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Country (also called country and western) is a genre of
popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training.Popular Music. (2015). ''Funk & ...
that originated with
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. ...

blues
,
church music Church music is written for performance in church, or any musical setting of ecclesiastical , or music set to words expressing propositions of a sacred nature, such as a . History Early Christian music The only record of communal song i ...
such as
Southern gospel #REDIRECT Southern gospel#REDIRECT Southern gospel {{redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation{{R from move ...
{{redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation{{R from move ...
and
spirituals Spirituals (also known as Negro spirituals, Spiritual music, or African-American spirituals) is a genre of Christian music Christian music is music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the e ...
, old-time, and
American folk music The term American folk music encompasses numerous music genres, variously known as ''traditional music'', ''traditional folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music ...
forms including
AppalachianAppalachian may refer to: * The Appalachian Mountains, a major mountain range in eastern United States and Canada * The Appalachian Trail, a hiking trail in the eastern United States * The people of Appalachia and their culture ** Appalachian Americ ...
,
Cajun The Cajuns (; Louisiana French: ''les Cadiens''), also known as ''Acadians'' (Louisiana French: ''les Acadiens''), are an ethnic group mainly living in the U.S. states of Louisiana and Texas. They also live in the The Maritimes, Canadian maritim ...
, Creole, and the
cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the ''vaquero'' ...

cowboy
Western music styles of
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...
, Red Dirt,
Tejano Tejanos (, ; singular: ''Tejano/a''; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spa ...
, and
Texas country Texas Country Music (more popularly known just as Texas Country or Texas Music) is a rapidly growing subgenre of country music from Texas. Texas country is a unique style of Western music (North America), Western music and is often associated wit ...
. Its popularized roots originate in the
Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earl ...
and
Southwestern United States The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the United States that generally includes Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak ...
of the early 1920s. Country music often consists of
ballad A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French ''chanson balladée'' or '' ballade'', which were originally "dance songs". Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and ...
s and dance tunes with generally simple forms, folk lyrics, and harmonies often accompanied by string instruments such as
banjo The banjo is a stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity to form a resonator. The membrane is typically circular, and usually made of plastic, or occasionally animal skin. Early forms of the instrument were fashion ...

banjo
s, electric and
acoustic guitar
acoustic guitar
s,
steel guitar A steel guitar ( haw, kīkākila) is any guitar played while moving a steel bar or similar hard object against plucked strings. The bar itself is called a "steel" and is the source of the name "steel guitar". The instrument differs from a conventi ...

steel guitar
s (such as pedal steels and
dobro Dobro is an American brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for reco ...

dobro
s), and
fiddle A fiddle is a bowed string String or strings may refer to: *String (structure), a long flexible structure made from threads twisted together, which is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects Arts, entertainment, and media Films * String ...

fiddle
s as well as
harmonica The harmonica, also known as a French harp or mouth organ A mouth organ is any free reed aerophone A free reed aerophone is a musical instrument that produces sound as air flows past a vibrating reed (instrument), reed in a frame. Air pressu ...

harmonica
s. Blues modes have been used extensively throughout its
recorded history Recorded history or written history is a historical narrative History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the History of writing ...
. The term ''country music'' gained
popularity In sociology, popularity is how much a person, idea, place, item or other concept is either liked or accorded status by other people. Liking can be due to reciprocal liking, interpersonal attraction, and similar factors. Social status can be du ...

popularity
in the 1940s in preference to ''
hillbilly "Hillbilly" is a term (often derogatory) for people who dwell in rural A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000.">South_Karelia.html" ;"title="Lappeenranta, South Karelia">Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finlan ...
music''; it came to encompass Western music, which evolved parallel to hillbilly music from similar roots, in the mid-20th century. In 2009, in the United States, country music was the most listened to rush hour radio genre during the evening commute, and second most popular in the morning commute. The term ''country music'' is used today to describe many
styles Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * Fashion, a prevailing mode of clothing s ...
and subgenres. The origins of country music are found in the
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...

folk music
of working class Americans and
blue-collar A blue-collar worker is a working class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via waged or salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see a ...
American life. It has been inspired by
American popular music American popular music has had a profound effect on music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural Culture ...
, and American folk music which had its roots in
Celtic music Celtic music is a broad grouping of music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, har ...
, early music of the British Isles,
singing cowboy A singing cowboy was a subtype of the archetypal cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), are the most common type of large domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-gener ...
s,
corrido The corrido () is a popular narrative metrical tale and poetry that forms a ballad (music), ballad. The songs are often about oppression, history, daily life for criminals, the vaquero lifestyle, and other socially relevant topics. Corridos were ...
,
ranchera Ranchera () or ''canción ranchera'' is a genre of the traditional music of Mexico. It dates to before the years of the Mexican Revolution. It later became closely associated with the Mariachi bands that evolved in Jalisco Jalisco (, , ; ...
, norteño,
French folk music As Europe experienced a wave of roots revivals in the 1950s and 1960s, France found its regional culture reviving traditional music. Brittany, Limousin (région), Limousin, Gascony, Corsica and Auvergne (province), Auvergne were among the region ...
,
African-American music African-American music is an umbrella term covering a diverse range of music and musical genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to b ...
, and other
traditional folk music Folk music is a music genre that includes #Traditional folk music, traditional folk music and the Contemporary folk music, contemporary genre that evolved from the former during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be ca ...
traditions.


Origins

The main components of the modern country music style date back to music traditions throughout the
Southern United States The Southern United States, also referred to as the Southern States, the American South, Dixie, the Southland, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally ...
and
Southwestern United States The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the United States that generally includes Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak ...
, while its place in
American popular music American popular music has had a profound effect on music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural Culture ...
was established in the 1920s during the early days of music recording. Country music was "introduced to the world as a Southern phenomenon." Immigrants to the southern
Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a mountain range, system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians first formed roughly 480 million years ago during the Ordovician, Ordovician Period. They once reache ...

Appalachian Mountains
, of the
Southeastern United States The southeastern United States, also referred to as the American Southeast or simply the Southeast, is broadly the eastern portion of the southern United States The Southern United States, also referred to as the Southern States, the Ame ...
, brought the
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...

folk music
and instruments of
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
,
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
, and the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
along with them for nearly 300 years, which developed into
Appalachian music ); Ballard Branch, Galax, Va. 1937; Dr. W.P. "Doc" Davis autoharp, Uncle Alec "Eck" Dunford, Davy Crockett Ward fiddles, Wade Ward banjo, Fields Ward (b. January 23, 1911, in Buck Mountain, Grayson County, Virginia Grayson County is a county (Un ...
. As the country expanded westward, the
Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and b ...

Mississippi River
and
Louisiana Louisiana (Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard ...

Louisiana
became a crossroads for country music, giving rise to
Cajun music Cajun music (french: Musique cadienne), an emblematic music of Louisiana The music of Louisiana can be divided into three general regions: rural south Louisiana, home to Creole Zydeco and Old French (now known as cajun music), New Orleans ...
. In the
Southwestern United States The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the United States that generally includes Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak ...
, it was the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similari ...

Rocky Mountains
,
American frontier The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, includes the geography, history, folklore, and culture in the forward wave of American expansion that began with European colonial settlements in the early 17th century and e ...
, and
Rio Grande The Rio Grande ( and ), known in Mexico as the Río Bravo del Norte and as the Río Bravo, is one of the principal river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another riv ...

Rio Grande
that acted as a similar backdrop for
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
,
Mexican Mexican may refer to: Mexico and its culture *Being related to, from, or connected to the country of Mexico, in North America ** Being related to the State of Mexico, one of the 32 federal entities of Mexico ** Culture of Mexico *** Mexican cuisi ...
, and
cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the ''vaquero'' ...

cowboy
ballads, which resulted in
New Mexico music New Mexico music ( es, música nuevo mexicana) is a genre of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societie ...
and the development of Western music, and its directly related Red Dirt,
Texas country Texas Country Music (more popularly known just as Texas Country or Texas Music) is a rapidly growing subgenre of country music from Texas. Texas country is a unique style of Western music (North America), Western music and is often associated wit ...
, and
Tejano music Tejano music ( es, música tejana), also known as Tex-Mex music, is a popular music style fusing Mexican and U.S. influences. With elements from Mexican-Spanish vocal traditions and Czech and German dance tunes and rhythms, particularly polka or ...
styles.


Role of East Tennessee

The U.S. Congress has formally recognized
Bristol, Tennessee Bristol is a city in Sullivan County, Tennessee, Sullivan County, Tennessee, United States. Its population was 26,702 at the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census. It is the Twin cities (geographical proximity), twin city of Bristol, Virginia, ...
as the "Birthplace of Country Music", "Birthplace of Country Music", AmericasLibrary.gov, 2011, web:
AL
based on the historic Bristol recording sessions of 1927. Since 2014, the city has been home to the
Birthplace of Country Music Museum Birthplace of Country Music Museum is a museum celebrating the historic 1927 Bristol Sessions The Bristol Sessions are a series of recording sessions held in 1927 in Bristol, Tennessee, considered by some as the "Big Bang" of modern country mus ...
. Historians have also noted the influence of the less-known
Johnson City sessions The Johnson City Sessions were a series of influential recording auditions conducted in Johnson City, Tennessee, Johnson City, Tennessee, in 1928 and 1929 by Frank Buckley Walker, head of the Columbia Records "hillbilly" recordings division. Certai ...
of 1928 and 1929, and the Knoxville sessions of 1929 and 1930. In addition, the
Mountain City Fiddlers ConventionThe Mountain City Fiddlers Convention was held in the East Tennessee town of Mountain City, Tennessee, Mountain City, in May 1925. The gathering was attended by many acclaimed Appalachian musicians, and pioneers of bluegrass music, bluegrass and coun ...
, held in 1925, helped to inspire modern country music. Before these, pioneer settlers, in the
Great Smoky Mountains The Great Smoky Mountains () are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. They are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, and form part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blue Ridge Physi ...

Great Smoky Mountains
region, had developed a rich musical heritage.


Generations

The first generation emerged in the 1920s, with Atlanta's music scene playing a major role in launching country's earliest recording artists.
James Gideon "Gid" Tanner
James Gideon
(1885–1960) was an American old-time fiddler and one of the earliest stars of what would come to be known as country music. His band, the
Skillet LickersImage:TheSkilletLickers.jpg, The Skillet Lickers The Skillet Lickers were an old-time band from Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia, United States. When Gid Tanner teamed up with blind guitarist Riley Puckett and signed to Columbia Records, Columbia in 1 ...
, was one of the most innovative and influential string bands of the 1920s and 1930s. Its most notable members were
Clayton McMichen Clayton McMichen (January 26, 1900 – January 4, 1970) was an American fiddler and country musician. Biography Born in Allatoona, Georgia, McMichen learned to play the fiddle from his father and uncle. He moved to Atlanta with his family in 1 ...
(fiddle and vocal),
Dan Hornsby Isaac Daniel Hornsby (1 February 1900 – 18 May 1951) was an American singer songwriter, musician, recording artist, producer and arranger, studio engineer, band leader & band member. Discovered talent as A&R man with Columbia Records, and radio p ...

Dan Hornsby
(vocals),
Riley Puckett Riley Puckett (May 7, 1894 – July 13, 1946) was an American country music pioneer, best known as a member of Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers. Biography Puckett was born in Dallas, Georgia, Dallas, Paulding County, Georgia.1917 draft registr ...
(guitar and vocal) and Robert Lee Sweat (guitar). New York City record label
Okeh Records Okeh Records () is an American record label founded by the Otto Heinemann Phonograph Corporation, a phonograph supplier established in 1916, which branched out into phonograph records in 1918. The name was spelled "OkeH" from the initials of Ott ...
began issuing hillbilly music records by
Fiddlin' John Carson "Fiddlin'" John Carson (March 23, 1868 – December 11, 1949) was an American old-time fiddler and singer who recorded what is widely considered to be the first country music Country music is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in t ...
as early as 1923, followed by
Columbia Records Columbia Records is an American record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other seller ...

Columbia Records
(series 15000D "Old Familiar Tunes") (
Samantha Bumgarner
Samantha Bumgarner
) in 1924, and
RCA Victor Records RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records; also Arista Records, ...
in 1927 with the first famous pioneers of the genre Jimmie Rodgers and the first family of country music the
Carter Family The Carter Family is a traditional American folk music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass music, bluegrass, country music, country, Southern Gospel, popular music, pop and rock musicians a ...
.78discography.com
''The Online Discography Project''.
Many "hillbilly" musicians recorded blues songs throughout the 1920s. During the second generation (1930s–1940s), radio became a popular source of entertainment, and "barn dance" shows featuring country music were started all over the South, as far north as Chicago, and as far west as California. The most important was the ''
Grand Ole Opry The ''Grand Ole Opry'' is a weekly American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time music, old-time, and Ame ...

Grand Ole Opry
'', aired starting in 1925 by WSM in
Nashville Nashville is the Capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Tennessee, most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee, Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. ...
and continuing to the present day. During the 1930s and 1940s, cowboy songs, or Western music, which had been recorded since the 1920s, were popularized by films made in Hollywood, many featuring the king of the "singing cowboys",
Gene Autry Orvon Grover "Gene" Autry (September 29, 1907 – October 2, 1998), nicknamed the Singing Cowboy, was an American singer, songwriter, actor, musician, rodeo performer, and baseball owner who gained fame largely by singing in a crooning st ...

Gene Autry
.
Bob Wills James Robert Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975) was an American Western swing Western swing music is a subgenre of American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blue ...

Bob Wills
was another country musician from the Lower
Great Plains The Great Plains (french: Grandes Plaines), sometimes simply "the Plains", is a broad expanse of flatland ''Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions'' is a satire, satirical novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott, first publi ...
who had become very popular as the leader of a "
hot
hot
string band A string band is an old-time music Old-time music is a genre of North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern ...
," and who also appeared in Hollywood westerns. His mix of country and
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
, which started out as dance hall music, would become known as
Western swing Western swing music is a subgenre of American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time music, old-time, and Am ...
. Wills was one of the first country musicians known to have added an electric guitar to his band, in 1938.Takecountryback.com
Merle Haggard – Bob Wills
Country musicians began recording
boogie Boogie is a repetition (music), repetitive, swung note, swung note or shuffle rhythm,Burrows, Terry (1995). ''Play Country Guitar'', p.42. Dorling Kindersley Limited, London. . groove (music), "groove" or pattern used in blues which was originall ...
in 1939, shortly after it had been played at
Carnegie Hall Carnegie Hall ( ); is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan Midtown Manhattan is the central portion of the New York City borough New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States citi ...

