Getting There The Hard Way

PERFORMER: MARY-CHAPIN CARPENTER

ALBUM: COME ON COME ON

LABEL: COLUMBIA

THE BOTTOM LINE: Her new set is like a house by a cool Southern stream: a grand place to spend the summer.

Country music, in case you city folk haven't noticed, is where pop music went to live. When rock 'n' roll settled into the bustling ghettos of white metal and black funk, country claimed the ears of the pop-music homeless -- those who like songs to mix catchy melodies with prickly home truths. By reaching people raised on '60s folk music and Beatles rock, country has become suburbanized. It's as...

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