Country music is a rather popular music genre. It has its audience in Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America, Ireland, the United Kingdom and other countries. Even though its popularity cannot be compared with the popularity of rock, rap or pop music, it still has quite a big number of admirers. So, what is the origin of this type of music? What are its main features?
The history of country music begins with the first settlements of British people in America, specifically in the Appalachian Mountains and the West. The life of these settlers was tough and the music they brought out, which was mainly folk music, Celtic music, gospel music and so-called “old-time music”, made it easier. Initially, country music was in a form of ballads and songs about British Isles. These songs were often grim, describing outrageous violence. Adaptation to a new place made them change with time largely. It was not until 1920s that the genre became popular. In 1940s, the term “country music” was brought into common use.
The most common instruments that were used in the genre were fiddle, banjo and guitar. The fiddle was very common due to its comfortable size and inexpensiveness. At the beginning, it was the only instrument to play the leading part and only later, other instruments began to accompany it. The banjo was introduced by the slaves from West Africa and achieved its popularity in the middle of 1800s. The guitar joined the band in the early 1900s, when it became widespread. The modern country music tends to use many other musical instruments, such as the dulcimer, the dobro, the electric guitar, the mandolin, the steel guitar, the piano, the harmonica, drums and even electronic keyboard.
The first person whose country song became popular all over the nation was Vernon Dalhart with his single “The Wreck of the Old ‘97” of 1924. From this time on, new country stars started to appear regularly. Each following decade had significant figures who contributed greatly to the development of country music: Jimmie Rodgers and Carter Family in 1920s; Roy Acuff, Uncle Dave Macon and Gene Autry in 1930s-1940s; Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves and Buck Owens in 1950s-1960s; Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Bobbie Gentry in 1970s-1980s; Garth Brooks and Billy Ray Cyrus in 1990s; Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler and Bucky Covington in the new millennium and many other country artists and bands. It should be mentioned that there are also country stars in Canada, Australia and other countries.
In conclusion, country music style enjoys its popularity. It has a rather long history starting from the British settlement to America. At the beginning, there were only a few instruments used, while modern country music uses the variety of them creating new subgenres. This music style has a great number of singers who enormously contributed to its development and thus became not just nationwide but worldwide popular.