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Country music

Country music is an American-developed popular musical form, with roots in traditional folk music. Initially derived from the same Appalachian[?] and celtic folk tradition as bluegrass, another form of American roots music, country music is now one of the most popular forms of music in the world, particularly in the southern United States. Country music often includes steel guitar, fiddle (violin), and acoustic guitar although drums and electric guitar have become standard instruments also. The term "Country & Western" is now considered obsolete.

At the time of its early popularity, country shared America's affection with swing music, a type of jazz and enterprising musicians such as Bob Wills fused the two to form western swing[?].

During the 1960s, country music became a multi-million dollar industry centered on Nashville, Tennessee. Under the direction of Chet Atkins, the Nashville sound brought country music to a diverse audience. Although country music has great stylistic diversity, this diversity is not usually well-reflected in radio airplay and the popular perception of country music is still dominated by maudlin ballads.

In the 1990s a new form of country music emerged, called by some alternative country, or "insurgent country". Performed by generally younger musicians and inspired by traditional country performers, it shunned the Nashville-dominated sound of mainstream country and borrowed more from punk and rock groups than the watered-down, pop-oriented sound of Nashville.

Early Innovators:

Golden Age

Country Rock

Television and radio shows of note:

Further Reading

  • In The Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music, Nicholas Dawidoff, Vintage Books, 1998. ISBN 0-375-70082-x

  • Are You Ready for the Country: Elvis, Dylan, Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock, Peter Dogget, Penguin Books, 2001. ISBN 0-140-26108-7

  • Dreaming Out Loud: Garth Brooks, Wynona Judd, Wade Hayes and the changing face of Nashville, Bruce Feiler, Avon Books, 1998. ISBN 0-380-97578-5

Other links

Academy of Country Music
List of country musicians for a comprehensive list of current and past performers
Country Music Association
Alternative country for a list of the performers in that sub-genre

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