Genre to Music
WEEK 2 : COUNTRY
A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds
as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from
other types of music.
There are a number of criteria often used to classify musical genres including:
The Art/Popular/Traditional distinction (I.e Classical/general public/Folk)
Time period (I.e. 60‟s rock)
Regional and national distinctions (I.e. Australian music can be „Australian Pub Rock‟)
Technique and instrumentation (I.e Rock Music= Guitars/ Dance Music= synthesizers
and/or drum machine)
Fusional origins (I.e Blues Rock or Swamp Hip Hop)
Sociological function (I.e Wedding music or Christmas music)
Rhythm of the train…chugg-a-lug sound
Hardships, harsh times, blues, heartbreaking, emotional
Sense of Home
Beer and whisky
Cowboys and Cowgirls
Texas, Tennessee, Memphis, Mid-West America.
By and for adults, not teenagers
Origins in white working class of 1940‟s-50‟s
Broken hearts, redemption, destroyed lives, melodrama
COUNTRY MUSIC IS……
Immigrants to North America brought the music and instruments of the Old World along with them.
Most important possession was an instrument and their folktales, folk songs and musical traditions.
Early Scottish settlers enjoyed the fiddle because it could be played to sound sad and mournful or
bright and bouncy
Other early instruments that contributed to the country sound were the fiddle, the Italian mandolin,
the Spanish guitar, and the West African banjo
This early country music is often referred to as “old-time” music.
The rush to the ever-expanding western frontier saw music become integral to American life in the
19th century. All aspects of life were celebrated in song.
The inventions of the radio, television, and other electronic media shape the progress of country
music in the 20th century.
Really began to gain wider exposure in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s with the Carter
Family. Beginning in 1927, and for the next 17 years, the Carters recorded some 300 old -time
ballads, traditional tunes, country songs and gospel hymns, all representative of America's south -
eastern folklore and heritage.
WEEK 2: COUNTRY MUSIC
Often, when many people think or hear country music, they think of it as a
creation of European-Americans. However, a great deal of style—and of
course, the banjo, a major instrument in most early American folk songs —
came from African Americans.
One of the reasons country music was created by African -Americans, as well
as European-Americans, is because blacks and whites in rural communities in
the south often worked and played music together on the railroads.
The first commercial recordings of what was considered country music were
"Arkansas Traveller" and "Turkey in the Straw" by fiddlers Henry Gilliland &
A.C. (Eck) Robertson on June 30, 1925 for Victor Records .
Columbia Records began issuing records with "hillbilly" music (series
15000D "Old Familiar Tunes") as early as 1924.
In April 1924, "Aunt" Samantha Bumgarner and Eva Davis became the first
female musicians to record and release country songs.
EARLY COUNTRY MUSIC
One effect of the Great Depression was to reduce the number of
records that could be sold.
Radio, and broadcasting, became a popular source of
entertainment, and "barn dance" shows featuring country music
were started all over the South, as far north as Chicago, and as
far west as California.
The most important was the The Grand Ole Opry radio show
which aired starting in 1925 by WSM-AM in Nashville to the
WSM's 50,000 watt signal (1934) could often be heard across the
country and helped to popularise country music.
COUNTRY MUSIC AND THE GREAT
DEPRESSION OF 1929
During the 1930s and 1940s, cowboy songs, or Western music,
which had been recorded since the 1920s, were popularized by
films made in Hollywood. Some of the popular singing cowboys
from the era were Gene Autry, the Sons of the Pioneers and Roy
Patsy Cline was best known for her rich tone, emotionally
expressive and bold contralto voice. She died in a place crash
She helped pave the way for headlining women in country music.
Prior to the early 1960's, so-called "girl singers" were seen by the
male-dominated realm of country music as mere "window
dressing", only necessary to attract male listeners to their shows.
SINGING COWBOYS AND DANCING
By the end of World War II, "mountaineer" string band music
known as bluegrass had emerged when Bill Monroe played at the
Grand Ole Opry.
In the post-war period, country music was called "folk" in the
trades, and "hillbilly" within the industry. In 1944, The Billboard
replaced the term "hillbilly" with "folk songs and blues," and
switched to "country" or "country and Western" in 1949.
