COUNTRY‘s origins are principally from our British heritage; however, other European and African influences are present. COUNTRY began in the Deep South with fiddlers, banjoists, string bands, balladeers and GOSPEL singers joining together in music and song at house parties, fish fries, corn shuckings, barn raisings, fiddle contests and vaudeville/medicine shows.

Like BLUES, COUNTRY has been predominantly a working class music reflecting the real jobs of many performe yrs: railroad men, coalminers, textile workers, carpenters, wagoners, cowboys and even country lawy ers, doctors and preachers.

Before WWI, string bands with names like:

The Skillet Lickers

The Fruit Jar Drinkers

East Texas Serenaders

were very popular playing ragtime, hoedown tunes, British dance tunes and even marching band numbers.

By the 1920s, COUNTRY caught the attention of radio and recording executives, booking agents and advertisers at stations like WSB, WSM, WBT and WBAP. Soon stars like:

Vernon Dalhardt

Uncle Dave Macon

Carter Family

Jimmie Rodgers

were filling the airways and stages across the country. Charlotte, North Carolina became the home of a RCA studio from 1927-1945 with over 1500 recordings taking place.

During the Depression two stations became the dominant ones for COUNTRY – WLS’s National Barn Dance and WSM’s Grand Ole Opry where COUNTRY legends like:

Roy Acuff

Eddy Arnold

Kitty Wells

Hank Williams

George Jones

Merle Haggard

Bill Monroe

Conway Twitty

Grandpa Jones

Loretta Lynn

Johnny Cash

Minnie Pearl

Dolly Parton, etc. got their big break.

The Southwest had its own form of COUNTRY including the first cowboy to capture the hearts of America Gene Autry,who was a radio hillbilly singer from Texas.

Next came “western swing” performed by:

Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies

The Light Crust Doughboys

Bob Willis & His Texas Playboys.

The 1970s saw a revival in COUNTRY with:

Emmylou Harris, who was discovered by the Father of COUNTRY ROCKGram Parsons

Willie Nelson

Kenny Rogers

Glen Campbell

Barbara Mandrell

Charlie Pride

Waylon Jennings

became COUNTRY legends.

The decades of the 80s launched COUNTRY greats like:

Ricky Scaggs

Alabama

Reba McEntire

Dwight Yoakam

Randy Travis

Vince Gill

George Straight

The 90s continued the COUNTRY hit parade with:

Garth Brooks

Brooks & Dunn

Faith Hill

Wynona Judd

Martina McBride

Tim McGraw

Pam Tillis

Trisha Yearwood

Alan Jackson

Today the COUNTRY tradition of the South continues with:

Jason Aldean

Lady Antebellum

The Band Perry

Blake Shelton

Carrie Underwood

Sugarland,

Taylor Swift


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