Carnegie Hall
, when
Johnny Barfield
Johnny Barfield
recorded "Boogie Woogie". The third generation (1950s–1960s) started at the end of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
with "mountaineer" string band music known as bluegrass, which emerged when
Bill Monroe William Smith Monroe (; September 13, 1911 – September 9, 1996) was an American mandolin A mandolin ( it, mandolino ; literally "small mandola") is a stringed musical instrument in the lute family and is generally plucked with a ple ...

Bill Monroe
, along with
Lester Flatt Lester Raymond Flatt (June 19, 1914 – May 11, 1979) was an American bluegrass (music), bluegrass guitarist and mandolinist, best known for his collaboration with banjo picker Earl Scruggs in The Foggy Mountain Boys (popularly known as "Flatt and ...
and
Earl Scruggs Earl Eugene Scruggs (January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012) was an American musician noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo The banjo is a stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity to form a resonator. T ...
were introduced by
Roy Acuff Roy Claxton Acuff (September 15, 1903 – November 23, 1992) was an American country music singer, fiddler, promoter, and freemason. Known as the "King of Country Music", Acuff is often credited with moving the genre from its early string band a ...

Roy Acuff
at the Grand Ole Opry.
Gospel music Gospel music is a genre of Christian music Christian music is music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cult ...
remained a popular component of country music. Another type of stripped-down and raw music with a variety of moods, became popular among poor communities in
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...

New Mexico
,
Oklahoma Oklahoma () is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, bordered by the state of Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, New ...
, and
Texas Texas (, ; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambigu ...

Texas
; the basic ensemble consisted of
classical guitar The classical guitar (also known as the nylon-string guitar or Spanish guitar) is a member of the guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body a ...
,
bass guitar The bass guitar, electric bass or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an Electric guitar, electric or an acoustic guitar, but with a long ...

bass guitar
,
dobro Dobro is an American brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for reco ...

dobro
or steel guitar, though some larger ensembles featured
electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the fu ...

electric guitar
s,
trumpet The trumpet is a brass instrument A brass instrument is a that produces sound by of air in a tubular in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips. Brass instruments are also called labrosones or labrophones, from Latin and Greek ...

trumpet
s, keyboards (especially the honky-tonk piano, a type of
tack piano A tack piano (also known as a harpsipiano, jangle piano, and junk piano) is an altered version of an ordinary piano The piano is an acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic ...
),
banjo The banjo is a stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity to form a resonator. The membrane is typically circular, and usually made of plastic, or occasionally animal skin. Early forms of the instrument were fashion ...

banjo
s, and
drum The drum is a member of the percussion A percussion instrument is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a ...

drum
s. This sound had its roots in the
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
,
Hispano The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano or ) refers to people, cultures, or countries related to Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazon ...
, and
American frontier The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, includes the geography, history, folklore, and culture in the forward wave of American expansion that began with European colonial settlements in the early 17th century and e ...
music of the
Southwestern United States The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the United States that generally includes Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak ...
and
Northern Mexico Northern Mexico ( es, el Norte de México ), commonly referred as , is an informal term for the northern cultural and geographical area in Mexico Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the United Mexican States (; EUM ), is ...
, including
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
,
honky tonk A honky-tonk (also called honkatonk, honkey-tonk, or tonk) is both a Bar (establishment), bar that provides country music for the entertainment of its patrons and the style of music played in such establishments. It can also refer to the type of ...
,
ranchera Ranchera () or ''canción ranchera'' is a genre of the traditional music of Mexico. It dates to before the years of the Mexican Revolution. It later became closely associated with the Mariachi bands that evolved in Jalisco Jalisco (, , ; ...
, and
corrido The corrido () is a popular narrative metrical tale and poetry that forms a ballad (music), ballad. The songs are often about oppression, history, daily life for criminals, the vaquero lifestyle, and other socially relevant topics. Corridos were ...
. By the early 1950s a blend of Western swing, country boogie, and honky tonk was played by most country bands. Rockabilly was most popular with country fans in the 1950s, and 1956 could be called the year of
rockabilly Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to la ...
in country music, with
Johnny Cash John R. Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Much of Cash's music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption, especially in the later ...
emerging as one of the most popular and enduring representatives of the rockabilly genre; rockabilly was also a starting point for eventual rock-and-roll superstar
Elvis Presley Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the " King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpreta ...

Elvis Presley
, who would return to his country roots near the end of his life. Beginning in the mid-1950s, and reaching its peak during the early 1960s, the
Nashville sound The Nashville sound originated during the mid 1950s as a subgenre of American country music Country music is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. The term also includes Weste ...
turned country music into a multimillion-dollar industry centered in
Nashville, Tennessee Nashville is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerca ...
;
Patsy Cline Patsy Cline (born Virginia Patterson Hensley; September 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963) was an American singer. She is considered one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century and was one of the first country music Country music is a ble ...
and
Jim Reeves James Travis Reeves (August 20, 1923July 31, 1964) was an American country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, w ...
were two of the most broadly popular Nashville sound artists, and their deaths in separate plane crashes in the early 1960s were a factor in the genre's decline. Starting in the early 1950s, and during the mid-1960s, Western singer-songwriters such as
Michael Martin Murphey Michael Martin Murphey (born March 14, 1945) is an American singer-songwriter best known for writing and performing Western music, country music Country music is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in the Southern United States and ...
and
Marty Robbins Martin David Robinson (September 26, 1925 – December 8, 1982), known professionally as Marty Robbins, was an American singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, and NASCAR racing driver. Robbins was one of the most popular and succe ...
rose in prominence as did others, throughout Western music traditions, like
New Mexico music New Mexico music ( es, música nuevo mexicana) is a genre of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societie ...
's
Al Hurricane Alberto Nelson Sanchez (July 10, 1936 – October 22, 2017), known professionally as Al Hurricane, was an American singer-songwriter, dubbed "The Godfather" of New Mexico music. He released more than thirty albums, and is best known for his contrib ...

Al Hurricane
. The late 1960s in American music produced a unique blend as a result of traditionalist backlash within separate genres. In the aftermath of the
British Invasion The British Invasion was a cultural phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' ...
, many desired a return to the "old values" of rock n' roll. At the same time there was a lack of enthusiasm in the country sector for Nashville-produced music. What resulted was a crossbred genre known as
country rock Country rock is a subgenre of , formed from the fusion of and . It was developed by rock musicians who began to record country-flavored records in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These musicians recorded rock records using country themes, vocal ...
. Fourth generation (1970s–1980s) music included
outlaw country Outlaw country is a subgenre of American country music Country music is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. The term also includes Western music (North America) which had ...
with roots in the
Bakersfield sound The Bakersfield sound is a sub-genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Categor ...
, and
country pop Country pop (also known as pop country) is a fusion genre of country music and pop music that was developed by members of the country genre out of a desire to reach a larger, mainstream audience. Country pop music blends genres like rock, pop, ...
with roots in the
countrypolitan The Nashville sound originated during the mid 1950s as a subgenre of American country music Country music is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. The term also includes Weste ...
, folk music and
soft rock Soft rock, also known as light rock and adult-oriented rock, is a derivative form of pop rock that originated in the late 1960s in the U.S. region of Southern California and in the United Kingdom. The style smoothed over the edges of singer-s ...
. Between 1972 and 1975 singer/guitarist
John Denver John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) John (; ') is a common masculine Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British Engli ...

John Denver
released a series of hugely successful songs blending country and folk-rock musical styles. By the mid-1970s,
Texas country Texas Country Music (more popularly known just as Texas Country or Texas Music) is a rapidly growing subgenre of country music from Texas. Texas country is a unique style of Western music (North America), Western music and is often associated wit ...
and
Tejano music Tejano music ( es, música tejana), also known as Tex-Mex music, is a popular music style fusing Mexican and U.S. influences. With elements from Mexican-Spanish vocal traditions and Czech and German dance tunes and rhythms, particularly polka or ...
gained popularity with performers like Freddie Fender. During the early 1980s country artists continued to see their records perform well on the pop charts. In 1980 a style of "neocountry disco music" was popularized. During the mid-1980s a group of new artists began to emerge who rejected the more polished country-pop sound that had been prominent on radio and the charts in favor of more traditional "back-to-basics" production; this neotraditional movement would dominate country music through the late 1980s and was typified by the likes of
George Strait George Harvey Strait Sr. (born May 18, 1952) is an American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences throu ...
. Attempts to combine
punk Punk or punks may refer to: Genres, subculture, and related aspects * Punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s. Rooted in 1960s garage rock, punk bands rejected the perceived excesses of mainstream 1 ...
and country were pioneered by
Jason and the Scorchers Jason & the Scorchers, originally Jason & the Nashville Scorchers, are an alternative country band that formed in 1981 and are led by singer-songwriter Jason Ringenberg. With a sound that combines alternative rock and country music, Jason and th ...
, and in the 1980s Southern Californian
cowpunk Cowpunk (or country punk) is a subgenre of punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce ...
scene with bands like
the Long Ryders The Long Ryders are an American alternative country Alternative country, or alternative country rock (sometimes alt-country, insurgent country, or Americana (music), Americana) is a loosely defined subgenre of country rock, which includes acts ...
and
Mojo Nixon Mojo Nixon (born Neill Kirby McMillan, Jr.; August 2, 1957) is an American psychobilly musician. He has retired from playing live and recording, although he does host several radio shows on Sirius Satellite Radio and has come out of retirement fo ...
. During the fifth generation (1990s), country music became a worldwide phenomenon. Two types of artists enjoyed mainstream popularity: neotraditionalists such as
Alan Jackson Alan Eugene Jackson (born October 17, 1958) is an American singer and songwriter. He is known for blending traditional honky-tonk A honky-tonk (also called honkatonk, honkey-tonk, or tonk) is both a bar that provides country music Country ...
, and the more broadly popular stadium country acts, in particular
Garth Brooks Troyal Garth Brooks (born February 7, 1962) is an American country music singer and songwriter. His integration of rock and pop elements into the country music, country genre has earned him popularity, particularly in the United States with su ...

Garth Brooks
.
The Chicks The Chicks (previously known as Dixie Chicks) are an American country music band composed of lead singer Natalie Maines and multi-instrumentalist sisters Martie Maguire (née Erwin) and Emily Strayer (née Erwin; also formerly Robison). The Er ...
became one of the most popular country bands in the 1990s and early 2000s. The sixth generation (2000s–present) has seen a certain amount of diversification in regard to country music styles. It has also, however, seen a shift into patriotism and conservative politics since the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, but twenty years later, many are saying the genre is finally starting to move away from that. The influence of
rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no ...
in country has become more overt during the late 2000s and early 2010s. Most of the best-selling country songs of this era were in the country pop genre, such as those by
Lady Antebellum Lady A (formerly known as Lady Antebellum) is an American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time music, ...
,
Florida Georgia Line Florida Georgia Line is an American country music duo founded in 2010 by Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley (musician), Brian Kelley, both of whom are vocalists and songwriters. Their 2012 debut single "Cruise (song), Cruise" broke two major sales ...

Florida Georgia Line
,
Carrie Underwood Carrie Marie Underwood (born March 10, 1983) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, author, entrepreneur, and record producer. She rose to prominence after winning the American Idol (season 4), fourth season of ''American Idol'' in 2005. H ...

Carrie Underwood
,
Trixie Mattel Brian Michael Firkus (born August 23, 1989), best known by her stage name Trixie Mattel, is an American drag queen, reality television personality, musician and entrepreneur from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mattel is best known for competing on the Ru ...
,
Orville Peck Orville Peck is a country musician based in Canada. He wears a Fringe (trim), fringed Domino mask, mask and has never shown his face publicly. He released his debut album ''Pony (Orville Peck album), Pony'' in 2019, followed by the EP ''Show Pony ...
and Taylor Swift. Hip hop music, Hip hop also made its mark on country music with the emergence of country rap.


History


First generation (1920s)

The first commercial recordings of what was considered instrumental music in the traditional country style were "The Arkansas Traveler (song), Arkansas Traveler" and "Turkey in the Straw" by fiddlers Henry Gilliland & Eck Robertson, A.C. (Eck) Robertson on June 30, 1922, for Victor Records and released in April 1923.
Columbia Records Columbia Records is an American record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other seller ...

Columbia Records
began issuing records with "hillbilly" music (series 15000D "Old Familiar Tunes") as early as 1924. The first commercial recording of what is widely considered to be the first country song featuring vocals and lyrics was
Fiddlin' John Carson "Fiddlin'" John Carson (March 23, 1868 – December 11, 1949) was an American old-time fiddler and singer who recorded what is widely considered to be the first country music Country music is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in t ...
with "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane, Little Log Cabin in the Lane" for
Okeh Records Okeh Records () is an American record label founded by the Otto Heinemann Phonograph Corporation, a phonograph supplier established in 1916, which branched out into phonograph records in 1918. The name was spelled "OkeH" from the initials of Ott ...
on June 14, 1923. Vernon Dalhart was the first country singer to have a nationwide hit in May 1924 with "Wreck of the Old 97". The flip side of the record was "Lonesome Road Blues", which also became very popular. In April 1924, "Aunt" and Eva Davis became the first female musicians to record and release country songs. Many of the early country musicians, such as the yodeler Cliff Carlisle, recorded blues songs into the 1930s. Other important early recording artists were
Riley Puckett Riley Puckett (May 7, 1894 – July 13, 1946) was an American country music pioneer, best known as a member of Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers. Biography Puckett was born in Dallas, Georgia, Dallas, Paulding County, Georgia.1917 draft registr ...
, Don Richardson (musician), Don Richardson,
Fiddlin' John Carson "Fiddlin'" John Carson (March 23, 1868 – December 11, 1949) was an American old-time fiddler and singer who recorded what is widely considered to be the first country music Country music is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in t ...
, Uncle Dave Macon, Al Hopkins, Ernest Stoneman, Ernest V. Stoneman, Blind Alfred Reed, Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers and the Skillet Lickers. The
steel guitar A steel guitar ( haw, kīkākila) is any guitar played while moving a steel bar or similar hard object against plucked strings. The bar itself is called a "steel" and is the source of the name "steel guitar". The instrument differs from a conventi ...

steel guitar
entered country music as early as 1922, when Jimmie Tarlton met famed Hawaiian guitarist Frank Ferera on the West Coast. Jimmie Rodgers and the
Carter Family The Carter Family is a traditional American folk music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass music, bluegrass, country music, country, Southern Gospel, popular music, pop and rock musicians a ...
are widely considered to be important early country musicians. From Scott County, Virginia, the Carters had learned sight reading of hymnals and sheet music using solfege. Their songs were first captured at a Bristol sessions, historic recording session in
Bristol, Tennessee Bristol is a city in Sullivan County, Tennessee, Sullivan County, Tennessee, United States. Its population was 26,702 at the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census. It is the Twin cities (geographical proximity), twin city of Bristol, Virginia, ...
, on August 1, 1927, where Ralph Peer was the talent scout and sound recordist. A scene in the movie ''O Brother, Where Art Thou?'' depicts a similar occurrence in the same timeframe. Rodgers fused hillbilly country, gospel, jazz, blues, pop, cowboy, and folk, and many of his best songs were his compositions, including "Blue Yodel", which sold over a million records and established Rodgers as the premier singer of early country music. Beginning in 1927, and for the next 17 years, the Carters recorded some 300 old-time ballads, traditional tunes, country songs and gospel hymns, all representative of America's southeastern folklore and heritage.


