Country music, also known as country and western (or simply country), and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music (especially Appalachian folk and Western music) and blues.
Country music often consists of ballads and dance tunes with generally simple forms, folk lyrics, and harmonies accompanied by mostly string instruments such as banjos, electric and acoustic guitars, steel guitars (such as pedal steels and dobros), and fiddles as well as harmonicas. Blues modes have been used extensively throughout its recorded history.
According to Lindsey Starnes, the term country music gained popularity in the 1940s in preference to the earlier term hillbilly music; it came to encompass Western music, which evolved parallel to hillbilly music from similar roots, in the mid-20th century. In 2009 in the United States, country music was the most listened to rush hour radio genre during the evening commute, and second most popular in the morning commute.
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and is a subgenre of country music. It has roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music. Bluegrass was inspired by the music of immigrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland (particularly the Scotch-Irish immigrants in Appalachia), and African-Americans, particularly through genres such as jazz and blues. In bluegrass, as in some forms of jazz, one or more instruments each takes its turn playing the melody and improvising around it, while the others perform accompaniment; this is especially typified in tunes called breakdowns. This is in contrast to old-time music, in which all instruments play the melody together or one instrument carries the lead throughout while the others provide accompaniment. Traditional bluegrass is typically based around a small set of acoustic stringed instruments including mandolin, acoustic guitar, banjo, fiddle, resonator guitar and upright bass, with or without vocals. Bluegrass music has attracted a diverse and extremely loyal following world-wide. Bluegrass as a style developed during the mid-1940s. Because of war rationing, recording was limited during that time, and it would be most accurate to say that bluegrass was played some time after World War II, but no earlier.
The Carter Family was a country music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass, country, southern gospel, pop and rock musicians as well as on the U.S. folk music revival of the 1960s. They were the first vocal group to become country music stars. Their recordings of such songs as "Wabash Cannonball," "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," "Wildwood Flower" and "Keep On the Sunny Side" made them country standards.
The original group consisted of Alvin Pleasant "A.P." Delaney Carter (1891-1960), his wife Sara Dougherty Carter (1898-1979), and his sister-in-law Maybelle Addington Carter (1909-1978). Maybelle was married to A.P.'s brother Ezra (Eck) Carter and was also Sara's first cousin. All three were born and raised in southwestern Virginia, where they were immersed in the tight harmonies of mountain gospel music and shape note singing. Maybelle's distinctive guitar playing style became a hallmark of the group. The Carter Family made their first recordings on August 2, 1927. A.P. had convinced Sara and Maybelle the day before to make the journey from Maces Spring, Virginia, to Bristol, Tennessee, to audition for record producer Ralph Peer, who was seeking new talents for the relatively embryonic recording industry. They received $50 for each song they recorded.
Garth Brooks is the self-titled debut album of American country music artist Garth Brooks, released on April 12, 1989. It was both a critical and chart success, peaking at #13 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the Top Country Albums. It was certified DIamond status by the RIAA for the sale of 10 million copies in the US. This album contains Brooks earliest hits, for instance his first ever single, "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)", which peaked at #3 on the Country Billboard Charts in 1989. It put an independent cowboy singer, Chris LeDoux, into the mainstream due to the lyric "a worn out tape of Chris LeDoux". Two other strong starts include his first #1, "If Tomorrow Never Comes" and the Academy of Country Music's 1990 Song of the Year and Video of the Year, "The Dance" (another #1).
Crazy is a ballad composed by Willie Nelson. It has been recorded by several artists, most notably by Patsy Cline, whose version was a #2 country hit in 1962. Nelson wrote the song in early 1961; at the time he was a journeyman singer-songwriter who had written several hits for other artists but had not yet had a significant recording of his own. Cline was already a country music superstar who was working to extend a string of hits. Nelson originally wrote the song for country singer Billy Walker, but Walker turned it down and Cline picked it as a follow up to her previous big hit "I Fall to Pieces". The song was released in late 1961 and immediately became another huge hit for Cline, eventually becoming one of her signature tunes, and its success helped launch Nelson as a performer as well as a songwriter. This song as sung by Patsy Cline is #85 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
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