Good examples include: Alison Krauss, Bob Monroe, Nitty Gritty
Dirt Grass Band, OCMS, The Stanley Brothers.
THE RYMAN THEATRE NASHVILLE
BIRTHPLACE OF BLUEGRASS
Another type of stripped down and raw music with a variety of
moods and a basic ensemble of guitar, bass, dobro or steel guitar
(and later) drums became popular, especially among poor white
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys personified this music which
has been described as:
"a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, a little bit of black and a
little bit of white...just loud enough to keep you from thinking too
much and to go right on ordering the whiskey.”
Rockabilly was most popular with country fans in the 1950s, and
1956 could be called the year of rockabilly in country music.
Rockabilly was a mixture of rock-and-roll and hillbilly music.
During this period Elvis Presley converted over to country music.
He played a huge role in the music industry during this time.
Good examples include: Elvis and Johnny Cash
Beginning in the mid 1950s, and reaching its peak during the early 1970s, the Nashville
sound turned country music into a multimillion -dollar industry centered in Nashville,
Under the direction of producers such as Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley, and later Billy
Sherrill, the sound brought country music to a diverse audience and helped revive
country as it emerged from a commercially fallow period .
This subgenre was notable for borrowing from 1950s pop styling's: a prominent and
"smooth" vocal, backed by a string section and vocal chorus.
Nashville's pop song structure became more pronounced and it morphed into what was
Countrypolitan was aimed straight at mainstream markets and it sold well throughout
the later 1960s into the late 1970s.
It started with singers like Glen Campbell, Bobbie Gentry, John Denver, Olivia Newton -
John, Anne Murray, Marie Osmond, B. J. Thomas, The Bellamy Brothers, and Linda
Ronstadt having hits on the country charts.
THE NASHVILLE SOUND AND
Country pop or soft pop, with roots in both the countrypolitan
sound and in soft rock, is a subgenre that first emerged in the
Although the term first referred to country music songs and
artists that crossed over to top 40 radio, country pop acts are now
more likely to cross over to adult contemporary music.
During the mid-1970s, Dolly Parton, a highly successful mainstream
country artist since the late '60s, mounted a high profile campaign to
crossover to pop music, culminating in her 1977 hit "Here You Come
In the aftermath of the British Invasion of 60‟s, many desired a
return to the "old values" of country and rock and roll. What
resulted was a crossbred genre known as country rock.
Early innovators in this new style of music in the 60s and 70s
included Bob Dylan who was the first to revert to country music
with his 1967 album John Wesley Harding followed by rock n' roll
icon band The Byrds, the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Commander
Cody, The Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, Poco,
Buffalo Springfield, and The Eagles among many. The Rolling
Stones also got into the act with songs like "Honky Tonk Women"
and "Dead Flowers”.
Derived from the traditional and honky tonk sounds of the late
1950s and 1960s and mixed with the anger of an alienated
subculture of the nation during the period, outlaw country
revolutionized the genre of country music.
The term outlaw country is traditionally associated with Hank
Williams, Jr, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe,
Whitey Morgan & The 78's, John Prine, Billy Joe Shaver, Gary
Stewart, Townes Van Zandt and with a few female vocalists such
as Jessi Colter and Sammi Smith.
"Swamp" is a fusion genre of country which originated in the
It is the result of the integration of rockabilly and country artists
with the soul explosion of the mid-60s, aided by a heavy infusion
of the gritty sub-genre known as "swamp blues," and also with a
heavily rhythmic backbone that, at its loosest, could almost be
described as funk. It's a style whose primary yardstick is
Best example is Creedence Clearwater Revival
Alternative country (sometimes alt-country, insurgent country, or
Americana is a loosely defined sub-genre of country music,
which includes acts that differ significantly in style from
mainstream or pop country music.
It has been used to describe country music bands and artists that
have incorporated influences ranging from roots rock, bluegrass,
rockabilly, honky-tonk, alternative rock, folk rock, and
Good examples in 2012 are Gillian Welch and Band of Horses
ALTERNATIVE OR ALT-COUNTRY
In the 1990s, country music became a worldwide phenomenon thanks to Billy
Ray Cyrus and Garth Brooks.