Second generation (1930s–1940s)

Record sales declined during the Great Depression, but radio became a popular source of entertainment, and "barn dance" shows featuring country music were started by radio stations all over the South, as far north as Chicago, and as far west as California. The most important was the ''
Grand Ole Opry The ''Grand Ole Opry'' is a weekly American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time music, old-time, and Ame ...

Grand Ole Opry
'', aired starting in 1925 by WSM in
Nashville Nashville is the Capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Tennessee, most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee, Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. ...
and continuing to the present day. Some of the early stars on the ''Opry'' were Uncle Dave Macon,
Roy Acuff Roy Claxton Acuff (September 15, 1903 – November 23, 1992) was an American country music singer, fiddler, promoter, and freemason. Known as the "King of Country Music", Acuff is often credited with moving the genre from its early string band a ...

Roy Acuff
and African American harmonica player DeFord Bailey. WSM's 50,000-watt signal (in 1934) could often be heard across the country. Many musicians performed and recorded songs in any number of styles. Moon Mullican, for example, played
Western swing Western swing music is a subgenre of American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time music, old-time, and Am ...
but also recorded songs that can be called
rockabilly Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to la ...
. Between 1947 and 1949, country crooner Eddy Arnold placed eight songs in the top 10. From 1945 to 1955 Jenny Lou Carson was one of the most prolific songwriters in country music.


Singing cowboys and western swing

In the 1930s and 1940s, cowboy songs, or Western music, which had been recorded since the 1920s, were popularized by films made in Hollywood. Some of the popular
singing cowboy A singing cowboy was a subtype of the archetypal cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), are the most common type of large domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-gener ...
s from the era were
Gene Autry Orvon Grover "Gene" Autry (September 29, 1907 – October 2, 1998), nicknamed the Singing Cowboy, was an American singer, songwriter, actor, musician, rodeo performer, and baseball owner who gained fame largely by singing in a crooning st ...

Gene Autry
, the Sons of the Pioneers, and Roy Rogers. Country music and western music were frequently played together on the same radio stations, hence the term ''country and western'' music, despite Country and Western being two distinct genres. Cowgirls contributed to the sound in various family groups. Patsy Montana opened the door for female artists with her history-making song "I Want To Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart". This would begin a movement toward opportunities for women to have successful solo careers.
Bob Wills James Robert Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975) was an American Western swing Western swing music is a subgenre of American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blue ...

Bob Wills
was another country musician from the Lower
Great Plains The Great Plains (french: Grandes Plaines), sometimes simply "the Plains", is a broad expanse of flatland ''Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions'' is a satire, satirical novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott, first publi ...
who had become very popular as the leader of a "
string band A string band is an old-time music Old-time music is a genre of North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern ...
," and who also appeared in Hollywood westerns. His mix of country and
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
, which started out as dance hall music, would become known as
Western swing Western swing music is a subgenre of American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time music, old-time, and Am ...
. Cliff Bruner, Moon Mullican, Milton Brown and Adolph Hofner were other early Western swing pioneers. Spade Cooley and Tex Williams also had very popular bands and appeared in films. At its height, Western swing rivaled the popularity of big band swing music.


Changing instrumentation

Drums were scorned by early country musicians as being "too loud" and "not pure", but by 1935 Western swing big band leader Bob Wills had added drums to the Texas Playboys. In the mid-1940s, the Grand Ole Opry did not want the Playboys' drummer to appear on stage. Although drums were commonly used by rockabilly groups by 1955, the less-conservative-than-the-Grand-Ole-Opry ''Louisiana Hayride'' kept its infrequently used drummer back stage as late as 1956. By the early 1960s, however, it was rare for a country band not to have a drummer. Bob Wills was one of the first country musicians known to have added an
electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the fu ...

electric guitar
to his band, in 1938. A decade later (1948) Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith, Arthur Smith achieved top 10 US country chart success with his MGM Records recording of "Guitar Boogie (song), Guitar Boogie", which crossed over to the US pop chart, introducing many people to the potential of the electric guitar. For several decades Nashville session players preferred the warm tones of the Gibson Guitar Corporation, Gibson and Gretsch archtop electrics, but a "hot" Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, Fender style, using guitars which became available beginning in the early 1950s, eventually prevailed as the signature guitar sound of country.


Hillbilly boogie

Country musicians began recording
boogie Boogie is a repetition (music), repetitive, swung note, swung note or shuffle rhythm,Burrows, Terry (1995). ''Play Country Guitar'', p.42. Dorling Kindersley Limited, London. . groove (music), "groove" or pattern used in blues which was originall ...
in 1939, shortly after it had been played at
Carnegie Hall Carnegie Hall ( ); is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan Midtown Manhattan is the central portion of the New York City borough New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States citi ...

Carnegie Hall
, when recorded "Boogie Woogie". The trickle of what was initially called hillbilly boogie, or okie boogie (later to be renamed country boogie), became a flood beginning in late 1945. One notable release from this period was the Delmore Brothers' "Freight Train Boogie", considered to be part of the combined evolution of country music and blues towards
rockabilly Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to la ...
. In 1948, Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith achieved top ten US country chart success with his MGM Records recordings of "Guitar Boogie (song), Guitar Boogie" and "Banjo Boogie", with the former crossing over to the US pop charts. Other country boogie artists included Moon Mullican, Merrill Moore (musician), Merrill Moore and Tennessee Ernie Ford. The hillbilly boogie period lasted into the 1950s and remains one of many subgenres of country into the 21st century.


Bluegrass, folk and gospel

By the end of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, "mountaineer" string band music known as bluegrass had emerged when
Bill Monroe William Smith Monroe (; September 13, 1911 – September 9, 1996) was an American mandolin A mandolin ( it, mandolino ; literally "small mandola") is a stringed musical instrument in the lute family and is generally plucked with a ple ...

Bill Monroe
joined with
Lester Flatt Lester Raymond Flatt (June 19, 1914 – May 11, 1979) was an American bluegrass (music), bluegrass guitarist and mandolinist, best known for his collaboration with banjo picker Earl Scruggs in The Foggy Mountain Boys (popularly known as "Flatt and ...
and
Earl Scruggs Earl Eugene Scruggs (January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012) was an American musician noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo The banjo is a stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity to form a resonator. T ...
, introduced by Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry. That was the ordination of bluegrass music and how Bill Monroe came to be known as the "Father of Bluegrass."
Gospel music Gospel music is a genre of Christian music Christian music is music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cult ...
, too, remained a popular component of bluegrass and other sorts of country music. Red Foley, the biggest country star following World War II, had one of the first million-selling gospel hits ("Peace in the Valley") and also sang boogie, blues and rockabilly. In the post-war period, country music was called "folk" in the trades, and "hillbilly" within the industry. In 1944, ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'' replaced the term "hillbilly" with "folk songs and blues," and switched to "country" or the mistaken term "country and Western" in 1949.


Honky tonk

Another type of stripped down and raw music with a variety of moods and a basic ensemble of guitar, bass,
dobro Dobro is an American brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for reco ...

dobro
or steel guitar (and later) drums became popular, especially among rural residents in the three states of Texhomex, those being Texas, ''Tex''as, Oklahoma, Okla''ho''ma, and New Mexico, New ''Mex''ico. It became known as
honky tonk A honky-tonk (also called honkatonk, honkey-tonk, or tonk) is both a Bar (establishment), bar that provides country music for the entertainment of its patrons and the style of music played in such establishments. It can also refer to the type of ...
and had its roots in Western swing and the
ranchera Ranchera () or ''canción ranchera'' is a genre of the traditional music of Mexico. It dates to before the years of the Mexican Revolution. It later became closely associated with the Mariachi bands that evolved in Jalisco Jalisco (, , ; ...
music of Mexico and the border states, particularly New Mexico and Texas, together with the blues of the American South.
Bob Wills James Robert Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975) was an American Western swing Western swing music is a subgenre of American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blue ...

Bob Wills
and His Texas Playboys personified this music which has been described as "a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, a little bit of black and a little bit of white ... just loud enough to keep you from thinking too much and to go right on ordering the whiskey." East Texan Al Dexter had a hit with "Honky Tonk Blues", and seven years later "Pistol Packin' Mama". These "honky tonk" songs associated barrooms, were performed by the likes of Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells (the first major female country solo singer), Ted Daffan, Floyd Tillman, and the Maddox Brothers and Rose, Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams, would later be called "traditional" country. Williams' influence in particular would prove to be enormous, inspiring many of the pioneers of rock and roll, such as
Elvis Presley Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the " King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpreta ...

Elvis Presley
and Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as Chuck Berry and Ike Turner, while providing a framework for emerging honky tonk talents like George Jones. Webb Pierce was the top-charting country artist of the 1950s, with 13 of his singles spending 113 weeks at number one. He charted 48 singles during the decade; 31 reached the top ten and 26 reached the top four.


Third generation (1950s–1960s)

Following in the footsteps of
Gene Autry Orvon Grover "Gene" Autry (September 29, 1907 – October 2, 1998), nicknamed the Singing Cowboy, was an American singer, songwriter, actor, musician, rodeo performer, and baseball owner who gained fame largely by singing in a crooning st ...

Gene Autry
, Lydia Mendoza, Roy Rogers, and Patsy Montana. By the early 1950s, a blend of Western swing, country boogie, and honky tonk was played by most country bands. Western music, influenced by the cowboy ballads,
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...
,
Texas country Texas Country Music (more popularly known just as Texas Country or Texas Music) is a rapidly growing subgenre of country music from Texas. Texas country is a unique style of Western music (North America), Western music and is often associated wit ...
and
Tejano music Tejano music ( es, música tejana), also known as Tex-Mex music, is a popular music style fusing Mexican and U.S. influences. With elements from Mexican-Spanish vocal traditions and Czech and German dance tunes and rhythms, particularly polka or ...
rhythms of the
Southwestern United States The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the United States that generally includes Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak ...
and
Northern Mexico Northern Mexico ( es, el Norte de México ), commonly referred as , is an informal term for the northern cultural and geographical area in Mexico Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the United Mexican States (; EUM ), is ...
, reached its peak in popularity in the late 1950s, most notably with the song "El Paso (song), El Paso", first recorded by
Marty Robbins Martin David Robinson (September 26, 1925 – December 8, 1982), known professionally as Marty Robbins, was an American singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, and NASCAR racing driver. Robbins was one of the most popular and succe ...
in September 1959. Western music's influence would continue to grow within the country music sphere, Western musicians like
Michael Martin Murphey Michael Martin Murphey (born March 14, 1945) is an American singer-songwriter best known for writing and performing Western music, country music Country music is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in the Southern United States and ...
,
New Mexico music New Mexico music ( es, música nuevo mexicana) is a genre of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societie ...
artists
Al Hurricane Alberto Nelson Sanchez (July 10, 1936 – October 22, 2017), known professionally as Al Hurricane, was an American singer-songwriter, dubbed "The Godfather" of New Mexico music. He released more than thirty albums, and is best known for his contrib ...

Al Hurricane
and Antonia Apodaca,
Tejano music Tejano music ( es, música tejana), also known as Tex-Mex music, is a popular music style fusing Mexican and U.S. influences. With elements from Mexican-Spanish vocal traditions and Czech and German dance tunes and rhythms, particularly polka or ...
performer Little Joe (singer), Little Joe, and even folk revivalist
John Denver John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) John (; ') is a common masculine Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British Engli ...

John Denver
, all first rose to prominence during this time. This Western music influence largely kept the music of the American folk music revival, folk revival and folk rock from influencing the country music genre much, despite the similarity in instrumentation and origins (see, for instance, the Byrds' negative reception during their appearance on the ''Grand Ole Opry''). The main concern was largely political: most folk revival was largely driven by progressive activists, a stark contrast to the culturally conservative audiences of country music. John Denver was perhaps the only musician to have major success in both the country and folk revival genres throughout his career, later only a handful of artists like Burl Ives and Canadian musician Gordon Lightfoot successfully made the crossover to country after folk revival fell out of fashion. During the mid-1950s a new style of country music became popular, eventually to be referred to as rockabilly. In 1953, the first all-country radio station was established in Lubbock, Texas. The music of the 1960s and 1970s targeted the American working class, and History of the trucking industry in the United States, truckers in particular. As country radio became more popular, trucking songs like the 1963 hit song ''Six Days on the Road'' by Dave Dudley began to make up their own subgenre of country. These revamped songs sought to portray American truckers as a "new folk hero", marking a significant shift in sound from earlier country music. The song was written by actual truckers and contained numerous references to the trucker culture of the time like "ICC" for Interstate Commerce Commission and "little white pills" as a reference to amphetamines. Starday Records in Nashville followed up on Dudley's initial success with the release of ''Give me 40 Acres'' by the Willis Brothers.


Rockabilly

Rockabilly was most popular with country fans in the 1950s; one of the first rock and roll superstars was former Western yodeler Bill Haley, who repurposed his Four Aces of Western Swing into a rockabilly band in the early 1950s and renamed it the Bill Haley & His Comets, Comets. Bill Haley & His Comets are credited with two of the first successful rock and roll records, "Crazy Man, Crazy" of 1953 and "Rock Around the Clock" in 1954. 1956 could be called the year of
rockabilly Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to la ...
in country music. Rockabilly was an early form of rock and roll, an upbeat combination of
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. ...

blues
and country music. The number two, three and four songs on ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard's'' charts for that year were
Elvis Presley Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the " King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpreta ...

