August 21, 2006 12:00 PM

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.

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