Country music has been around since the first recorded country song in 1922, “Sallie Gooden” by fiddlist A.C. (Eck) Robertson. In 1924, Columbia Records started making records with “hillbilly” music. The first nationwide country hit was “Wreck of the Old ‘97” by Vernon Dalhart in 1924.
In 1927, Jimmie Rogers and the Carter Family, both of whom are considered to be important in the early days of country music, had a historical recording session in Bristol on August 1, 1927. Rodgers is responsible for bringing country, gospel, jazz, blues, cowboy and folk music together. He is the most influential musician in country music’s early years.
1920s JAZZ, BLUES, RADIO: a timeline of country music in the 1920s.
Jennifer Dispatch: an article about the history of the Grand Ol’ Opry.
Origins of Country Music | Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum | Nashville, Tennessee: a discussion of country music’s origins, from its roots, to its earliest recording, to western influence.
Peterson, 10 Things You Didn't Know about the Origins of Country Music: some interesting facts about the origins of country music.
Commercial Country: an outline of the origins of country music.
When the Great Depression began in the 1930s, it affected how many records could be sold. Radio and broadcast became the popular sources of entertainment. “Barn dance” shows, which featured country music, began in the south, reaching as far north as Chicago, and as far west as California. The Grand Ole Opry was the most influential of these shows.
In the late 1930s, cowboy songs began making their way into films. Also considered Western music at this point, cowboy songs made singing cowboys popular, including such stars as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.
1930s Country, Blues, Gospel, Bluegrass, Pop: a timeline of country music in the 1930s.
Country Music as an American Culture: a historical reference to the start of country music’s popularity.
Country in the Depression: an outline of country music through the Great Depression.
American Experience | The Carter Family: Will the Circle Be Unbroken | Timeline | PBS: A timeline of the Carter Family’s influence on country music, beginning in the 1930s.
Dismuke's 1920s & 1930s Recordings: a selection of recordings of country music from the 1920s and ‘30s.
In the 1940s, country music expanded into hillbilly boogie, renamed country boogie later. It was introduced in 1939 with the recording of Johnny Barfield’s “Boogie Woogie.” Country boogie began catching on in late 1945. A major influential piece of this time was “Freight Train Boogie” by the Delmore Brothers, which is considered to be part of the influence of rockability, a combination of country music and blues.
In 1948, Archie “Guitar Boogie” Smith hit the Top Ten US Country Chart with his recordings of “Guitar Boogie” and “Banjo Boogie.” By the end of the 1940s, bluegrass and honkey tonk music emerged out of the country music world, and the term “hillbilly” was replaced with “folk songs and blues,” and later finally became “country” or “country and western.”
1940s Western Swing, Bebop, Jazz Blues, Country: a timeline of country music in the 1940s.
The Delmore Brothers - Welcome: a website dedicated to the duet.
Honky Tonk country: a history of honkey tonk music.
Country Music Roots - Bluegrass: an overview of Bluegrass.
Top Country Songs: a brief look at the changes to country music in the 1940s.
Rockability caught on more in the 1950s and 60s when rock and roll music took off. Artists like Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley brought this new form of music to life. During these decades, country music continued to evolve into more distinct music styles, such as the Nashville Sound, Countrypolitan, Western swing and Country rock. These subgenres of country music introduced famous artists like Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Merle Haggard and Neil Young.
1950s Rock and Roll, Jazz, Blues, Country: a timeline of country music in the 1950s.
1960s Soul Music, Rock n Roll, Pop, Country: a timeline of country music in the 1960s.
Free Radio Stations, Free Internet Radio, Online Music, Live Web Radio - 50s Music: the influence of country western music in the 1950s.
Country Music and Rock Music: Both Speak to the Heart -- Sidebars, The Writers' Palette - Ferris State University: the influence of country music on rock and roll.
The 1960s: From Folk to Cosmic American Music: a look at some of the influential people of Country rock.
Country Music Updated: the updated sound of country music in the 1960s.
The traditional sound of country made its way back in the 1970s and ‘80s. In the ‘70s, artists like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and David Allan Coe began a new subgenre of country music known as outlaw country. It made itself know to the world with the release of the album “Wanted! The Outlaws” in 1976.
Other subgenres, such as country pop, neocountry and truck driving country emerged in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Country pop, known today as adult contemporary, influenced such artists as John Denver, The Eagles, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle, Barbara Mandrell and Eddie Rabbitt, and helped them climb the pop charts. Neocountry is country music’s version of disco made popular by the film “Urban Cowboy,” and influenced artists such as the Charlie Daniels Band. Truck driving country is a blend of honky tonk, country-rock and Bakersfield Sound, with lyrics that focus on the life of a truck driver. Well-known artists of this subgenre include Dave Dudley, Red Sovine and Red Simpson.
1970s Punk Music, Soul Music, Funk, Southern Rock, Pop: a timeline of country music in the 1970s.
1980s Pop, Rock, Jazz, R & B, Country: a timeline of country music in the 1980s.
Outlaw Country Music: Album, Track and Artist Charts - Rhapsody Music: an overview of outlaw country and its artists.
Country Pop/Cosmopolitan Music: Album, Track and Artist Charts - Rhapsody Music: an overview of country pop music.
Roughstock's History of Country Music - Urban Cowboy: an overview of neocountry music.
Truckin' Songs - Country - Music - www.real.com: a brief overview of truck driving country, and its artists.
A new sound was introduced to country music by Clint Black in 1989. This brought a wide range of new country artists to the hit list in the 1990s, including Garth Brooks, who became one of country music’s most popular artists. The new sound brought more women country singers into the limelight, including Trisha Yearwood, Shania Twain and Reba McEntire.
Country music in the ‘90s was also influenced by line dancing, which became popular in the mid 1990s. The ‘90s also saw non-country singers and performers going outside their own genres to sing country songs. Known as alternative country, this began a new wave of country music.
1990s Rap, Rock, Country, Pop, Contemporary Folk, Jazz: a timeline of country music in the 1990s.
CMT.com: Garth Brooks: Biography: a biography of Garth Brooks.
CMT: News: Twelve Women Who Paved the Way for Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood: a list of female country stars of the 1990s.
Urbane Cowboys: alt.country in the 1990s: an article about alternative country music.
Alternative country found its way into the 21st Century with many pop and rock artists performing country music. Richard Marx recorded a crossover album in 2000, which featured five country songs as well as country singers and musicians. Bon Jovi, Don Henley and Poison also performed duets with popular country artists, and included country songs on their albums.
Women continued to climb the country music charts with new female artists like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. As country music continues through the 21st Century, it continues to grow in both style and popularity.
Move over, Detroit – rock's new city is Nashville | csmonitor.com: an article about rock artists performing country.
Biography | The Official Carrie Underwood Site: a biography of Carrie Underwood.
Taylor Swift: a biography of Taylor Swift.
Newsweek Slams Country Music’s Progress | CMT Blog: an article about the way country music has changed.
Talking shop with a country-music legend: a female country musician’s perspective on the changes in country music.
Acoustic Guitars: Guitars much like the ones used by country artist, Taylor Swift