Elvis Presley
, "Heartbreak Hotel";
Johnny Cash John R. Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Much of Cash's music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption, especially in the later ...
, "I Walk the Line"; and Carl Perkins, "Blue Suede Shoes" Thumper Jones (George Jones) Cash and Presley placed songs in the top 5 in 1958 with No. 3 "Guess Things Happen That Way/Come In, Stranger" by Cash, and No. 5 by Presley "Don't/I Beg of You." Presley acknowledged the influence of rhythm and blues artists and his style, saying "The colored folk been singin' and playin' it just the way I'm doin' it now, man for more years than I know." Within a few years, many rockabilly musicians returned to a more mainstream style or had defined their own unique style. Country music gained national television exposure through ''Ozark Jubilee'' on ABC-TV and radio from 1955 to 1960 from Springfield, Missouri. The program showcased top stars including several rockabilly artists, some from the Ozarks. As Webb Pierce put it in 1956, "Once upon a time, it was almost impossible to sell country music in a place like New York City. Nowadays, television takes us everywhere, and country music records and sheet music sell as well in large cities as anywhere else." The late 1950s saw the emergence of Buddy Holly, but by the end of the decade, backlash as well as traditional artists such as Ray Price (musician), Ray Price,
Marty Robbins Martin David Robinson (September 26, 1925 – December 8, 1982), known professionally as Marty Robbins, was an American singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, and NASCAR racing driver. Robbins was one of the most popular and succe ...
, and Johnny Horton began to shift the industry away from the rock n' roll influences of the mid-1950s. The Country Music Association was founded in 1958, in part because numerous country musicians were appalled by the increased influence of rock and roll on country music.


The Nashville and countrypolitan sounds

Beginning in the mid-1950s, and reaching its peak during the early 1960s, the Nashville sound turned country music into a multimillion-dollar industry centered in
Nashville, Tennessee Nashville is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerca ...
. Under the direction of producers such as Chet Atkins, Bill Porter (sound engineer), Bill Porter, Paul Cohen (record producer), Paul Cohen, Owen Bradley, Bob Ferguson (music), Bob Ferguson, and later Billy Sherrill, the sound brought country music to a diverse audience and helped revive country as it emerged from a commercially fallow period. This subgenre was notable for borrowing from 1950s pop stylings: a prominent and smooth vocal, backed by a string section (violins and other orchestral strings) and vocal chorus. Instrumental soloing was de-emphasized in favor of trademark "licks". Leading artists in this genre included
Jim Reeves James Travis Reeves (August 20, 1923July 31, 1964) was an American country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, w ...
, Skeeter Davis, Connie Smith, the Browns,
Patsy Cline Patsy Cline (born Virginia Patterson Hensley; September 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963) was an American singer. She is considered one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century and was one of the first country music Country music is a ble ...
, and Eddy Arnold. The "slip note" piano style of session musician Floyd Cramer was an important component of this style. The Nashville Sound collapsed in mainstream popularity in 1964, a victim of both the
British Invasion The British Invasion was a cultural phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' ...
and the deaths of Reeves and Cline in separate airplane crashes. By the mid-1960s, the genre had developed into countrypolitan. Countrypolitan was aimed straight at mainstream markets, and it sold well throughout the later 1960s into the early 1970s. Top artists included Tammy Wynette, Lynn Anderson and Charlie Rich, as well as such former "hard country" artists as Ray Price (musician), Ray Price and
Marty Robbins Martin David Robinson (September 26, 1925 – December 8, 1982), known professionally as Marty Robbins, was an American singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, and NASCAR racing driver. Robbins was one of the most popular and succe ...
. Despite the appeal of the Nashville sound, many traditional country artists emerged during this period and dominated the genre: Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Porter Wagoner, George Jones, and Sonny James among them.


Country-soul crossover

In 1962, Ray Charles surprised the pop world by turning his attention to country and western music, topping the charts and rating number three for the year on ''Billboard's'' pop chart with the "I Can't Stop Loving You" single, and recording the landmark album ''Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music''.


Bakersfield sound

Another subgenre of country music grew out of hardcore honky tonk with elements of
Western swing Western swing music is a subgenre of American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time music, old-time, and Am ...
and originated north-northwest of Los Angeles in Bakersfield, California, where many "Okies" and other Dust Bowl migrants had settled. Influenced by one-time West Coast residents
Bob Wills James Robert Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975) was an American Western swing Western swing music is a subgenre of American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blue ...

Bob Wills
and Lefty Frizzell, by 1966 it was known as the
Bakersfield sound The Bakersfield sound is a sub-genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Categor ...
. It relied on electric instruments and amplification, in particular the Telecaster electric guitar, more than other subgenres of the country music of the era, and it can be described as having a sharp, hard, driving, no-frills, edgy flavor—hard guitars and honky-tonk harmonies. Leading practitioners of this style were Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Tommy Collins (country music), Tommy Collins, Gary Allan, and Wynn Stewart, each of whom had his own style. Ken Nelson (United States record producer), Ken Nelson, who had produced Owens and Haggard and Rose Maddox became interested in the trucking song subgenre following the success of ''Six Days on the Road'' and asked Red Simpson to record an album of trucking songs. Haggard's ''White Line Fever'' was also part of the trucking subgenre.


Western music merges with country

The country music scene of the 1940s until the 1970s was largely dominated by Western music influences, so much so that the genre began to be called "Country and Western". Even today, cowboy and frontier values continue to play a role in the larger country music, with Western wear, cowboy boots, and cowboy hats continues to be in fashion for country artists. West of the Mississippi river, many of these Western genres continue to flourish, including the Red Dirt of
Oklahoma Oklahoma () is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, bordered by the state of Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, New ...
,
New Mexico music New Mexico music ( es, música nuevo mexicana) is a genre of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societie ...
of
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...

New Mexico
, and both Texas country music and
Tejano music Tejano music ( es, música tejana), also known as Tex-Mex music, is a popular music style fusing Mexican and U.S. influences. With elements from Mexican-Spanish vocal traditions and Czech and German dance tunes and rhythms, particularly polka or ...
of
Texas Texas (, ; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambigu ...

Texas
. During the 1950s until the early 1970s, the latter part of the Western heyday in country music, many of these genres featured popular artists that continue to influence both their distinctive genres and larger country music. Red Dirt featured Bob Childers and Steve Ripley; for New Mexico music
Al Hurricane Alberto Nelson Sanchez (July 10, 1936 – October 22, 2017), known professionally as Al Hurricane, was an American singer-songwriter, dubbed "The Godfather" of New Mexico music. He released more than thirty albums, and is best known for his contrib ...

Al Hurricane
, Al Hurricane Jr., and Antonia Apodaca; and within the Texas scenes Willie Nelson, Freddie Fender, Johnny Rodriguez, and Little Joe (singer), Little Joe. As Outlaw country music emerged as subgenre in its own right, Red Dirt, New Mexico, Texas country, and Tejano grew in popularity as a part of the Outlaw country movement. Originating in the bars, fiestas, and honky-tonks of Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas, their music supplemented outlaw country's singer-songwriter tradition as well as 21st-century rock music, rock-inspired alternative country and hip-hop music, hip hop-inspired country rap artists. File:Cowboy-Boots-And-Hat.png, Example of cowboy hat and cowboy boots, two prominent components of country music fashion File:Atypicalwesternshirt.svg, Western wear shirt design, with snap fasteners File:Eakins, Cowboy Singing 1890.jpg, Painting of a
cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the ''vaquero'' ...

cowboy
singing by Thomas Eakins (1890) File:Freddy Fender singing in 1977.jpg, Freddy Fender performing
Tejano music Tejano music ( es, música tejana), also known as Tex-Mex music, is a popular music style fusing Mexican and U.S. influences. With elements from Mexican-Spanish vocal traditions and Czech and German dance tunes and rhythms, particularly polka or ...
after ''The Johnny Cash Show'' in
Nashville, Tennessee Nashville is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerca ...
(1977) File:Bob&RDR07.jpg, Bob Childers performing Red dirt (music), Red dirt in Okemah, Oklahoma (2001) File:Al Hurricane and Al Hurricane, Jr. performing at the San Felipe De Neri 2014 fiestas.jpg,
Al Hurricane Alberto Nelson Sanchez (July 10, 1936 – October 22, 2017), known professionally as Al Hurricane, was an American singer-songwriter, dubbed "The Godfather" of New Mexico music. He released more than thirty albums, and is best known for his contrib ...

Al Hurricane
and Al Hurricane Jr. performing
New Mexico music New Mexico music ( es, música nuevo mexicana) is a genre of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societie ...
at a fiesta in Old Town Albuquerque (2014)


Fourth generation (1970s–1980s)


Outlaw movement

Outlaw country was derived from the traditional Western, including Red Dirt,
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...
,
Texas country Texas Country Music (more popularly known just as Texas Country or Texas Music) is a rapidly growing subgenre of country music from Texas. Texas country is a unique style of Western music (North America), Western music and is often associated wit ...
,
Tejano Tejanos (, ; singular: ''Tejano/a''; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spa ...
, and honky-tonk musical styles of the late 1950s and 1960s. Songs such as the 1963
Johnny Cash John R. Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Much of Cash's music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption, especially in the later ...
popularized "Ring of Fire (song), Ring of Fire" show clear influences from the likes of
Al Hurricane Alberto Nelson Sanchez (July 10, 1936 – October 22, 2017), known professionally as Al Hurricane, was an American singer-songwriter, dubbed "The Godfather" of New Mexico music. He released more than thirty albums, and is best known for his contrib ...

Al Hurricane
and Little Joe (singer), Little Joe, this influence just happened to culminate with artists such as Ray Price (musician), Ray Price (whose band, the "Cherokee Cowboys", included Willie Nelson and Roger Miller) and mixed with the anger of an alienated subculture of the nation during the period, a collection of musicians that came to be known as the outlaw country, outlaw movement revolutionized the genre of country music in the early 1970s. "After I left Nashville (the early 70s), I wanted to relax and play the music that I wanted to play, and just stay around Texas, maybe Oklahoma. Waylon and I had that outlaw image going, and when it caught on at colleges and we started selling records, we were O.K. The whole outlaw thing, it had nothing to do with the music, it was something that got written in an article, and the young people said, 'Well, that's pretty cool.' And started listening." (Willie Nelson) The term ''outlaw country'' is traditionally associated with Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hank Williams, Jr., Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Joe Ely. It was encapsulated in the 1976 album ''Wanted! The Outlaws''. Though the outlaw movement as a cultural fad had died down after the late 1970s (with Jennings noting in 1978 that it had Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand, gotten out of hand and led to real-life legal scrutiny), many Western and Outlaw country music artists maintained their popularity during the 1980s by forming Supergroup (music), supergroups, such as The Highwaymen (country supergroup), The Highwaymen, Texas Tornados, and Bandido (supergroup), Bandido.


Country pop

Country pop or soft pop, with roots in the countrypolitan sound, folk music, and
soft rock Soft rock, also known as light rock and adult-oriented rock, is a derivative form of pop rock that originated in the late 1960s in the U.S. region of Southern California and in the United Kingdom. The style smoothed over the edges of singer-s ...
, is a subgenre that first emerged in the 1970s. Although the term first referred to country music songs and artists that crossed over to top 40 radio, country pop acts are now more likely to cross over to adult contemporary music. It started with pop music singers like Glen Campbell, Bobbie Gentry,
John Denver John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) John (; ') is a common masculine Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British Engli ...

John Denver
, Olivia Newton-John, Anne Murray, B. J. Thomas, the Bellamy Brothers, and Linda Ronstadt having hits on the country charts. Between 1972 and 1975, singer/guitarist John Denver released a series of hugely successful songs blending country and folk-rock musical styles ("Rocky Mountain High", "Sunshine on My Shoulders", "Annie's Song", "Thank God I'm a Country Boy", and "I'm Sorry (John Denver song), I'm Sorry"), and was named Country Music Entertainer of the Year in 1975. The year before, Olivia Newton-John, an Australian pop singer, won the "Best Female Country Vocal Performance" as well as the Country Music Association's most coveted award for females, "Female Vocalist of the Year". In response George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Jean Shepard and other traditional Nashville country artists dissatisfied with the new trend formed the short-lived "Association of Country Entertainers" in 1974; the ACE soon unraveled in the wake of Jones and Wynette's bitter divorce and Shepard's realization that most others in the industry lacked her passion for the movement. During the mid-1970s, Dolly Parton, a successful mainstream country artist since the late 1960s, mounted a high-profile campaign to cross over to pop music, culminating in her 1977 hit "Here You Come Again", which topped the U.S. country singles chart, and also reached No. 3 on the pop singles charts. Parton's male counterpart, Kenny Rogers, came from the opposite direction, aiming his music at the country charts, after a successful career in pop, rock and folk music with Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, the First Edition, achieving success the same year with "Lucille (Kenny Rogers song), Lucille", which topped the country charts and reached No. 5 on the U.S. pop singles charts, as well as reaching Number 1 on the British all-genre chart. Parton and Rogers would both continue to have success on both country and pop charts simultaneously, well into the 1980s. Country music propelled Kenny Rogers’ career, making him a three-time Grammy Awards, Grammy Award winner and six-time Country Music Association Awards winner. Having sold more than 50 million albums in the US, one of his Song "The Gambler," inspired multiple TV movies, with Rogers as the main character. Artists like Crystal Gayle, Ronnie Milsap and Barbara Mandrell would also find success on the pop charts with their records. In 1975, author Paul Hemphill stated in the ''Saturday Evening Post'', "Country music isn't really country anymore; it is a hybrid of nearly every form of popular music in America." During the early 1980s, country artists continued to see their records perform well on the pop charts. Willie Nelson and Juice Newton each had two songs in the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 in the early eighties: Nelson charted "Always on My Mind" (No. 5, 1982) and "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" (No. 5, 1984, a duet with Julio Iglesias), and Newton achieved success with "Queen of Hearts (Hank DeVito song), Queen of Hearts" (No. 2, 1981) and "Angel of the Morning" (No. 4, 1981). Four country songs topped the ''Billboard'' Hot 100 in the 1980s: "Lady (Kenny Rogers song), Lady" by Kenny Rogers, from the late fall of 1980; "9 to 5 (Dolly Parton song), 9 to 5" by Dolly Parton, "I Love a Rainy Night" by Eddie Rabbitt (these two back-to-back at the top in early 1981); and "Islands in the Stream (song), Islands in the Stream", a duet by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers in 1983, a pop-country crossover hit written by Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees. Newton's "Queen of Hearts" almost reached No. 1, but was kept out of the spot by the pop ballad juggernaut "Endless Love (song), Endless Love" by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. The move of country music toward neotraditional styles led to a marked decline in country/pop crossovers in the late 1980s, and only one song in that period—Roy Orbison's "You Got It", from 1989—made the top 10 of both the ''Billboard'' Hot Country Songs, Hot Country Singles" and Hot 100 charts, due largely to a revival of interest in Orbison after his sudden death. The only song with substantial country airplay to reach number one on the pop charts in the late 1980s was "At This Moment" by Billy Vera and the Beaters, an R&B song with slide guitar embellishment that appeared at number 42 on the country charts from minor crossover airplay. The record-setting, multi-platinum group Alabama (American band), Alabama was named Artist of the Decade for the 1980s by the Academy of Country Music.


