Martina McBride exemplifies power in country music. The multi-time Female Vocalist of the Year winner is one of the genre's best singers, but that alone is not why she ranks high on this list of country music's most powerful women.

It's not how McBride sings as much as it is what she sings about. Her best songs are reminders that not everyone has an easy path in life, yet even when she's singing about abuse ("Independence Day"), poverty ("Love's the Only House") or cancer ("I'm Gonna Love You Through It"), her fans came away hopeful for their own future. There are nearly a dozen examples of singles that blow the roof off of one's inner potential. If you don't think you can run through a wall after hearing her sing the final chorus of "Anyway," you probably have two broken legs.

What separates McBride from so many country singers is her absolute commitment to the emotion of a song. She'll make you cry or laugh, or just smile sweetly as you adore a precious memory of your own. She makes you feel. Beginning in 2003 she began to weave stories of her life with daughters into her albums. She didn't write "This One's for the Girls" or "In My Daughter's Eyes," but there's no doubting she felt every lyric.

She did write "Teenage Daughters," the lead single from Eleven. It's a song every mother raising girls needs to hear, perhaps on Friday nights with a glass of wine poured.

The stats are not as important as the songs for McBride. She has hits, Platinum singles and albums and plenty of awards. She also has "Broken Wing" and a catalog of life-changing country stories. That's more important, and it's ultimately what lands her at No. 17 on the list of country music's most powerful women.

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