, 1971 (Reprise) ”Her voice is poetic. She reminds me of an Anaïs Nin. [Mitchell] and Lynn tried to talk about real issues; they weren’t covering up.”

3. NINA SIMONE ”The Other Woman” Nina Simone at Town Hall, 1959 (Colpix) ”Nina Simone was the first punk rocker — she was mad as hell. You heard passion and anger and riotous emotion whenever she sang.”

4. THE REPLACEMENTS ”Unsatisfied” Let It Be, 1984 (Twin/Tone) ”There was a genuine angst. It didn’t necessarily have to do with politics as much as it did personal politics, which I responded to.”

5. DAVID GRAY Life in Slow Motion, 2005 (ATO) ”As fans, we usually fall in love with an artist’s first record; I’ve found that with my career. But if you heard Motion, you would love it just the same as [Gray’s earlier work]. It’s as strong lyrically and melodically.”