Country music is a popular genre that originated in the South of the United States during the 1920s. This form of music took its roots from the ballads and folk songs of the English settlers. In the early days of its inception, country music was known as “hillbilly music”. However, as time went on, this form of music became widespread and the name changed to country and Western music. The recording industry further shortened the name of this genre to country music.
Instruments Featured In Country Music
Instruments featured in country music include the fiddle and guitar as lead instruments along with the banjo, harmonica, dobro, and mandolin. Vocals are usually in the form of a solo singer or a high close harmony. During the Great Depression and World War II, people from the South migrated to larger cities and this is how country music was exposed to other musical genres. Soon, more than twenty sub-genres of country music evolved including Tex-Mex, Bluegrass, Cajun, Tulsa Sound etc.
Country Music Artists
Country music would never have come so far without the people behind it. Ever since this genre came into being decades ago, there have been numerous artists over the years. Talking about all of them is impossible so we will only pick a handful of country musicians for this article.
First Generation Country Artists
In 1923, Fiddlin’ John Carson recorded the first commercial hit of this genre. Soon, small radios stations emerged in the Southern cities and their broadcasts helped to push country music in front of a larger audience. Such radio shows gained immense popularity and this paved the way for more country singers to land recording deals. The first generation of recording artists apart from Fiddlin’ John Carson included Samantha Bumgarner, Jimmie Rodgers, and Cliff Carlisle. These people are considered the pioneers of country music records since they were the first batch to land record deals with major recording companies of that time.
Second Generation Country Artists
In 1930-1940, the second generation of country musicians cropped up. A lot of changes took place during this period. country music, such as cowboy songs, that were recorded during the 1920‘s began to be used in films. Apart from this, many country music bands began to use drums as part of their instrument line-up. Before this period, drums were not considered a good fit for this genre. However, drummers remained backstage during a live performance. A decade later, the third generation emerged and it is considered the golden age of country music. This period saw the birth of “Rockabilly”, a combination of rock and roll, country music and blues. The legendary Elvis Presley gained widespread popularity during this period and he became an iconic figure for not only country music but American music as a whole. It comes as no surprise that during 1956, many Rockabilly songs topped the billboard charts.
Fourth Generation Country Artists
During the fourth generation, many other sub-genres of country music took roots. One of the most popular sub-genres of that time was country pop. Many pop artists of that time crossed over to country music and took over the music charts with numerous hit songs. Notable names of this period include Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Barbara Mandrell etc. Country rock became increasingly popular during the 1970’s. Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and Eagles are some of the names that come to mind whenever country rock is mentioned. Apart from this, a new subgenre by the name of Truck driving country also emerged. This music focused on the life and love of truck drivers.
Fifth Generation Country Artists
The 1990‘s saw the fifth generation of country music. During this time, country music gained worldwide appeal and became one of the most popular genres. Garth Brooks is credited with expanding country music on a global scale. Other popular artists and bands of that time include The Dixie chicks, Clint Black, Faith Hill, Shania Twain etc.
Sixth Generation Country Artists
From the year 2000 on-wards, the sixth generation of country music began. Currently, this genre is going strong with numerous artists topping various music charts and selling millions of albums worldwide. These artists have loyal fans globally and are enjoying fame through their music. Some popular artists of this period include Bon Jovi, Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. Many of these country musicians have received notable musical awards such as the Grammy, the Emmy, and Billboard music awards. For example, Taylor Swift has 10 Grammy awards to her credit and is considered one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Current Generation Country Artists
Another famous artist of this generation, Carrie Underwood, is the first and only country musician whose debut landed her on the number spot in Billboard’s top 100. She continues to enjoy success and is breaking records with her albums. Teen sensations such as Miley Cyrus, Hayden Panettiere, and Jennette McCurdy also released commercially successful country songs and gained huge fan followings due to this. Today, country music is so widespread that it is hard to imagine our world without it. The artists of this genre have not only become a household name but have garnered immense fame worldwide. No matter where you go, you are bound to find a fan of one artist or the other.
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