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Country Music

hillbilly music, Western swing, political spectrum, everyday problems, Western Music

Deeper web pages:

>  Characteristic Musical Elements

>  Folk Music Origins

>  Bluegrass

>  Honky-Tonk Music

>  Western and Western Swing

>  Rockability

>  The Nashville Sound and Country Pop

>  Country-Rock and Outlaw Country

>  New Country

>  Women in Country Music

>  Current Trends

Country Music or Country-and-Western Music, major genre of American popular music, primarily produced by white Southerners beginning in the early 1920s. Born out of the folk music of Southern Appalachia, country music encompasses the styles known as Western swing, honky-tonk, bluegrass, rockabilly, and new country. Over the years country music has been influenced by folk, gospel, rhythm-and-blues (R&B), and rock music and in turn has had an impact on these popular genres. Although originally known by the derisive label “hillbilly music,” country has since moved into the popular music mainstream and gained wide international acceptance.

Social Significance

Country music tends to mirror the concerns, achievements, and lifestyle of the times, and remains an important form of American cultural expression. Western-style clothing and numerous catch phrases from country songs have found their way into American popular culture. Although country music was born in the politically conservative South, its audience and many of its performers come from all parts of the political spectrum. At times, country songs have stirred controversy by raising troubling issues, such as the treatment of women. Perhaps the most essential quality of country music and the source of its lasting appeal is its simplicity and direct commentary on the everyday problems of its audience.


Lomax, John, III

Music consultant and freelance writer. Author of "Nashville: Music City USA".

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