Tracing country music’s success which still thrives today
Country music is one of the genres that you can either play all day long on your radio or something that you switch the channel from immediately.
According to Britannica, “Country music became popular in the 1920s with artists such as the Carter Family and Jimmie Rogers being the pioneers.”
Country music generally is about struggles in life, being raised in rural areas, making it to the top and staying humble no matter what.
Although country music was around for a long time, it reached commercial success in the 1960s, with hits by singers Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Charley Pride.
Instruments that were once widely used in an older form of country music were fiddles and steel guitars. However, in recent years, electric guitars and drums have grown in popularity.
Country music in the 21st century has adapted into many genres such as country pop, country rock, bro-country, Christian country and country hip-hop.
For example, in the 1990s, the genre known as country rock was adapted with hits by Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson.
One of Garth Brooks’ songs, “Ain’t Going Down Till the Sun Comes Up,” is a mixture of a country sound and drums.
Most recently, Keith Urban has continued the trend of country rock, who has been inspired by pioneers such as John Mellencamp.
Another artist inspired by Mellencamp is Jake Owen who recently released the song, “I was Jack (You Were Diane),” which sampled Mellencamp’s original tune, “Jack and Diane.”
An example of country pop would be Taylor Swift’s earlier songs with upbeat tempo with a twang sound such as “Love Story.”
In 2016, Demi Lovato, who is known for her various pop hits collaborated with Brad Paisley for the song, “Without a Fight.”
Songs that display the genre of bro-country would be “Small Town Throwdown” (by Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett and Justin Moore) and “Somewhere on a Beach” (by Dierks Bentley).
This genre is about men getting together and having a good time.
On the other hand, Christian country is a style of music that caters to Christian values. Examples would be Josh Turner’s “Me and God,” Reba McEntire’s “Back to God” and Brandon Heath’s “ Jesus in Disguise.”
In recent years, country music has mixed with hip-hop and has proven to be successful on the charts.
An example of country hip-hop would be Florida Georgia Line.
According to Billboard.com, “The duo was influenced by rap music, such as the artist Lil’ Wayne.” After all, in their “This is How We Roll” song, its lyrics said, “The mixtape’s got a little Hank, little Drake.”
There have been collaborations such as Tim McGraw and Nelly’s “Over and Over,” and Jason Aldean and Ludacris’ “Dirt Road Anthem.”
Most recently, Carrie Underwood worked with Ludacris to create this year’s Super Bowl anthem, “The Champion.”
Some controversies that surround these genres include how they are perceived as moving away from the traditional country sound.
According to an Entertainment Weekly article from October 2013, Jason Aldean and Zac Brown got into an argument over Brown’s criticism of fellow singer Luke Bryan’s song, “That’s My Kind of Night.”
Also that year, Shelton criticized people who liked the old style of country music; this remark led Willie Nelson to change the name of his tour.
The change in developing more genres within country music can be perceived as beneficial because it encourages people to buy more records.
For example, without Mellencamp inspiring various country artists today, he wouldn’t have various songs dedicated to him.
A future style within country music would mostly likely be one that is mixed with EDM (electronic dance music).
Country music remains important because with each year, it keeps changing as new artists emerge and discovering more music styles requires active listeners.