Country rock

Country rock is a genre that started in the 1960s but became prominent in the 1970s. The late 1960s in American music produced a unique blend as a result of traditionalist backlash within separate genres. In the aftermath of the
British Invasion The British Invasion was a cultural phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' ...
, many desired a return to the "old values" of rock n' roll. At the same time there was a lack of enthusiasm in the country sector for Nashville-produced music. What resulted was a crossbred genre known as
country rock Country rock is a subgenre of , formed from the fusion of and . It was developed by rock musicians who began to record country-flavored records in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These musicians recorded rock records using country themes, vocal ...
. Early innovators in this new style of music in the 1960s and 1970s included Bob Dylan, who was the first to revert to country music with his 1967 album ''John Wesley Harding'' (and even more so with that album's follow-up, ''Nashville Skyline''), followed by Gene Clark, Clark's former band the Byrds (with Gram Parsons on ''Sweetheart of the Rodeo'') and its spin-off the Flying Burrito Brothers (also featuring Gram Parsons), guitarist Clarence White, Michael Nesmith (the Monkees and the First National Band), the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Commander Cody, the Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band, Poco, Buffalo Springfield, Stephen Stills' band Manassas (band), Manassas and Eagles (band), Eagles, among many, even the former folk music duo Ian & Sylvia, who formed Great Speckled Bird (band), Great Speckled Bird in 1969. The Eagles would become the most successful of these country rock acts, and their compilation album ''Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)'' remains the second-best-selling album in the US with 29 million copies sold. The Rolling Stones also got into the act with songs like "Dead Flowers (The Rolling Stones song), Dead Flowers" and a country version of "Honky Tonk Women". Described by AllMusic as the "father of country-rock", Gram Parsons' work in the early 1970s was acclaimed for its purity and for his appreciation for aspects of traditional country music. Though his career was cut tragically short by his 1973 death, his legacy was carried on by his protégé and duet partner Emmylou Harris; Harris would release her debut solo in 1975, an amalgamation of country, rock and roll, folk, blues and pop. Subsequent to the initial blending of the two polar opposite genres, other offspring soon resulted, including Southern rock, heartland rock and in more recent years, alternative country. In the decades that followed, artists such as Juice Newton, Alabama (American band), Alabama, Hank Williams, Jr. (and, to an even greater extent, Hank Williams III), Gary Allan, Shania Twain, Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill,
Garth Brooks Troyal Garth Brooks (born February 7, 1962) is an American country music singer and songwriter. His integration of rock and pop elements into the country music, country genre has earned him popularity, particularly in the United States with su ...

Garth Brooks
, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Dolly Parton, Rosanne Cash and Linda Ronstadt moved country further towards rock influence.


Neocountry

In 1980, a style of "neocountry disco music" was popularized by the film ''Urban Cowboy'', which also included more traditional songs such as "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band. It was during this time that a glut of pop-country crossover artists began appearing on the country charts: former pop stars Bill Medley (of the Righteous Brothers), Dan Seals, "England Dan" Seals (of England Dan and John Ford Coley), Tom Jones (singer), Tom Jones, and Merrill Osmond (both alone and with some of The Osmonds, his brothers; his younger sister Marie Osmond was already an established country star) all recorded significant country hits in the early 1980s. Sales in record stores rocketed to $250 million in 1981; by 1984, 900 radio stations began programming country or neocountry pop full-time. As with most sudden trends, however, by 1984 sales had dropped below 1979 figures.


Truck driving country

Truck driving country music is a genre of country music and is a fusion of honky-tonk,
country rock Country rock is a subgenre of , formed from the fusion of and . It was developed by rock musicians who began to record country-flavored records in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These musicians recorded rock records using country themes, vocal ...
and the
Bakersfield sound The Bakersfield sound is a sub-genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Categor ...
. It has the tempo of country rock and the emotion of honky-tonk, and its lyrics focus on a truck driver's lifestyle. Truck driving country songs often deal with the profession of trucking and love. Well-known artists who sing truck driving country include Dave Dudley, Red Sovine, Dick Curless, Red Simpson, Del Reeves, the Willis Brothers and Jerry Reed, with C. W. McCall and Cledus Maggard (pseudonyms of Bill Fries and Jay Huguely, respectively) being more humorous entries in the subgenre. Dudley is known as the father of truck driving country.


Neotraditionalist movement

During the mid-1980s, a group of new artists began to emerge who rejected the more polished country-pop sound that had been prominent on radio and the charts, in favor of more, traditional, "back-to-basics" production. Many of the artists during the latter half of the 1980s drew on traditional honky-tonk, bluegrass, folk and western swing. Artists who typified this sound included Travis Tritt, Reba McEntire,
George Strait George Harvey Strait Sr. (born May 18, 1952) is an American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences throu ...
, Keith Whitley,
Alan Jackson Alan Eugene Jackson (born October 17, 1958) is an American singer and songwriter. He is known for blending traditional honky-tonk A honky-tonk (also called honkatonk, honkey-tonk, or tonk) is both a bar that provides country music Country ...
, John Anderson (musician), John Anderson, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Randy Travis, Dwight Yoakam, Clint Black, Ricky Skaggs, and the Judds. Beginning in 1989, a confluence of events brought an unprecedented commercial boom to country music. New marketing strategies were used to engage fans, powered by technology that more accurately tracked the popularity of country music, and boosted by a political and economic climate that focused attention on the genre.
Garth Brooks Troyal Garth Brooks (born February 7, 1962) is an American country music singer and songwriter. His integration of rock and pop elements into the country music, country genre has earned him popularity, particularly in the United States with su ...

Garth Brooks
("Friends in Low Places") in particular attracted fans with his fusion of neotraditionalist country and arena rock, stadium rock. Other artists such as Brooks and Dunn ("Boot Scootin' Boogie") also combined conventional country with slick, rock elements, while Lorrie Morgan, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Kathy Mattea updated neotraditionalist styles.


Fifth generation (1990s)

Country music was aided by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Docket 80–90, which led to a significant expansion of FM radio in the 1980s by adding numerous higher-fidelity FM signals to rural and suburban areas. At this point, country music was mainly heard on rural AM radio stations; the expansion of FM was particularly helpful to country music, which migrated to FM from the AM band as AM became overcome by talk radio (the country music stations that stayed on AM developed the classic country format for the AM audience). At the same time, beautiful music stations already in rural areas began abandoning the format (leading to its effective demise) to adopt country music as well. This wider availability of country music led to producers seeking to polish their product for a wider audience. In 1990, ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'', which had published a Hot Country Songs, country music chart since the 1940s, changed the methodology it used to compile the chart: singles sales were removed from the methodology, and only airplay on country radio determined a song's place on the chart. In the 1990s, country music became a worldwide phenomenon thanks to
Garth Brooks Troyal Garth Brooks (born February 7, 1962) is an American country music singer and songwriter. His integration of rock and pop elements into the country music, country genre has earned him popularity, particularly in the United States with su ...

Garth Brooks
, who enjoyed one of the most successful careers in popular music history, breaking records for both sales and concert attendance throughout the decade. The RIAA has certified his recordings at a combined (128× RIAA certification, platinum), denoting roughly 113 million U.S. shipments. Other artists who experienced success during this time included Clint Black, John Michael Montgomery, Tracy Lawrence, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Travis Tritt,
Alan Jackson Alan Eugene Jackson (born October 17, 1958) is an American singer and songwriter. He is known for blending traditional honky-tonk A honky-tonk (also called honkatonk, honkey-tonk, or tonk) is both a bar that provides country music Country ...
and the newly formed duo of Brooks & Dunn;
George Strait George Harvey Strait Sr. (born May 18, 1952) is an American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences throu ...
, whose career began in the 1980s, also continued to have widespread success in this decade and beyond. Toby Keith began his career as a more pop-oriented country singer in the 1990s, evolving into an outlaw persona in the early 2000s with ''Pull My Chain'' and its follow-up, ''Unleashed (Toby Keith album), Unleashed''.


Success of female artists

Female artists such as Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Deana Carter, LeAnn Rimes, Mindy McCready, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Shania Twain, and Mary Chapin Carpenter all released platinum-selling albums in the 1990s. The Dixie Chicks became one of the most popular country bands in the 1990s and early 2000s. Their 1998 debut album ''Wide Open Spaces (album), Wide Open Spaces'' went on to become certified 12x platinum while their 1999 album ''Fly (Dixie Chicks album), Fly'' went on to become 10x platinum. After their third album, ''Home (Dixie Chicks album), Home'', was released in 2003, the band made political news in part because of lead singer Natalie Maines's comments disparaging then-President George W. Bush while the band was overseas (Maines stated that she and her bandmates were ashamed to be from the same state as Bush, who had just commenced the Iraq War a few days prior). The comments caused a rift between the band and the country music scene, and the band's fourth (and most recent) album, 2006's ''Taking the Long Way'', took a more rock-oriented direction; the album was commercially successful overall among non-country audiences but largely ignored among country audiences. After ''Taking the Long Way'', the band broke up for a decade (with two of its members continuing as the Court Yard Hounds) before reuniting in 2016 and releasing new material in 2020. Shania Twain became the best selling female country artist of the decade. This was primarily due to the success of her breakthrough sophomore 1995 album, ''The Woman in Me (album), The Woman in Me'', which was certified 12x platinum sold over 20 million copies worldwide and its follow up, 1997's ''Come On Over'', which was certified 20x platinum and sold over 40 million copies. The album became a major worldwide phenomenon and became one of the world's best selling albums of 1998, 1999 and 2000; it also went on to become the best selling country album of all time. Unlike the majority of her contemporaries, Twain enjoyed large international success that had been seen by very few country artists, before or after her. Critics have noted that Twain enjoyed much of her success due to breaking free of traditional country stereotypes and for incorporating elements of rock and pop into her music. In 2002, she released her successful fourth studio album, titled ''Up! (album), Up!'', which was certified 11x platinum and sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Shania Twain has been nominated eighteen times for Grammy Awards and won five Grammys. [] She was the best-paid country music star in 2016 according to Forbes, with a net worth of $27.5 million. []Twain has been credited with breaking international boundaries for country music, as well as inspiring many country artists to incorporate different genres into their music in order to attract a wider audience. She is also credited with changing the way in which many female country performers would market themselves, as unlike many before her she used fashion and her sex appeal to get rid of the stereotypical 'honky-tonk' image the majority of country singers had in order to distinguish herself from many female country artists of the time.


Line dancing revival

In the early-mid-1990s, country western music was influenced by the popularity of line dancing. This influence was so great that Chet Atkins was quoted as saying, "The music has gotten pretty bad, I think. It's all that damn line dancing." By the end of the decade, however, at least one line dance choreographer complained that good country line dance music was no longer being released. In contrast, artists such as Don Williams and George Jones who had more or less had consistent chart success through the 1970s and 1980s suddenly had their fortunes fall rapidly around 1991 when the new chart rules took effect. With the fusion genre of "country trap music, trap"—a fusion of country/western themes to a hip hop music, hip hop beat, but usually with fully sung lyrics—emerging in the late 2010s, line dancing country had a minor revival. Examples of the phenomenon include "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X and "The Git Up" by Blanco Brown, both of which topped the ''Billboard'' country charts despite scant radio airplay.


Alternative country

Country influences combined with Punk rock and alternative rock to forge the "
cowpunk Cowpunk (or country punk) is a subgenre of punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce ...
" scene in Southern California during the 1980s, which included bands such as
the Long Ryders The Long Ryders are an American alternative country Alternative country, or alternative country rock (sometimes alt-country, insurgent country, or Americana (music), Americana) is a loosely defined subgenre of country rock, which includes acts ...
, Lone Justice and the Beat Farmers, as well as the established punk group X (American band), X, whose music had begun to include country and rockabilly influences.W. C. Malone, ''Country Music, U.S.A.'' (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2nd edn., 2002), , p. 451. Simultaneously, a generation of diverse country artists outside of California emerged that rejected the perceived cultural and musical conservatism associated with Nashville's mainstream country musicians in favor of more countercultural outlaw country and the folk singer-songwriter traditions of artists such as Woody Guthrie, Gram Parsons and Bob Dylan. Artists from outside California who were associated with early alternative country included singer-songwriters such as Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle, the Nashville country rock band
Jason and the Scorchers Jason & the Scorchers, originally Jason & the Nashville Scorchers, are an alternative country band that formed in 1981 and are led by singer-songwriter Jason Ringenberg. With a sound that combines alternative rock and country music, Jason and th ...
, the Providence "cowboy pop" band Rubber Rodeo, and the British post-punk band the Mekons. Earle, in particular, was noted for his popularity with both country and college rock audiences: He promoted his 1986 debut album ''Guitar Town'' with a tour that saw him open for both country singer Dwight Yoakam and alternative rock band The Replacements (band), the Replacements. Yoakam also cultivated a fanbase spanning multiple genres through his stripped-down Honky-tonk#Music, honky-tonk influenced sound, association with the cowpunk scene, and performances at Los Angeles punk rock clubs. These early styles had coalesced into a genre by the time the Illinois group Uncle Tupelo released their influential debut album ''No Depression (album), No Depression'' in 1990.C. Smith, ''101 Albums That Changed Popular Music'' (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), , pp. 204–9.M. Deming, [ "No Depression Bonus Tracks"], ''Allmusic'', retrieved January 26, 2009. The album is widely credited as being the first "alternative country" album, and inspired the name of ''No Depression (magazine), No Depression'' magazine, which exclusively covered the new genre. Following Uncle Tupelo's disbanding in 1994, its members formed two significant bands in genre: Wilco and Son Volt. Although Wilco's sound had moved away from country and towards indie rock by the time they released their critically acclaimed album ''Yankee Hotel Foxtrot'' in 2002, they have continued to be an influence on later alt-country artists. Other acts who became prominent in the alt-country genre during the 1990s and 2000s included the Bottle Rockets, the Handsome Family, Blue Mountain (band), Blue Mountain, Robbie Fulks, Blood Oranges, Bright Eyes (band), Bright Eyes, Drive-By Truckers, Old 97's, Old Crow Medicine Show, Nickel Creek, Neko Case, and Whiskeytown, whose lead singer Ryan Adams later had a successful solo-career.K. Wolff and O. Duane, eds, ''Country Music: the Rough Guide'' (London: Rough Guides, 2000), , pp. 549–92. Alt-country, in various iterations overlapped with other genres, including Red dirt (music), Red Dirt country music (Cross Canadian Ragweed), jam bands (My Morning Jacket and the String Cheese Incident), and indie folk (the Avett Brothers). Despite the genre's growing popularity in the 1980s, '90s and 2000s, alternative country and neo-traditionalist artists saw minimal support from country radio in those decades, despite strong sales and critical acclaim for albums such as the soundtrack to the 2000 film ''O Brother, Where Art Thou? (soundtrack), O Brother, Where Art Thou?''. In 1987, the Beat Farmers gained airplay on country music stations with their song "Make It Last", but the single was pulled from the format when station programmers decreed the band's music was too rock-oriented for their audience. However, some alt-country songs have been Crossover music, crossover hits to mainstream country radio in cover versions by established artists on the format; Lucinda Williams' "Passionate Kisses" was a hit for Mary Chapin Carpenter in 1993, Ryan Adams's "When the Stars Go Blue" was a hit for Tim McGraw in 2007, and Old Crow Medicine Show's "Wagon Wheel (song), Wagon Wheel" was a hit for Darius Rucker in 2013. In the 2010s, the alt-country genre saw an increase in its critical and commercial popularity, owing to the success of artists such as the Civil Wars, Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Lydia Loveless and Margo Price. In 2019, Kacey Musgraves – a country artist who had gained a following with indie rock fans and music critics despite minimal airplay on country radio – won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for her album ''Golden Hour (Kacey Musgraves album), Golden Hour''.


