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10. Steve Earle: From his early days as a protegée of Townes Van Zandt to his more recent work as an out-and-out protest singer and his collaboration with Del McCoury , Earle hasn't stopped pushing the envelope yet. His original tunes range from classic Americana-style numbers to alt.country and straight up rock and roll. His songwriting skills are among the best in the business, and his influence is felt across the lines genre.