Female artist such as Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes and Shania
Twain all released platinum selling albums in the 90s.
The Dixie Chicks became one of the most popular country bands in the 90s and
early 00s. Their 1998 debut album Wide Open Spaces went on to become
certified 12x platinum while their 1999 album Fly went on to become 10x
In the early-mid 1990s, country western music was influenced by the
popularity of line dancing.
Rise of Sugarland, Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift
COUNTRY MUSIC IN THE 1990’S-
Influenced by American country music it has developed a distinct style, shaped by British
and Irish folk ballads and Australian bush balladeers like Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson .
Folk songs sung in Australia between the 1780s and 1920s based around such themes as the
struggle against government tyranny, or the lives of bushrangers, swagmen, drovers,
stockmen and shearers
Popular songs from this tradition include The Wild Colonial Boy, Click Go The Shears, The
Queensland Drover and The Dying Stockman. Later themes which endure to the present
include the experiences of war, of droughts and flooding rains, of Aboriginality and of the
railways and trucking routes which link Australia's vast distances .
Kasey Chambers, Sara Storer, The McClymots, Gina Jefferies,
The Waifs, JBT
Keith Urban, Troy Casser Daly, John Williamson, Archie Roach, Jimmy Little, Adam Harvey
Country music has also been a particularly popular form of musical expression among
Indigenous Australians. Troy Cassar-Daley is among Australia's successful contemporary
indigenous performers Aboriginal artists and Kev Carmody and Archie Roach employ a
combination of folk-rock and country music to sing about Aboriginal rights issues .
COUNTRY MUSIC IN AUSTRALIA
Country music often consists of ballads and dance tunes with
generally simple forms and harmonies accompanied by mostly
string instruments such as banjoes, electric and acoustic guitars,
fiddles such as violins, and harmonicas
INSTRUMENTS USED IN COUNTRY
J ohnny Cash
The Carter Family
J ohn Denver
Wayland J ennings
Creedance Clearwater Revival
George J ones
Band of Horses
Old Crow Medicine Show
Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings
Top 100 Country Tracks:
Top 500 Country Songs of All Time:
CMT Country Music Top 100:
Country‟s Top 100:
Country Music Channel: www.cmt.com/
Country Music Association of Australia: www.country.com.au/
Country Music Bulletin: www.countrymusicbulletin.com.au/
History of Australian Country Music www.historyofcountrymusic.com.au/
History of Country Music: www.roughstock.com/history/
Country Music History: www.countrymusicplanet.com/history/
Country Music Startpage: www.countrystartpage.com/ - United States
International Country Music Conference:
Tamworth Country Music Festival: www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au/
Brisbane Country Radio: http://www.989fm.com.au/
Australian Country Music: http://www.countrymusic.com.au/
Urban Country Music Festival: http://www.urbancountry.com.au/
Gympie Music Muster Festival: http://www.muster.com.au/
The Gin Club
The Good Ship
COUNTRY MUSIC IN BRISBANE
Bring two songs to class on the following genre
1. Present one YouTube clip to play in class and talk about for 30 seconds.
2. Post one to the Class Forum
3. Include in both of these, your brief comments on some of following
The style and look of the artist/genre
Musical instruments used
Other artists in this genre
What influences does this genre pull from?
BBC country music documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9n4YKNEZho
Carter Family: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbmQQ4RfzVE
Arkansas Traveller: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi0wstPuncc
Grand Ole Opry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKNqSfULbXI
Patsy Cline: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-wJNpWgss8
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvX8MijgeW8
Johnny Cash: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRlj5vjp3Ko
John Denver: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzldLJcorbo
Dolly Parton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1plvBR02wDs
Emmylou Harris: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG1qTFZSiAM
Willie Nelson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7f189Z0v0Y&ob=av2n
Gillian Welch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNUB56jwu-k
Band of Horses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH8QICzCO8g
Billy Ray Cyrus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byQIPdHMpjc
Slim Dusty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E0aZ387M_I
Andrew Morris: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWkg1wCv6Mg
The Gin Club: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUNaNGTVDRM
Texas Tea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xKtv6jXB6U&feature= related
LINKS TO SONGS USED TODAY