Sixth generation (2000s–present)

The sixth generation of country music continued to be influenced by other genres such as pop, rock, and R&B. Richard Marx crossed over with his ''Days in Avalon'' album, which features five country songs and several singers and musicians. Alison Krauss sang background vocals to Marx's single "Straight from My Heart." Also, Bon Jovi had a hit single, "Who Says You Can't Go Home", with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. Kid Rock's collaboration with Sheryl Crow, "Picture (song), Picture," was a major crossover hit in 2001 and began Kid Rock's transition from hard rock to a country-rock hybrid that would later produce another major crossover hit, 2008's "All Summer Long (Kid Rock song), All Summer Long." (Crow, whose music had often incorporated country elements, would also officially cross over into country with her hit "Easy (Sheryl Crow song), Easy" from her debut country album ''Feels like Home (Sheryl Crow album), Feels like Home''). Darius Rucker, frontman for the 1990s pop-rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, began a country solo career in the late 2000s, one that to date has produced five albums and several hits on both the country charts and the Billboard Hot 100. Singer-songwriter Unknown Hinson became famous for his appearance in the Charlotte, North Carolina, Charlotte television show ''Wild, Wild, South'', after which Hinson started his own band and toured in southern states. Other rock stars who featured a country song on their albums were Don Henley (who released ''Cass County (album), Cass County'' in 2015, an album which featured collaborations with numerous country artists) and Poison (American band), Poison. The back half of the 2010-2020 decade saw an increasing number of mainstream country acts collaborate with pop and R&B acts; many of these songs achieved commercial success by appealing to fans across multiple genres; examples include collaborations between Kane Brown and Marshmello and Maren Morris and Zedd. There has also been interest from pop singers in country music, including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber and Pink (singer), Pink. Supporting this movement is the new generation of contemporary pop-country, including Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert,
Carrie Underwood Carrie Marie Underwood (born March 10, 1983) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, author, entrepreneur, and record producer. She rose to prominence after winning the American Idol (season 4), fourth season of ''American Idol'' in 2005. H ...

Carrie Underwood
, Kacey Musgraves, Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sam Hunt, Chris Young (musician), Chris Young, who introduced new themes in their works, touching on fundamental rights, feminism, and controversies about racism and religion of the older generations.


Popular culture

In 2005, country singer
Carrie Underwood Carrie Marie Underwood (born March 10, 1983) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, author, entrepreneur, and record producer. She rose to prominence after winning the American Idol (season 4), fourth season of ''American Idol'' in 2005. H ...

Carrie Underwood
rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of ''American Idol'' and has since become one of the most prominent recording artists in the genre, with worldwide sales of more than 65 million records and seven Grammy Awards. With her first single, "Inside Your Heaven", Underwood became the only solo country artist to have a number 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, ''Billboard'' Hot 100 chart in the 2000–2009 decade and also broke ''Billboard'' chart history as the first country music artist ever to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100. Underwood's debut album, ''Some Hearts (Carrie Underwood album), Some Hearts'', became the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history, the fastest-selling debut country album in the history of the SoundScan era and the best-selling country album of the last 10 years, being ranked by ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'' as the number 1 Country Album of the 2000–2009 decade. She has also become the female country artist with the most number one hits on the ''Billboard'' Hot Country Songs chart in the Nielsen SoundScan era (1991–present), having 14 No. 1s and breaking her own ''Guinness Book'' record of ten. In 2007, Underwood won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, becoming only the second Country artist in history (and the first in a decade) to win it. She also made history by becoming the seventh woman to win Entertainer of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the first woman in history to win the award twice, as well as twice consecutively. ''Time (magazine), Time'' has listed Underwood as one of the Time 100, 100 most influential people in the world. In 2016, Underwood topped the Country Airplay chart for the 15th time, becoming the female artist with most number ones on that chart. Carrie Underwood was only one of several country stars produced by a television series in the 2000s. In addition to Underwood, ''American Idol'' launched the careers of Kellie Pickler, Josh Gracin, Bucky Covington, Kristy Lee Cook, Danny Gokey, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery (as well as that of occasional country singer Kelly Clarkson) in the decade, and would continue to launch country careers in the 2010s. The series ''Nashville Star'', while not nearly as successful as ''Idol'', did manage to bring Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves and Chris Young (musician), Chris Young to mainstream success, also launching the careers of lower-profile musicians such as Buddy Jewell, Sean Patrick McGraw, and Canadian musician George Canyon. ''Can You Duet?'' produced the duos Steel Magnolia and Joey + Rory. Teen sitcoms also have influenced modern country music; in 2008, actress Jennette McCurdy (best known as the sidekick Sam on the teen sitcom ''iCarly'') released her first single, "So Close", following that with the single "Generation Love" in 2011. Another teen sitcom star, Miley Cyrus (of ''Hannah Montana''), also had a crossover hit in the late 2000s with "The Climb (Miley Cyrus song), The Climb" and another with a duet with her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, with "Ready, Set, Don't Go." Jana Kramer, an actress in the teen drama ''One Tree Hill (TV series), One Tree Hill'', released a country album in 2012 that has produced two hit singles as of 2013. Actresses Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton began recording country songs as part of their roles in the TV series ''Nashville (2012 TV series), Nashville'' and ''Pretty Little Liars'' star Lucy Hale released her debut album ''Road Between'' in 2014. In 2010, the group Lady Antebellum won five Grammys, including the coveted Grammy Award for Song of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year for "Need You Now (Lady Antebellum song), Need You Now". A large number of duos and vocal groups emerged on the charts in the 2010s, many of which feature close harmony in the lead vocals. In addition to Lady A, groups such as Herrick (band), Herrick, the Quebe Sisters Band, Little Big Town, the Band Perry, Gloriana (band), Gloriana, Thompson Square, Eli Young Band, Zac Brown Band and British duo The Shires (duo), the Shires have emerged to occupy a large share of mainstream success alongside solo singers such as Kacey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert. One of the most commercially successful country artists of the late 2000s and early 2010s has been singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Swift first became widely known in 2006 when her debut single, "Tim McGraw (song), Tim McGraw," was released when Swift was only 16. In 2006, Swift released her Taylor Swift (album), self-titled debut studio album, which spent 275 weeks on Billboard 200, ''Billboard'' 200, one of the longest runs of any album on that chart. In 2008, Taylor Swift released her second studio album, ''Fearless (Taylor Swift album), Fearless'', which made her the second longest number-one charted on ''Billboard'' 200 and the second best-selling album (just behind Adele's ''21 (Adele album), 21'') within the past 5 years. At the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, 2010 Grammys, Taylor Swift was 20 and won Album of the Year for ''Fearless'', which made her the youngest artist to win this award. Swift has received ten Grammy Award, Grammys already. Buoyed by her teen idol status among girls and a change in the methodology of compiling the ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'' charts to favor pop-crossover songs, Swift's 2012 single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" spent the most weeks at the top of Billboard's Billboard Hot 100, Hot 100 chart and Hot Country Songs chart of any song in nearly five decades. The song's long run at the top of the chart was somewhat controversial, as the song is largely a pop song without much country influence and its success on the charts driven by a change to the chart's criteria to include airplay on non-country radio stations, prompting disputes over what constitutes a country song; many of Swift's later releases, such as album ''1989 (Taylor Swift album), 1989'' (2014), ''Reputation (Taylor Swift album), Reputation'' (2017), and ''Lover (album), Lover'' (2019) were released solely to Pop music, pop audiences. Swift returned to country music in her recent folk-inspired releases, ''Folklore (Taylor Swift album), Folklore'' (2020) and ''Evermore (Taylor Swift album), Evermore'' (2020), with songs like "Betty (Taylor Swift song), Betty" and "No Body, No Crime".


National patriotism

Roots of conservative country was Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA". The September 11 attacks of 2001 and the economic recession helped move country music back into the spotlight. Many country artists, such as Alan Jackson with his ballad on terrorist attacks, "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)", wrote songs that celebrated the military, highlighted the gospel, and emphasized home and family values over wealth. Alt-Country singer Ryan Adams song "New York, New York (Ryan Adams song), New York, New York" pays tribute to New York City, and its popular music video (which was shot 4 days before the attacks) shows Adams playing in front of the Manhattan skyline, Along with several shots of the city. In contrast, more rock-oriented country singers took more direct aim at the attacks' perpetrators; Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" threatened to "a boot in" the posterior of the enemy, while Charlie Daniels's "This Ain't No Rag, It's a Flag" promised to "hunt" the perpetrators "down like a mad dog hound." These songs gained such recognition that it put country music back into popular culture. Darryl Worley recorded "Have You Forgotten" also.


Influence of rock music

The influence of
rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no ...
in country has become more overt during the late 2000s and early 2010s as artists like Eric Church, Jason Aldean, and Brantley Gilbert have had success; Aaron Lewis (musician), Aaron Lewis, former frontman for the rock group Staind, had a moderately successful entry into country music in 2011 and 2012, as did Dallas Smith, former frontman of the band Default (band), Default.


Bro country

In the early 2010s, "bro-country", a genre noted primarily for its themes on drinking and partying, girls, and pickup trucks became particularly popular. Notable artists associated with this genre are Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Jake Owen and
Florida Georgia Line Florida Georgia Line is an American country music duo founded in 2010 by Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley (musician), Brian Kelley, both of whom are vocalists and songwriters. Their 2012 debut single "Cruise (song), Cruise" broke two major sales ...

Florida Georgia Line
whose song "Cruise (song), Cruise" became the best-selling country song of all time. Research in the mid-2010s suggested that about 45 percent of country's best-selling songs could be considered bro-country, with the top two artists being Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line. Albums by bro-country singers also sold very well—in 2013, Luke Bryan's ''Crash My Party'' was the third best-selling of all albums in the US, with Florida Georgia Line's ''Here's to the Good Times'' at sixth, and Blake Shelton's ''Based on a True Story..., Based on a True Story'' at ninth. It is also thought that the popularity of bro-country helped country music to surpass classic rock as the most popular genre in America in 2012. The genre however is controversial as it has been criticized by other country musicians and commentators over its themes and depiction of women, opening up a divide between the older generation of country singers and the younger bro country singers that was described as "civil war" by musicians, critics, and journalists." In 2014, Maddie & Tae's "Girl in a Country Song", addressing many of the controversial bro-country themes, peaked at number one on the ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'' Country Airplay chart.


Texas Country

The Lone Star state can proudly claim some of the most talented musicians in country music. These artists have created large
Texas Texas (, ; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambigu ...

Texas
based fan communities that regularly attend live shows throughout the state and of course tune in to listen to their favorite songs on radio stations in Texas and beyond. Texas country music has developed a secondary music chart to that of the country music chart based in
Nashville Nashville is the Capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Tennessee, most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee, Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. ...
. Th
Texas Country Music Chart
is composed of artists who were born, reside or have connections to Texas. Artists on this chart are huge stars within the realm of Texas and the reach of Texas country radio airplay. The work these artists have made is not only important for Texas music, but country music in general. Artists currently paving the way for the sub genre include Cody Johnson, Aaron Watson and many others who fail to receive recognition from the country music community in Nashville. Traditional artists within Texas country include Bruce Robison, The Randy Rogers Band, Roger Creager, Pat Green and numerous other influential artists. Texas country music is a massive sleeping giant in the music industry and with growing interest and talent from the region and radio airplay, the country music scene is expecting change via Texas based artists.


Bluegrass country

Bluegrass music, Bluegrass Country is a genre that contain songs about going through hard times, country loving, and telling stories. Newer artists like Billy Strings, the Grascals, Molly Tuttle, Tyler Childers and the Infamous Stringdusters have been increasing the popularity of this genre, alongside some of the genres more established stars who still remain popular including Rhonda Vincent, Alison Krauss and Union Station (band), Union Station, Ricky Skaggs and Del McCoury. The genre has developed in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati area. Other artists include Nitty Gritty Dirt Band,
Johnny Cash John R. Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Much of Cash's music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption, especially in the later ...
, Osborne Brothers, and many others.


Americana

In an effort to combat the over-reliance of mainstream country music on pop-infused artists, the sister genre of Americana (music), Americana began to gain popularity and increase in prominence, receiving eight Grammy categories of its own in 2009. Americana music incorporates elements of country music, bluegrass, folk, blues, gospel, rhythm and blues, roots rock and southern soul and is overseen by the Americana Music Association and the Americana Music Honors & Awards. As a result of an increasingly pop-leaning mainstream, many more traditional-sounding artists such as Tyler Childers, Zach Bryan and Old Crow Medicine Show began to associate themselves more with Americana and the alternative country scene where their sound was more celebrated. Similarly, many established country acts who no longer received commercial airplay, including Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett, began to flourish again.


Deep country

During the 2000s, Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss recorded deep country song "Whiskey Lullaby", and Gretchen Wilson released "Redneck Woman". Chris Young's second album, ''The Man I Want to Be'', was released in September 2009. It was produced by James Stroud and includes cover versions of Waylon Jennings' "Rose in Paradise" (as a duet with Willie Nelson) and Tony Joe White's "Rainy Night in Georgia".


