The Best of Irish Country Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for the best of Irish country music? Look no further than our blog! We’ll be sharing our favorite tunes, artists, and more – all from the Emerald Isle.

The Early Days

Irish country music has its roots in the folk music of the Irish diaspora. In the early days, it was often called “American country” or “Celtic Country” to distinguish it from the music of the British Isles. In the mid-20th century, it became more commonly known as “Irish country music.

The origins of Irish country music

The origins of Irish country music can be traced back to the 17th century. It was during this time that the English began to settle in Ireland and bring their own musical traditions with them. These new musical styles began to fuse with the existing Irish music, giving birth to a new genre known as Irish country music.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Irish country music became increasingly popular, particularly in rural areas. This was due in part to the rise of the penny whistle as a popular instrument among the working class. Penny whistles were inexpensive and easy to learn, making them a popular choice for those who wanted to take up playing music.

As Irish country music continued to grow in popularity, it began to be recorded and performed by professional musicians. One of the earliest recordings of Irish country music was made by musician George Petrie in 1855. Since then, many different artists have recorded and performed Irish country music, helping to spread its popularity even further.

Today, Irish country music is enjoyed by people all over the world. It has even been influence by other genres of music, such as rock and roll.

The first Irish country music stars

The first Irish country music stars emerged in the 1920s, when a new generation of musicians began to bring the old style of music into the modern era. The most famous of these early stars was Luke Kelly, who is credited with popularizing Irish country music in the United States. Other early pioneers include Michael Coleman, Paddy Killoran, and Andy Irvine.

The Golden Age

The golden age of Irish country music was a time when the genre was enjoying its largest level of popularity. Fans flock to see their favorite artists perform live and the industry was booming. This was a time when the biggest stars of the genre were at their peak, and their music reflected the zeitgeist of the country.

The rise of the genre in the 1950s and 1960s

In the 1950s and 1960s, Irish country music became popular in America, with stars like Luke Kelly and Tommy Makem becoming household names. The genre enjoyed a brief resurgence in popularity in the late 1970s with the release of Van Morrison’s “Moondance” album, but it was not until the mid-1990s that Irish country music truly began to gain a foothold in America. In 1996, Garth Brooks released an album of traditional Irish country songs entitled “In Pieces,” which included such classics as “I’ve Been Lookin’ for Blue Eyes” and “Wild Mountain Thyme.” This album helped to introduce a new generation of American fans to the genre, and since then, Irish country music has enjoyed something of a renaissance in the United States.

The biggest Irish country music stars of the era

The golden age of Irish country music was a time when the biggest stars in the genre were all Irish. This era saw the rise of artists like Daniel O’Donnell, Big Tom, Philomena Begley, and Dermot Hegarty. These artists enjoyed immense popularity in Ireland and abroad, and their music still resonates with audiences today.

If you’re a fan of Irish country music, then this is the era for you. The biggest stars of the golden age are all worth checking out, so take a look at our list of the best Irish country music artists of the era.

The Modern Era

In the last few decades, Irish country music has evolved and changed a lot. There are now many different sub-genres, including pop-country, rock-country, and even rap-country. The most popular Irish country artists today are The Young Dubliners, The Saw Doctors, and The Corrs.

The evolution of Irish country music in the 21st century

The early 21st century has seen a major shift in the sound of Irish country music. While the traditional ballad style remains popular, there has been a move towards a more uptempo, pop-influenced sound. This new style of Irish country music is often referred to as “new country” or “country pop”.

Some of the most popular new country artists include Daniel O’Donnell, Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan, and Cliona Hagan. These artists have brought a fresh sound to the genre, and their songs are often filled with catchy hooks and singalong choruses.

While traditionalists may not be overly fond of this new direction, there is no denying that it has introduced Irish country music to a whole new audience. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what all good music should do?

The new generation of Irish country music stars

The modern era of Irish country music began in the early 1990s with a new generation of artists influenced by the likes of Garth Brooks, George Strait and other American country music stars.

One of the first to break through was Dolores Keane, who had a major hit with her version of “The Field Behind the Plough” in 1991. She was followed by a wave of other artists including Mary Black, Maura O’Connell, Sharon Shannon, Nathan Carter and Lisa McHugh.

These artists brought a new sound to Irish country music, blending traditional influences with contemporary country and pop. They also helped to break down barriers between Irish and American country music, paving the way for further crossover success in the 21st century.

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