20 Greatest Hits

by: Suzy Bogguss

Arguably, Suzy Bogguss did more than anybody to change the role of the female vocalist during the 1990s. Certainly she racked up her share of hits -- which are chronicled without fault on this collection. But more than that, she was a singer who weathered the Nash Vegas storms with grace, took control of her own career, and became producer of her own recordings. She selected material rather than having Jimmy Bowen -- the cohort in the producer's chair -- select it for her. She broke all the rules regarding genres from Western Swing yodels (Patsy Montana's "I Wanna Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart") to cowboy songs (Ian Tyson's "Someday Soon"), modern Americana (John Hiatt's "Drive South" and Nanci Griffith's "Outbound Plane"), to recording the work of cutting-edge Nashville songwriters such as Matraca Berg and Gary Harrison ("Diamonds And Tears" and "Eat At Joe's"), as well as Kim Richey's "From Where I Stand," to songwriting "One More For The Road" and "Far And Way" with Doug Crider, to interpreting the classics (Jimmie Rodgers' "In The Jailhouse Now"). It's one thing to record songs of a different stripe and to break down the barriers between genres; it's quite another to make hit records while doing so, which is exactly what Bogguss did at Capitol in the 1990s. She and Pam Tillis made it possible for singers like Martina McBride, Shania Twain, Bobbie Cryner, and Deana Carter to arrive -- and even eventually eclipse them -- due to the fickle nature by which Nashville's radio geeks (yes, geeks) dictate what the populace wants to hear rather than something that might actually be considered incredible and groundbreaking country music. These 20 cuts offer a vivid and extremely pleasurable look at a run that has succeeded n making Suzy Bogguss one of the rare ones -- an artist in full control of her destiny. When she walked away to concentrate on her family, she did so from the top. Now that she's back, 20 Greatest Hits serves as a guidepost to wherever she's moved to now musically. This is '90s country at its very best, and the only thing that might be finer than this collection is to possess the actual albums these songs came from so that one can search for more of Bogguss' hidden gems. ~ Thom Jurek

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