Contemporary country

In the mid to late 2010s, country music began to increasingly sound more like the style of modern-day Pop music, with more simple and repetitive lyrics, more electronic-based instrumentation, and experimentation with "talk-singing" and rap, pop-country pulled farther away from the traditional sounds of country music and received criticisms from country music purists while gaining in popularity with mainstream audiences. The topics addressed have also changed, turning controversial such as acceptance of the LGBT community, safe sex, recreational marijuana use, and questioning religious sentiment. Influences also come from some pop artists' interest in the country genre, including Justin Timberlake with the album ''Man of the Woods,'' Beyoncé's single "Daddy Lessons" from Lemonade (Beyoncé album), ''Lemonade'', Gwen Stefani with "Nobody but You (Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani song), Nobody but You", Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, and Pink (singer), Pink. Some modern artists that primarily or entirely produce
country pop Country pop (also known as pop country) is a fusion genre of country music and pop music that was developed by members of the country genre out of a desire to reach a larger, mainstream audience. Country pop music blends genres like rock, pop, ...
music include Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Sam Hunt, Kane Brown, Chris Lane, Lil Nas X, The Highwomen and Dan + Shay. The singers who are part of this country movement are also defined as "Nashville's new generation of country". Although the changes made by the new generation, it has been recognized by major music awards associations and Billboard charts, successes in Billboard charts, Billboard and international charts. Golden Hour (Kacey Musgraves album), ''Golden Hour'' by Kacey Musgraves won album of the year at 61st Annual Grammy Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards, although it has received widespread criticism from the more traditionalist public. Lil Nas X song "Old Town Road" List of Billboard Hot 100 chart achievements and milestones, spent 19 weeks atop the US Billboard Hot 100, ''Billboard'' Hot 100 chart, becoming the longest-running number-one song since the chart debuted in 1958, winning Billboard Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards and Grammy Award. Sam Hunt "Leave the Night On" peaked concurrently on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, making Hunt the first country artist in 22 years, since Billy Ray Cyrus, to reach the top of three country charts simultaneously in the Nielsen SoundScan-era. Maren Morris success collaboration "The Middle (Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey song), The Middle" with Electronic music, EDM producer Zedd is considered one of the representations of the fusion of electro-pop with country music.


International


Australia

Australian country music has a long tradition. Influenced by American country music, it has developed a distinct style, shaped by British and Irish folk ballads and Australian bush balladeers like Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson. Country instruments, including the guitar,
banjo The banjo is a stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity to form a resonator. The membrane is typically circular, and usually made of plastic, or occasionally animal skin. Early forms of the instrument were fashion ...

banjo
,
fiddle A fiddle is a bowed string String or strings may refer to: *String (structure), a long flexible structure made from threads twisted together, which is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects Arts, entertainment, and media Films * String ...

fiddle
and harmonica, create the distinctive sound of country music in Australia and accompany songs with strong storyline and memorable chorus. Folk songs sung in Australia between the 1780s and 1920s, based around such themes as the struggle against government tyranny, or the lives of bushrangers, swagmen, Drover (Australian), drovers, Stockman (Australia), stockmen and sheep shearer, shearers, continue to influence the genre. This strain of Australian country, with lyrics focusing on Australian subjects, is generally known as "bush music" or "bush band music". "Waltzing Matilda", often regarded as Australia's unofficial national anthem, is a quintessential Australian country song, influenced more by British and Irish folk ballads than by American country and western music. The lyrics were composed by the poet Banjo Paterson in 1895. Other popular songs from this tradition include "The Wild Colonial Boy", "Click Go the Shears", "The Queensland Drover" and "The Dying Stockman". Later themes which endure to the present include the experiences of war, of droughts and flooding rains, of Aboriginal Australians, Aboriginality and of the railways and trucking routes which link Australia's vast distances. Pioneers of a more Americanised popular country music in Australia included Tex Morton (known as "The Father of Australian Country Music") in the 1930s. Author Andrew Smith delivers a through research and engaged view of Tex Morton's life and his impact on the country music scene in Australia in the 1930s and 1940s. Other early stars included Buddy Williams (country musician), Buddy Williams, Shirley Thoms and Smoky Dawson. Buddy Williams (1918–1986) was the first Australian-born to record country music in Australia in the late 1930s and was the pioneer of a distinctly Australian style of country music called the bush ballad that others such as Slim Dusty would make popular in later years. During the Second World War, many of Buddy Williams recording sessions were done whilst on leave from the Army. At the end of the war, Williams would go on to operate some of the largest travelling tent rodeo shows Australia has ever seen. In 1952, Dawson began a radio show and went on to national stardom as a singing cowboy of radio, TV and film. Slim Dusty (1927–2003) was known as the "King of Australian Country Music" and helped to popularise the Australian bush ballad. His successful career spanned almost six decades, and his 1957 hit "A Pub with No Beer" was the biggest-selling record by an Australian to that time, and with over seven million record sales in Australia he is the most successful artist in Australian musical history.Dave" Laing
"Slim Dusty: Country singer famous for A Pub With No Beer"
''The Guardian (UK)'', 20 September 2003
Dusty recorded and released his one-hundredth album in the year 2000 and was given the honour of singing "Waltzing Matilda" in the closing ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics, Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Dusty's wife Joy McKean penned several of his most popular songs. Chad Morgan, who began recording in the 1950s, has represented a vaudeville style of comic Australian country; Frank Ifield achieved considerable success in the early 1960s, especially in the UK Singles Charts and Reg Lindsay was one of the first Australians to perform at Nashville's
Grand Ole Opry The ''Grand Ole Opry'' is a weekly American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time music, old-time, and Ame ...

Grand Ole Opry
in 1974. Eric Bogle's 1972 folk lament to the Gallipoli Campaign "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" recalled the British and Irish origins of Australian folk-country. Singer-songwriter Paul Kelly (Australian musician), Paul Kelly, whose music style straddles folk, rock and country, is often described as the poet laureate of Australian music. By the 1990s, country music had attained crossover success in the pop charts, with artists like James Blundell (singer), James Blundell and James Reyne singing "The Dingoes, Way Out West", and country star Kasey Chambers winning the ARIA Award for Best Female Artist in 2000, 2002 and 2004, tying with pop stars Wendy Matthews and Sia (musician), Sia for the most wins in that category. Furthermore, Chambers has gone on to win nine ARIA Award for Best Country Album, ARIA Awards for Best Country Album and, in 2018, became the youngest artist to ever be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. The crossover influence of Australian country is also evident in the music of successful contemporary bands the Waifs and the John Butler Trio. Nick Cave has been heavily influenced by the country artist
Johnny Cash John R. Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Much of Cash's music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption, especially in the later ...
. In 2000, Cash, covered Cave's "The Mercy Seat (song), The Mercy Seat" on the album ''American III: Solitary Man'', seemingly repaying Cave for the compliment he paid by covering Cash's "The Singer" (originally "The Folk Singer") on his ''Kicking Against the Pricks'' album. Subsequently, Cave cut a duet with Cash on a version of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" for Cash's ''American IV: The Man Comes Around'' album (2002). Popular contemporary performers of Australian country music include John Williamson (singer), John Williamson (who wrote the iconic "True Blue (John Williamson song), True Blue"), Lee Kernaghan (whose hits include "Boys from the Bush" and "The Outback Club"), Gina Jeffreys, Forever Road and Sara Storer. In the United States, Olivia Newton-John, Sherrié Austin and Keith Urban have attained great success. During her time as a country singer in the 1970s, Newton-John became the first (and to date only) non-American winner of the Country Music Association Award for Female Vocalist of the Year which many considered a controversial decision by the CMA; after starring in the rock-and-roll musical film ''Grease (film), Grease'' in 1978, Newton-John (mirroring the character she played in the film) shifted to pop music in the 1980s. Urban is arguably considered the most successful international Australian country star, winning nine CMA Awards, including three Country Music Association Award for Male Vocalist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year wins and two wins of the CMA's top honour Country Music Association Award for Entertainer of the Year, Entertainer of the Year. Pop star Kylie Minogue found success with her 2018 country pop album ''Golden (Kylie Minogue album), Golden'' which she recorded in Nashville reaching number one in Scotland, the UK and her native Australia. Country music has been a particularly popular form of musical expression among Indigenous Australians. Troy Cassar-Daley is among Australia's successful contemporary indigenous performers, and Kev Carmody and Archie Roach employ a combination of folk-rock and country music to sing about Aboriginal rights issues. The Tamworth Country Music Festival began in 1973 and now attracts up to 100,000 visitors annually. Held in Tamworth, New South Wales (country music capital of Australia), it celebrates the culture and heritage of Australian country music. During the festival the Country Music Association of Australia, CMAA holds the Country Music Awards of Australia ceremony awarding the Golden Guitar trophies. Other significant country music festivals include the Whittlesea Country Music Festival (near Melbourne) and the Mildura Country Music Festival for "independent" performers during October, and the Canberra Country Music Festival held in the national capital during November. ''Country HQ'' showcases new talent on the rise in the country music scene down under. CMC (the Country Music Channel), a 24‑hour music channel dedicated to non-stop country music, can be viewed on pay TV and features once a year the Golden Guitar Awards, CMAs and CCMAs alongside international shows such as ''The Wilkinsons'', ''The Road Hammers'', and ''Country Music Across America''.


Canada

Outside of the United States, Canada has the largest country music fan and artist base, something that is to be expected given the two countries' proximity and cultural parallels. Mainstream country music is culturally ingrained in the Canadian Prairies, prairie provinces, the British Columbia Interior, Ontario, and in Atlantic Canada. Celtic music, Celtic traditional music developed in Atlantic Canada in the form of Scottish, Acadian and Irish folk music popular amongst Irish, French and Scottish immigrants to Canada's Atlantic Provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island). Like the southern United States and Appalachia, all four regions are of heavy British Isles stock and rural; as such, the development of traditional music in the Maritimes somewhat mirrored the development of country music in the US South and Appalachia. Country and Western music never really developed separately in Canada; however, after its introduction to Canada, following the spread of radio, it developed quite quickly out of the Atlantic Canadian traditional scene. While true Atlantic Canadian traditional music is very Celtic or "sea shanty" in nature, even today, the lines have often been blurred. Certain areas often are viewed as embracing one strain or the other more openly. For example, in Newfoundland the traditional music remains unique and Music of Ireland, Irish in nature, whereas traditional musicians in other parts of the region may play both genres interchangeably. ''Don Messer's Jubilee'' was a Halifax Regional Municipality, Halifax, Nova Scotia-based country/folk variety television show that was broadcast nationally from 1957 to 1969. In Canada it out-performed ''The Ed Sullivan Show'' broadcast from the United States and became the top-rated television show throughout much of the 1960s. ''Don Messer's Jubilee'' followed a consistent format throughout its years, beginning with a tune named "Goin' to the Barndance Tonight", followed by fiddle tunes by Messer, songs from some of his "Islanders" including singers Marg Osburne and Charlie Chamberlain, the featured guest performance, and a closing hymn. It ended with "Till We Meet Again (1918 song), Till We Meet Again". The guest performance slot gave national exposure to numerous Canadian folk musicians, including Stompin' Tom Connors and Catherine McKinnon. Some Maritime country performers went on to further fame beyond Canada. Hank Snow, Wilf Carter (musician), Wilf Carter (also known as Montana Slim), and Anne Murray are the three most notable. The cancellation of the show by the public broadcaster in 1969 caused a nationwide protest, including the raising of questions in the Parliament of Canada. The Prairie provinces, due to their western cowboy and agrarian nature, are the true heartland of Canadian country music. While the Prairies never developed a traditional music culture anything like the Maritimes, the folk music of the Prairies often reflected the cultural origins of the settlers, who were a mix of Scottish Canadian, Scottish, Ukrainian Canadian, Ukrainian, Canadians of German ethnicity, German and others. For these reasons polkas and Western music were always popular in the region, and with the introduction of the radio, mainstream country music flourished. As the culture of the region is western and frontier in nature, the specific genre of country and western is more popular today in the Prairies than in any other part of the country. No other area of the country embraces all aspects of the culture, from two-step dancing, to the cowboy dress, to rodeos, to the music itself, like the Prairies do. The Atlantic Provinces, on the other hand, produce far more traditional musicians, but they are not usually specifically country in nature, usually bordering more on the Folk music, folk or Celtic music, Celtic genres. Canadian country pop star Shania Twain is the best-selling female country artist of all time and one of the List of best-selling music artists, best-selling artists of all time in any genre. Furthermore, she is the only woman to have three consecutive albums be certified RIAA certification, Diamond.


Mexico and Latin America

Country music artists from the United States have seen crossover appeal with Latin American audiences, particularly in Mexico. Especially artists from the
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in the genres of
New Mexico music New Mexico music ( es, música nuevo mexicana) is a genre of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societie ...
and Tejano music, Tejano "Tex-Mex" which are popular, throughout Latin America, beyond their
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New Mexico
and
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Texas
audiences. Many Country music artists from throughout the United States have recorded renditions of Mexican folk songs, including "El Rey (song), El Rey" which was performed on
George Strait George Harvey Strait Sr. (born May 18, 1952) is an American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences throu ...
's Twang (album), Twang album and during
Al Hurricane Alberto Nelson Sanchez (July 10, 1936 – October 22, 2017), known professionally as Al Hurricane, was an American singer-songwriter, dubbed "The Godfather" of New Mexico music. He released more than thirty albums, and is best known for his contrib ...

Al Hurricane
's A Tribute to Al Hurricane, tribute concert. Even American Latin pop crossover musicians, like Lorenzo Antonio's "Ranchera Jam" have combined Mexican staples "Cielito Lindo" and Tito Guízar's "Allá en el Rancho Grande (song), Allá en el Rancho Grande" with country music classics
Johnny Cash John R. Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Much of Cash's music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption, especially in the later ...
's "Folsom Prison Blues" and Hank Williams' "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)", in a
New Mexico music New Mexico music ( es, música nuevo mexicana) is a genre of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societie ...
style. During the 1970s,
Tejano music Tejano music ( es, música tejana), also known as Tex-Mex music, is a popular music style fusing Mexican and U.S. influences. With elements from Mexican-Spanish vocal traditions and Czech and German dance tunes and rhythms, particularly polka or ...
singer-songwriter Freddy Fender had two #1 country music singles, that were popular throughout North America, with "Before the Next Teardrop Falls (song), Before the Next Teardrop Falls" and "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights". Songs inspired by Hispanic and Latin culture have long been performed by American country music artists, including
Marty Robbins Martin David Robinson (September 26, 1925 – December 8, 1982), known professionally as Marty Robbins, was an American singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, and NASCAR racing driver. Robbins was one of the most popular and succe ...
' "El Paso (song), El Paso" trilogy, the Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard song "Pancho and Lefty", "Toes (Zac Brown Band song), Toes" by Zac Brown Band, and "Sangria (song), Sangria" by Blake Shelton. Regional Mexican is a radio format featuring many of Mexico's versions of country music. It includes a number of different styles, usually named after their region of origin. One specific song style, the Ranchera, Canción Ranchera, or simply Ranchera, literally meaning "ranch song", found its origins in the Mexican countryside and was first popularized with Mariachi. It has since also become popular with Grupera, Grupero, Banda music, Banda, Norteño (music), Norteño, Tierra Caliente music, Tierra Caliente, Duranguense and other regional Mexican styles. The Corrido, a different song style with a similar history, is also performed in many different regional styles, and is most related to the
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
style of the United States and Canada. Country en Español (Country in Spanish) is also popular in Mexico. It became prominent in the northern regions of the country during the 1980s, and it most resembles Neotraditional country. Other song styles performed in regional Mexican music include Sentimental ballad, Ballads, Cumbias, Boleros, among others. In Brazil, there is Música sertaneja, Música Sertaneja, the most popular music genre in that country. It originated in the countryside of São Paulo (state), São Paulo state in the 1910s, before the development of American country music. In Argentina, on the last weekend of September, the yearly San Pedro Country Music Festival takes place in the town of San Pedro, Buenos Aires. The festival features bands from different places in Argentina, as well as international artists from Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Peru and the United States.


