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The History of Country Music

The History of Country Music

Andrea Scott

on 10 June 2013

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Transcript of The History of Country Music

COUNTRY MUSIC What Is Country Music? Country music is a genre of American popular music, that began in the rural regions of the Southern United States in the 1920's. It takes its roots from the Southeastern American folk music and western music. Country music often consists of ballads and dance tunes with generally simple forms, and harmonies. It is mostly accompanied by string instruments, such as banjos, electric and acoustic guitars, fiddles, and harmonicas. Where Did It Originate? Country music originated when immigrants of the Southern Appalachian Mountains of North America brought the music and instruments of country music along with them for nearly 300 years. They brought some of their most important valuables with them, and to most of them this was an instrument. Country music was introduced to the world as a Southern phenomenon. In the South, folk music was a combination of cultural strains, combining musical combinations of a variety of ethnic groups in the region. Most Influential Country Artists Country music has produced two of the top selling solo artists of all time. Elvis Presley who was known early on as "The Hillbilly Cat" and was a regular on the radio program, Louisian Hayride, he went on to become a defining figure in the emerging genre of rock n' roll. Garth Brooks, is also one of the top selling country artists of all time. But, no other artist has touched the world quite like Johnny Cash. he is the only person to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and The Songwriter's Hall of Fame. His very name is known as someone who fights for the rights of the poor and downtrodden. The Generations First Generation: 1920's Atlanta's music scene played a major role in launching country's earliest recording artists in the early 1920's. Many Appalachian people had come to the city to work in its cotton mills and brought their music with them. It would remain a major recording center for two decades and a major performance center for four decades, into the first country music TV shows on local Atlanta stations in the 1950's. Second Generation: 1930 - 1940 One effect of the Great Depression was to reduce the number of records that could be sold. Radio, and broadcasting, became a popular source of entertainment, and "barn dance" shows featuring country music were started all over the South. They went as far north as Chicago, and as far west as California. The most important was the Grand Ole Opry, which aired starting in 1925 in Nashville until this present day. Some of the early stars on the Opry were Uncle Dave Macon, Roy Acuff, and African American harmonica player DeFord Bailey. Third Generation: 1950 - 1960 By the early 1950's a blend of Western swing, country boogie, and honky tonk was played by most country bands. Western music, influenced by the cowboy ballads and Tejano music rhythms of the southeastern U.S and northern Mexico, reached its peak in popularity in the late 1950's. During the mid- 1950's a new style of country music became popular, eventually to be referred to as rockabilly. Rockabilly was most popular with country fans in the 1950's, and 1956 could be called the year of rockabilly in country music. Rockabilly was a mixture of rock-and-roll and hillbilly music. During this period Elvis Presley coverted over to country music. He played a huge role in the music industry during this time. Fourth Generation: 1970 - 1980 During the 1970's and 1980's Outlaw country was a very popular type of country music. It derived from the traditional Western and honky tonk musical styles of the late 1950's and 1960's, including Ray Price ( whose band, the "Cherokee Cowboys", included Willie Nelson and Rodger Miller) and mixed with the anger of an alienated subculture of the nation during the period, outlaw country revolutionized the genre of country music. Fifth Generation: 1990's 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. At the same time, beautiful music stations already in rural areas began abandoning the format to adopt country music as well. This wider availability of country music led to producers seeking to polish their product for a wider audience. Another force leading to changes in the country music industry was the changing sound of rock music, which was increasingly being influenced by the nosier, less melodic alternative rock scene. "New country" ended up absorbing rock influence from more electric musicians that were too melodic for modern rock, but too electric for the classic country music sound. In the 1990's, country music became a worldwide phenomenon thanks to Billy Ray Cyrus and Garth Brooks. Also, The Dixie Chicks became one of the most popular country bands in the 1990's and early 2000's. In the early-mid-1990's, country western music was influenced by the popularity of 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. 