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Country Music

Country music has been around for nearly a century with its popularity increasing each year. The genre originated in the south of the United States in the early 1920s and has gone through quite some transformations. Looking at the past one hundred years, country music can be broken down into six different generations, each defined by various sound elements and cultural factors. Regardless of the changes country music has gone through over time, it is a genre that can put a smile on anyone’s face. So make sure to get your country music tickets from TicketNetwork today!


In the early 1920s, Fiddlin’ John Carson recorded the song “Little Log Cabin in the Lane”, which is now known to be the first ever commercially recorded country song. The first hit country song was “Wreck of the Old 97”, sung by Vernon Dalhart. Bristol, Tennessee is considered the birthplace of country music due to the Bristol recording sessions of 1927. Artists who participated in this historical event include Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. Both Rodgers and the Carter Family are thought to be early pioneers of country music.


The second generation of country music took place during the 1930s and 1940s and therefore was influenced by the Great Depression and WWII. Due to the Great Depression, there was a steep decline in record sales, but the radio provided a source of entertainment to anyone who could afford one. Radio stations would host “barn dance” shows that featured popular country music. The most famous of these type of radio shows was the Grand Ole Opry hosted by WSM in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the world’s longest running radio program and provided listeners across the country with entertaining music. Subgenres of country music that were prevalent during the second generation were Western swing, hillbilly boogie, bluegrass, folk, and honky tonk.


A new subgenre, called rockabilly, started to emerge in the third generation of country music. Rockabilly can be considered the earliest version of rock and roll and became the favored subgenre because of new artists like Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. In 1956, Elvis had the number 2 song on the Billboard charts with “Heartbreak Hotel” and Cash had the number 3 song with “I Walk the Line”. Later in the 1950s, country music saw a trend in the Nashville sound. Nashville sound was appropriately centered in Nashville, Tennessee and incorporated a pop style to the genre. This subgenre of country came to a sudden halt when the British Invasion took over in the mid-1960s and when country stars Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline died in two separate plane crashes.


The fourth generation of country music added more elements of pop and rock in the 1970s and 1980s. An artist by the name of John Denver had many songs in the early 1970s that fused country and pop together to create some widely acclaimed tracks. Due to his musical triumphs and unprecedented sound, in 1975 he was named Country Music Entertainer of the Year. Dolly Parton was another country artist that took Denver’s approach. She had been mainly a country star in the 1960s and slowly began to cross over to pop in the ‘70s. Her hit song “Here You Come Again” was number one on the country singles chart and number three on the pop singles chart in 1977. Continuing into the 1980s, more artists found a niche with the country/pop crossover sound. Some of these artists included Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, and Juice Newton. More subgenres of country that were well liked in the fourth generation were country rock, neocountry, and truck driving country.


The 1990s was an incredible decade for country music. The expansion of the FM radio in the ‘80s allowed for country music to be consumed by a much wider audience. There were many country stars who capitalized on this larger audience and experienced unprecedented success. One of these such artists was Garth Brooks. All of Brooks’ recordings combined are 128 times platinum certified by the RIAA and he is one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. He is also the only artist to have 7 albums that have achieved diamond status in the US. His female counterpart could be considered Shania Twain, who was the best-selling female country artist of 1990. Her album Come On Over (1997) was one of the world’s best-selling albums in 1998, 1999, and 2000. She became an international sensation, which was unlike other country stars at that time who found success mostly in the United States. Multiple other female country artists went platinum in the ‘90s including Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, and Lorrie Morgan.


This sixth (and current) generation of country music saw a continuance of the country and pop crossover. Carrie Underwood won American Idol in 2005 and since then has become one of the biggest country stars of this millennium. She has won seven Grammy Awards and has sold over 65 million records worldwide. Taylor Swift also won the hearts of music fans across the world, debuting her first single in 2006. To date she has won ten Grammy Awards. Lady Antebellum is another country group that has made a significant impact in the music world. In 2010 alone, the group won five Grammy Awards. Two new subgenres of country music emerged in the 2010’s, called “bro-country” and “country rap”. Example of bro-country artists include the likes of Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, and Florida Georgia Line. If you want tickets to one of America’s most beloved genres of music, TicketNetwork is the right place for you! 


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