United Kingdom

Country music is popular in the United Kingdom, although somewhat less so than in other English-speaking countries. There are some British country music acts and publications. Although radio stations devoted to country are among the most popular in other Anglophone nations, none of the top 10 List of most-listened-to radio programs, most-listened-to stations in the UK are country stations, and national broadcaster BBC Radio does not offer a full-time country station (BBC Radio 2 Country, a "pop-up" station, operated four days each year between 2015 and 2017). The BBC does offer a country show on BBC Radio 2 each week hosted by Bob Harris (radio), Bob Harris. UK Country music is overseen by the British Country Music Association. The most successful British country music act of the 21st century are Ward Thomas (band), Ward Thomas and The Shires (duo), the Shires. In 2015, the Shires' album ''Brave (The Shires album), Brave'', became the first UK country act ever to chart in the Top 10 of the UK Albums Chart and they became the first UK country act to receive an award from the American Country Music Association. In 2016, Ward Thomas (band), Ward Thomas then became the first UK country act to hit number 1 in the UK Albums Chart with their album Cartwheels (Ward Thomas album), ''Cartwheels''. There is the C2C: Country to Country festival held every year, and for many years there was a festival at Wembley Arena, which was broadcast on the BBC, the International Festivals of Country Music, promoted by Mervyn Conn, held at the venue between 1969 and 1991. The shows were later taken into Europe, and featured such stars as
Johnny Cash John R. Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Much of Cash's music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption, especially in the later ...
, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, David Allan Coe, Emmylou Harris, Boxcar Willie, Johnny Russell (singer), Johnny Russell and Jerry Lee Lewis. A handful of country musicians had even greater success in mainstream UK music than they did in the US, despite a certain amount of disdain from the music press. The UK's largest music festival Glastonbury Festival, Glastonbury has featured major US country acts in recent years, such as Kenny Rogers in 2013 and Dolly Parton in 2014. From within the UK, few country musicians achieved widespread mainstream success. Many British singers who performed the occasional country songs are of other genres. Tom Jones (singer), Tom Jones, by this point near the end of his peak success as a pop singer, had a string of country hits in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Bee Gees had some fleeting success in the genre, with one country hit as artists ("Rest Your Love on Me") and a major hit as songwriters ("Islands in the Stream (song), Islands in the Stream"); Barry Gibb, the band's usual lead singer and last surviving member, acknowledged that country music was a major influence on the band's style. Singer Engelbert Humperdinck (singer), Engelbert Humperdinck, while charting only once in the U.S. country top 40 with "After the Lovin'," achieved widespread success on both the U.S. and UK pop charts with his covers of Nashville country ballads such as "Release Me (1949 song), Release Me," "Am I That Easy to Forget" and "There Goes My Everything (song), There Goes My Everything." The songwriting tandem of Roger Cook (songwriter), Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway wrote a number of country hits, in addition to their widespread success in pop songwriting; Cook is notable for being the only Briton to be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler initially started her career making country records, and in 1978 her single "It's a Heartache" reached number four on the UK Singles Chart. In 2013, Tyler returned to her roots, blending the country elements of her early work with the rock of her successful material on her album ''Rocks and Honey'' which featured a duet with Vince Gill. A niche country subgenre popular in the West Country is Scrumpy and Western, which consists mostly of novelty songs and comedy music recorded there (its name comes from scrumpy, an alcoholic beverage). A primarily local interest, the largest Scrumpy and Western hit in the UK and Ireland was "The Combine Harvester," which pioneered the genre and reached number one in both the UK and Ireland; Fred Wedlock had a number-six hit in 1981 with "The Oldest Swinger in Town."


Ireland

In Ireland, Country and Irish is a music genre that combines traditional Irish folk music with American country music. Television channel TG4 began a quest for Ireland's next country star called ''Glór Tíre'', translated as "Country Voice". It is now in its sixth season and is one of TG4's most-watched TV shows. Over the past ten years, country and gospel recording artist James Kilbane has reached multi-platinum success with his mix of contemporary Christian music, Christian and traditional country influenced albums. James Kilbane like many other Irish artists is today working closer with Nashville. Daniel O'Donnell achieved international success with his brand of music crossing country, Irish folk and schlager music, European easy listening, earning a strong following among older women both in the British Isles and in North America. A recent success in the Irish arena has been Crystal Swing.


Other international country music

Tom Roland, from the Country Music Association International, explains country music's global popularity: "In this respect, at least, Country Music listeners around the globe have something in common with those in the United States. In Germany, for instance, Rohrbach identifies three general groups that gravitate to the genre: people intrigued with the American cowboy icon, middle-aged fans who seek an alternative to harder rock music and younger listeners drawn to the pop-influenced sound that underscores many current Country hits." One of the first Americans to perform country music abroad was George Hamilton IV. He was the first country musician to perform in the Soviet Union; he also toured in Australia and the Middle East. He was deemed the "International Ambassador of Country Music" for his contributions to the globalization of country music. Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Keith Urban, and Dwight Yoakam have also made numerous international tours. The Country Music Association undertakes various initiatives to promote country music internationally.


Asia

In India, the Anglo-Indian community is well known for enjoying and performing country music. An annual concert festival called "Blazing Guitars" held in Chennai brings together Anglo-Indian musicians from all over the country (including some who have emigrated to places like Australia). The year 2003 brought home – grown Indian, Bobby Cash (singer), Bobby Cash to the forefront of the country music culture in India when he became India's first international country music artist to chart singles in Australia. In Iran, country music has appeared in recent years. According to ''Melody Music Magazine'', the pioneer of country music in Iran is the English-speaking country music band Dream Rovers, whose founder, singer and songwriter is Erfan Rezayatbakhsh (elf). The band was formed in 2007 in Tehran, and during this time they have been trying to introduce and popularize country music in Iran by releasing two studio albums and performing live at concerts, despite the difficulties that the Islamic regime in Iran makes for bands that are active in the western music field. In Japan, electronic music producer and DJ Yasutaka Nakata started to create a country-folk style of music for model and tarento, entertainer Mito Natsume. Mito's activities as a singer has yielded to her debut studio album, ''Natsumelo,'' in 2017. In the Philippines, country music has found their way into Cordilleran way of life, which often compares the Igorot lifestyle to that of American cowboys. Baguio City has an FM station that caters to country music, DZWR 99.9 Country, which is part of the Catholic Media Network. Bombo Radyo Baguio has a segment on its Sunday slot for Igorot, Ilocano and country music. And as of recently, DWUB occasionally plays country music.


Continental Europe

In Sweden, Rednex rose to stardom combining country music with synthpop, electro-pop in the 1990s. In 1994, the group had a worldwide hit with their version of the traditional Southern tune "Cotton-Eyed Joe". Artists popularizing more traditional country music in Sweden have been Ann-Louise Hanson, Hasse Andersson, Kikki Danielsson, Elisabeth Andreassen and Jill Johnson. In Poland an international country music festival, known as Piknik Country, has been organized in Mrągowo in Masuria since 1983. There are more and more country music artists in France. Some of the most important are Liane Edwards, , Rockie Mountains, Tahiana, and Lili West. French rock and roll superstar Eddy Mitchell is also very inspired by Americana (music), Americana and country music. In the Netherlands there are many artists producing popular country and Americana music, which is mostly in the English language, as well as Dutch country and country-like music in the Dutch language. The latter is mainly popular on the countrysides in the northern and eastern parts of the Netherlands and is less associated with his American brother, although it sounds sometimes very similar. Well known popular artists mainly performing in English are Waylon (singer), Waylon, Danny Vera (singer), Danny Vera, Ilse DeLange, Douwe Bob and the band Savannah (band), Savannah. The most popular artist in Dutch is Henk Wijngaard.


Performers and shows


US cable television

Several U.S. TV networks are at least partly devoted to the genre: CMT (U.S. TV channel), Country Music Television and CMT Music (both owned by ViacomCBS), RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel (owned by Patrick Gottsch), Great American Country (owned by Discovery, Inc.), Heartland (TV network), Heartland (owned by Reach High Media Group), Circle (TV network), Circle (a joint venture of the ''Grand Ole Opry'' and Gray Television), and The Country Network (owned by TCN Country, LLC). The first American country music video cable channel was The Nashville Network, launched in the early 1980s as a channel devoted to southern culture. In 2000, after it and CMT fell under the same corporate ownership, the channel was stripped of its country format and rebranded as ''The National Network'', then ''Spike'', and finally Paramount Network. TNN was later revived from 2012 to 2013 after Jim Owens Entertainment (the company responsible for prominent TNN hosts Crook & Chase) acquired the trademark and licensed it to Get After It Media, Luken Communications; that channel renamed itself Heartland after Luken was embroiled in an unrelated dispute that left the company bankrupt.


Canadian television

Only one television channel was dedicated to country music in Canada: CMT (Canada), CMT owned by Corus Entertainment (90%) and Viacom (10%). However, the lifting of strict genre licensing restrictions saw the network remove the last of its music programming at the end of August 2017 for a schedule of generic off-network family sitcoms, Canadian content, Cancom-compliant lifestyle programming, and reality programming. In the past, the current-day Cottage Life (TV channel), Cottage Life network saw some country focus as Country Canada and later, CBC Country Canada before that network drifted into an alternate network for overflow CBC content as Bold. Stingray Music continues to maintain several country music audio-only channels on cable radio. In the past, country music had an extensive presence, especially on the Canadian national broadcaster, CBC Television. The show ''Don Messer's Jubilee'' significantly affected country music in Canada; for instance, it was the program that launched Anne Murray's career. Gordie Tapp's ''Country Hoedown'' and its successor, ''The Tommy Hunter Show'', ran for a combined 36 years on the CBC, from 1956 to 1992; in its last nine years on air, the U.S. cable network TNN carried Hunter's show.


Australian cable television

The only network dedicated to country music in Australia is the Country Music Channel owned by Foxtel.


UK digital television

One music channel is currently dedicated to country music in the United Kingdom: Spotlight TV, owned by Canis Media.


Festivals


Criticism


Subgenres misrepresented on streaming services

Computer science and music experts identified issues with algorithms on streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, specifically the categorical homogenization of music curation and metadata within larger genres such as country music. Musicians and songs from minority heritage styles, such as
AppalachianAppalachian may refer to: * The Appalachian Mountains, a major mountain range in eastern United States and Canada * The Appalachian Trail, a hiking trail in the eastern United States * The people of Appalachia and their culture ** Appalachian Americ ...
,
Cajun The Cajuns (; Louisiana French: ''les Cadiens''), also known as ''Acadians'' (Louisiana French: ''les Acadiens''), are an ethnic group mainly living in the U.S. states of Louisiana and Texas. They also live in the The Maritimes, Canadian maritim ...
,
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...
, and
Tejano music Tejano music ( es, música tejana), also known as Tex-Mex music, is a popular music style fusing Mexican and U.S. influences. With elements from Mexican-Spanish vocal traditions and Czech and German dance tunes and rhythms, particularly polka or ...
, underperform on these platforms due to underrepresentation and miscategorization of these subgenres.


Race issue in modern country music

The Country Music Association has awarded the New Artist award to a Black American only twice in 63 years, and never to a Hispanic musician. The broader modern
Nashville Nashville is the Capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Tennessee, most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee, Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. ...
-based Country music industry has underrepresented significant Black and Latino contributions within Country music, including popular subgenres such as Cajun, Creole, Tejano, and New Mexico music. A 2021 CNN article states, "Some in country music have signaled that they are no longer content to be associated with a painful history of racism." In February 2021, TMZ released a video of Morgan Wallen that was recorded outside his
Nashville Nashville is the Capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Tennessee, most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee, Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. ...
home in which he used a racial slur. The incident resulted in Morgan Wallen's suspension from his record label and the removal of his music from major radio networks in the United States. The Country Music Association awarded Wallen its New Artist of the Year award in 2020, but even in the wake of Wallen's use of the slur the organization has declined to revoke the award, perhaps because Wallen's music experienced a surge in commercial success following the incident. Black country-music artist Mickey Guyton has been included among the nominees for the 2021 award, effectively creating a litmus-test for the genre. Guyton has expressed bewilderment that, despite substantial coverage by online platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, her music, like that of Valerie June, another Black musician who embraces aspects of country in her Appalachian- and Gospel-tinged work and who has been embraced by international music audiences, is still effectively ignored by American broadcast country-music radio. Guyton's 2021 album ''Remember Her Name'' in part references the case of Black health-care professional Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her home by police.


See also

* American Country Countdown Awards * Canadian Country Music Association * CMT Music Awards * Country (identity) * Country and Irish * Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum * Country-western dance * Culture of the Southern United States * Music genre * List of country music performers * List of RPM number-one country singles * Music of the United States * Pop music * Western Music Association * 2021 in country music


References


Further reading

* * * * * * * Thomas S. Johnson (1981) "That Ain't Country: The Distinctiveness of Commercial Western Music" JEMF Quarterly. Vol. 17, No. 62. Summer, 1981. pp 75–84. * * * Bill Legere (1977). ''Record Collectors Guide of Country LPs''. Limited ed. Mississauga, Ont.: W.J. Legere. 269, 25, 29, 2 p., thrice perforated and looseleaf. Without ISBN * Bill Legere ([1977]). ''E[lectrical] T[anscription]s: Transcription Library of Bill Legere''. Mississauga, Ont.: B. Legere. 3 vols., each of which is thrice perforated and looseleaf. N.B.: Vol. 1–2, Country Artists—vol. 2, Pop Artists. Without ISBN * * * Diane Pecknold (ed.) ''Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music.'' Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. * *


External links


The Country Music Association – Nashville, Tennessee(CMA)

Western Music Association (WMA)

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum – Nashville, Tennessee

Grand Ole Opry – Nashville, Tennessee

Irish country music

Country Music Festivals Ontario Website

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation

TIME Archive
of country music's progression

alt country from American Studies at the University of Virginia
Largest collection of online Country music radio stations

Kingwood Kowboy's History Of Country Music
{{Authority control Country music, 2021 African-American music American styles of music Culture of the Southern United States Radio formats