1920 1930-1940 1950-1960 1970-1980 1990-2000 2005 2013 Types Of Country Music Rockabilly: 1956 could be called the year of rockabilly in country music. What is now most commonly referred to as rockabilly was most popular with country music fans in the 1950's, and was recorded and performed by country musicians. Within a few years many rockabilly musicians returned to a more mainstream style, or had defined their own unique style. Bakersfield Sound: California gave rise to one genre of country music, which is known as Bakerfields sound. The Bakerfields Sound grew out of hardcore honky tonk, adding elements of Western swing. One-time West Coast residents Bob Wills and Lefty Frizzell influenced the leading proponents of this sound. The Bakersfield Sound relied on electric instruments and amplification more than other subgenres of country, giving the music a hard, driving, and edgy flavour. Country Rock: The late 1960's in American music produced a unique blend as a result of traditionalist backlash within separate genres. In the aftermath of the British Invasion, 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. Which resulted into a crossbred genre know as Country Rock. Country Pop: Country pop, or soft pop, with roots in both the country sound and in soft rock, is a genre of country music that first emerged in the 1970's. 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. As a result, Country Pop found its first widespread acceptance during the 1970's. The Urban Cowboy Effect: The most infamous era in country music was in the early 80's. Influenced by both Country Rock and Country Pop, the Urban Cowboy movement led country music farther away from its traditional roots. Country's move toward pop culture was popularized by John Travolta's Urban Cowboy and spurred on by Dolly Parton's movie 9 to 5. Some older artists from the 1960's and 1970's converted their sound to country pop such as Faron Young, Dolly Parton, Dottie West, and Ray Price. Neotraditional Country: After the dismal failure of the Urban Cowboy era, a generation of "new traditionalists"- George Strait, Ricky Skaggs, the Judds, Randy Travis, and Ricky Van Shelton- brought country out of its post- Urban Cowboy doldrums by reminding young audiences what made the music great in the first place. Other Developments: In the mid 1990's country western music was influenced by the popularity of line dancing. In the 1990's a new form of country music emerged, called by some alternative country, neotraditional, or "insurgent country". Performed by generally younger musicians and inspired by traditional country performers and the country reactionaries, it shunned the Nashville-dominated sound of mainstream country. One infrequent, but consistent theme in country music is that of proud, stubborn independence. "Country Boy Can Survive is one of the more serious song along that line; while "Redneck Woman" is more of a light- hearted variation. Country Pop Country Rock The Grand Ole Opry Nashville Beginning in the mid-1950's, and reaching its peak during the 1960's, the Nashville sound turned country music into a multimillion dollar industry centered in Nashville. Under the direction of producers such as Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley, and later Billy Sherill, 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 1950's pop stylings: a prominent and smooth vocal, backed by a string section and vocal chords. Leading artists in this genre included Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Skeeter Davis, The Browns, and Eddy Arnold. the ' "slip note" piano style of session musician Floyd Cramer was also an important component of this style. Nashville's pop song structure became more pronounced and it morphed into what was called countrypolitan. Countrypolitan was aimed straight at mainstream markets and it sold well throughout the later 1960's , into the early 1970's. The Grand Ole Opry began in 1901. It started out just as a tool to sell insurance, but has transformed into one of the best and long- lived country music radio shows in history. It is also one of the longest-lived and most popular showcases for western music to begin broadcasting live from Nashville. The four-and-a-half-hour program became one of the most popular broadcasts in the south, and helped make country-western an enduring part of the American musical landscape. As the popularity of the radio show increased, so did it's audiences, who had been showing up by the masses; so as the need for a larger venue increased. The Grand Ole Opry decidely took it's show to several different Nashville venues including the Belcourt Theatre. One of the most acknowledgable things at the Opry is the six-foot circle of dark,oak wood in the Opry House stage. It is very shiny, but is clearly well worn. Cut from the stage of the Opry's famous former owner, the Ryman Auditorium, this circle gives newcomers and veterans alike, the opportunity to sing on the same spot that once supported Uncle Dave Macon, Ernest Tubb, Patsy Cline, and others. Many things about the Opry have changed over the years- it's members, the sound of its music, and even its home. But, there's always that oak-solid centre to remind every singer, or musician who steps inside that they take part in something much larger than themselves, that wherever they go they have a connection to the legends, and the giants who came before them. As that wooden circle is the heart of the stage, the Opry's heart is it's music and its members- a broad scope of styles by a wide range of artists. The Grand Ole Opry has been the beginning point of many different types of country singers and musicians, and will be in every single artist who has stepped on that stage, and stood in the solid-oak centre. Political Social Social: