The Stakes Are Huge as Four Nashville Divas Cozy Up to the Mainstream Pop Audience
There’s heavy action out of Music City right now, as four must-get, big-money projects hit radio nearly simultaneously, each employing a slightly different approach:

The Dixie Chicks (Open Wide/Columbia/CRG, 17.1 million domestic OTC over three albums), riding high on Home sales north of 1.8 million, explode the second single, Fleetwood Mac cover "Landslide," at Country as Columbia prepares to cross it to Pop, with a remix by Sheryl Crow.

Leann Rimes (Curb, 19.5 million total OTC over seven albums), whose last platinum project, 2000’s Coyote Ugly soundtrack, sold 3.3 million, opts with Curb to bypass Country in favor of a pure Pop play, which has led to some second-guessing among handicappers, as Twisted Angel debuts at #13 this week on sales of 60k.

Faith Hill, (WB, 12.5 million OTC over four albums), whose 1999 breakthrough Breathe sold 6 million, has seen "Cry" perform only fairly well at Country before going to Pop, and has now regrouped at Adult before another run at mainstream. Streeting Oct. 15.

Shania Twain (Mercury Nashville/IDJ, 22.6 million OTC over three albums) pulls out the double-barrel five years after 14.4 million-seller Come On Over (1997), with both Country and Pop mixes for new album Up!, produced, as usual, by hubby Mutt Lange. Coming Nov. 12.

Which of the Nashville divas will score biggest in this all-important Q4? Stay tuned.