is an American-developed popular musical
form, with roots in traditional folk music
. Initially derived from the same Appalachian[?]
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
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.
- Jimmie Rodgers, first country superstar, also bluesman
- Carter Family, rural country-blues, known for hits like "Wildwood Flower"
- Hank Snow
- Hank Williams Sr, honky tonk pioneer, singer and songwriter, known for hits like "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Your Cheatin' Heart", followed in music by his son and grandson
- Bill Monroe, father of bluegrass
- Grand Ole Opry, one of the oldest radio programs
- Louvin Brothers[?], inspired the Everly Brothers
Television and radio shows of note:
- 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
- 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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