I think that country music has a good effect on society. It is about everyday people doing everyday things, for example, the people you have lost, your dreams, your loves, and your friends. Some sounds depressing, and some does sound uplifting. All in all, it is music, and all music affects society and the way people think and act. But, country music gives everyday people something to relate to beside hip hop, rap, heavy metal, and pop. & Political: Economical Typical Earnings & Salary Range: Country Music is a big industry and any singer, or musician able to get into it is able to make lots of money doing their job. For this reason, the average yearly compensation for a country singer was $35,000 at the time of its publication. But, now a singer who is just starting can make around $15,000 a year. When first starting out, some country singers, like other singers and musicians, do some gigs for free in order to gain exposure, build a fan base, and boost their resume. However, if a country artist becomes a star, they potentially can earn millions of dollars. These salaries are not typical, and few country singers achieve this level of opportunity, but their salaries do indicate the profit potential available in the country music sector. Number of Gigs: All country singers, even well known ones, depend on gigs for a large percentage of their compensation. Country singers can perform in bars, clubs,and other venues like fairs, or community festivals. The number of gigs a country singer can get varies considerably based on the singer's ability to network, where he/she lives, and whether he/she has an agent. Typically a live group will make around a pay of $5-to-$800 in one night. If a country singer earns $100 per show and does two shows per week, this is only about $10,400 a year. This means that, to make a decent living as a typical country singer, you have to do quite a few shows per year and get at least a few hundred dollars per gig. Bottom Line: Like other musicians and singers, country singers often need other work to supplement their income, particulary when first starting out. Even if fortunate, most musicians and singers don't make more than around $60 per hour, according to 2010 information from the Bureau of Labor statistics. However, you can get extra money through teaching country music to others, and working in venues related to country music like the Grand Ole Opry. If you can get a good break, you may earn enough to live comfortably through your art. Canada & Country Music Outside of the United States, Canada has the largest country music fan and artist base. Mainstream country music is culturally ingrained in the prairie provinces and in Atlantic Canada: areas with large numbers of rural residents. Celtic traditional music developed in Atlantic Canada in the form of Scottish, Acadian, and Irish folk music popular amongst Irish, Scottish, and French immigrants to Canada's Atlantic provinces ( NewFoundLand, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island). 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. However, in NewFoundLand the traditional music remains very unique and Irish in nature, whereas traditional musicians in other parts of the region may play both genres interchangeably. There is also a thriving country community in the province of Quebec. Top 10 Most Popular Country Artists 10. Roger Miller 9. Brad Paisley
8. Shania Twain
7. Gartin Brooks
6. Hank Williams
5. John Denver
4. Willie Nelson
3. Martin McBride
2. Tim McGraw
1. Carrie Underwood -Carrie Underwood is by far the most popular country singer. Even though she is new in the music industry, she is well-accepted by the music lovers and fans. Her voice is deadly beautiful and powerful. Interesting Facts 1. Country music was originally called “hillbilly music”. 2. Dolly Parton started the Pop Country sub-genre 3. Country and western music is directly descended from the folk songs, ballads, and popular songs of the English, Scottish, and Irish settlers of the U.S. southeastern seaboard. 4. Many of the musicians have been influenced by African-American blues and gospel music, but the performers and audience are almost all white. American country music contains numerous images of "traditional" life, family life, religious life, as well as patriotic themes. Songs such as Merle Haggard's "The Fightin' Side of Me", and "Okie from Muskogee" have been perceived as patriotic songs which contain an "us versus them" mentality directed at the counterculture "hippies" and the anti-war crowd, though these were actually misconceptions by listeners who failed to understand their satirical nature.[41] In more recent years, Haggard has become more openly critical of "the establishment", and even disagreed with the Iraq War. Other country musicians, such as Charlie Daniels, openly supported George W. Bush, the Iraq War, and conservative politics in general. When Natalie Maines, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, made negative comments about George W. Bush and publicly spoke out against the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, boycotts by country music radio stations and death threats hindered the band's continued success. In 2006, with Maines still acting as lead singer, the Dixie Chicks released a "comeback" album, Taking the Long Way. The album subsequently won five Grammys. - The Dixie Chicks
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