The Pulse of Country Music

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Pulse of Country Music is your one-stop shop for everything country music. From the latest news to the best in country music culture, we’ve got you covered.

The Birth of Country Music

In the early 1920s, a new form of music was born in the Appalachian Mountains of the United States. This music, which would come to be known as country, was a blend of several different genres, including folk, blues, and gospel. The first country artist to find commercial success was Jimmie Rodgers, who began recording in 1927. Rodgers’ style of singing, which was influenced by the blues, quickly caught on with the public and he soon became known as the “The Singing Brakeman.” Country music would continue to grow in popularity throughout the 1930s and 1940s, with artists like Hank Williams and Loretta Lynn finding success.

The Evolution of Country Music

Country music has seen a lot of changes over the years. It has evolved from a simple folk music to a more complex genre with a variety of sub-genres. The changes in country music can be attributed to the changing tastes of the listeners as well as the changes in the music industry. Let’s take a look at the evolution of country music.

Traditional Country

Traditional Country is a form of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from a blend of traditional folk music, blues, and gospel music. Distinctive elements of traditional country include its use of plain speech, melancholy themes, and references to the American frontier. The sound of traditional country is characterized by tight harmonies, simple melodies, and a sparse musical arrangement.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the popularity of traditional country music was spurred by the success of artists such as Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams. Williams’ hits “Jambalaya” (1952) and “I Saw the Light” (1953) are considered classics of the genre. In the 1960s and 1970s, country music became more commercially oriented, with artists such as Charlie Rich and Tammy Wynette achieving crossover success with pop audiences.

In the 1980s and 1990s, traditional country underwent a revival at the hands of artists such as George Strait and Dwight Yoakam. Strait’s album “Pure Country” (1992) is credited with revitalizing interest in the genre. In the 2000s and 2010s, a new generation of artists such as Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban continued to bring traditional country to new audiences while keeping its core values intact.

Outlaw Country

Country music has always been a reflection of the American experience, and the genre has gone through many changes over the years. One of the most significant movements in country music was the Outlaw Country movement of the 1970s.

Outlaw Country was a reaction to the polished, Nashville sound that had become popular in country music. Artists like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson were tired of the restrictions that came with making music in Nashville, so they decided to create their own sound.

Outlaw Country is characterized by its raw and honest lyrics, twangy guitars, and overall rough around the edges sound. This new sound was a breath of fresh air for country music fans, and it quickly caught on.

Today, Outlaw Country is considered to be one of the most important movements in country music history. The genre has influenced countless artists, and its impact can still be heard in country music today.

Country Pop

Country pop is a subgenre of country music and a top 40 radio format that originated in the 1950s as a softer alternative to the more Nashville-centric sound of country music. It has since evolved into a unique style that incorporates elements of both genres, typically featuring instrumentation that is reminiscent of pop music, while still maintaining the twangy, folksy sound of country.

Some of the earliest examples of country pop were songs like “Heartaches by the Number” by Guy Mitchell and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams. In the 1960s, artists like Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves began to find success with a more polished sound that blended country with pop sensibilities. The genre continued to evolve in the 1970s and 1980s with artists like Dolly Parton, who helped popularize the genre with her crossover hits “Here You Come Again” and “9 to 5.”

The 1990s saw a resurgence in traditional country music, led by artists like Garth Brooks and Shania Twain. However, country pop remained popular throughout the decade, thanks to artists like Faith Hill and LeAnn Rimes. The genre has continued to evolve in recent years, with some artists incorporating elements of hip-hop, rock, and even EDM into their music. Today,country pop is one of the most popular genres of music, thanks in part to crossover hits like Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

Contemporary Country

Contemporary country music (sometimes referred to as just country) is a blend of traditional country music and modern pop, rock, and hip-hop. This type of country music is often defined by a strong support of artists who break away from stereotypical images and sounds associated with the genre.

In general, contemporary country music has a more radio-friendly sound than its traditional counterpart, although there are still many die-hard traditionalists who prefer the older sounds. Contemporary country also has its own subgenres, including bro-country (a subgenre that emphasizes party themes and activities) and alternative country (a subgenre that incorporates elements of other genres, such as rock and indie).

Some well-known contemporary country artists include Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, and Taylor Swift.

The Future of Country Music

There’s no doubt that country music is one of America’s most popular genres. But what does the future hold for this beloved musical style? Will it continue to be popular? Will it evolve?

Traditional Country

Traditional Country is a music genre that describes a sub-genre of country music originating from the Southern United States. It is aold-time string band music with roots in the folk tradition. It has been variously referred to as old-timey, mountain music, Appalachian music, or simply country music. In 2012, the Library of Congress recognized it as a distinct genre after conducting a comprehensive study.

The sound of traditional country is generated by acoustic string instruments such as fiddles, banjos, acoustic guitars, and Dobros. The style is often characterized by close harmony singing and lyrical themes that typically relate to life in the rural South.

The popularity of traditional country music has declined in recent years, but there is still a large audience for the genre. Older fans of traditional country are being replaced by younger listeners who are attracted to the classic sound and nostalgic themes.

Outlaw Country

In the 1970s, a new subgenre known as Outlaw Country emerged. This was a direct response to the polished sound of the Nashville establishment, and artistes like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard personified the anti-establishment attitude. Outlaw Country is a raw, edgy and often deconstructed sound that has come to be defined by its ability to transcend genre barriers.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence in popularity for Outlaw Country, with contemporary artistes like Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton and Margo Price carrying the torch for this unique and boundary-pushing genre. With its gritty and authentic sound, Outlaw Country is sure to continue to influence music for years to come.

Country Pop

Country pop is a subgenre of country music that takes elements of both genres and combines them into a more pop-friendly sound. Country pop is often viewed as being more accessible to a wider audience than traditional country music, and as such, it has become one of the most popular genres in recent years.

Some of the biggest names in country music have made the transition to country pop, including Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Florida Georgia Line. These artists have helped to bring country music to a new audience, and their success has paved the way for other artists to follow suit.

While country pop may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no denying that it’s here to stay. As the genre continues to evolve, we can only imagine what the future holds for country music as a whole.

Contemporary Country

Contemporary country music is a broad genre that encompasses many different subgenres and styles. As the name implies, contemporary country music is music that is current or of the moment. This can include anything from traditional sounding country music to more modern, pop-influenced styles.

One of the most popular subgenres of contemporary country music is bro-country. Bro-country is a term used to describe a subgenre of country music that often celebrates drinking, partying, and hooking up. The songs are often party anthems or love songs, and they are generally very high energy. Artists like Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, and Blake Shelton are all considered to be part of the bro-country movement.

Another popular subgenre of contemporary country music is roots country. Roots country is a term used to describe a style of country music that harkens back to the sound and feel of traditional country music. This can include anything from classic honky tonk to more modern sounding alternative country. Artists like Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, and Willie Nelson are all considered to be part of the roots country movement.

Of course, these are just two of the many different subgenres of contemporary countrymusic; there are many others out there as well. Ultimately, what all contemporary country music has in common is that it is current; it sounds like it was made in the here and now.

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