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Music Business

The Best Of Country Music

Photograph of the blog post author, Georgia Carter

Georgia Carter

4.1.2023

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Country music singers have been around for a long time and the genre of music is still thriving today. And for good reason. There is so much positivity and energy to country songs and you can’t fail to feel uplifted when you listen to it. Today we will cover the best of the best and what were the origins of the particular genre of music. Also, there are some excellent country music films that I would recommend, so I will add these towards the end. So let’s get started and I hope you enjoy this article. 

Where did Country Music Originate? 

Country music originated in the 1920s in the Southern and Southwestern United States. It is commonly known as ‘honky-tonk music’ and originally focused on the working classes in the U.S. It is a type of simple folk music that uses harmonies and string instruments like electric and acoustic guitars, steel guitars (such as pedal steels and dobros), banjos, fiddles, and harmonicas. Blues modes have been used heavily throughout the genre of music

Its origins are found in the following; American folk and Western (Appalachian, Cajun, Creole, Hawaiian, New Mexico, red dirt, Tejano) Blues, Church music, Southern gospel and old-time. 

It accumulated more attention in the 1940s in preference to hillbilly music and it encompassed western music, parallel to hillbilly music.  

There are 6 generations of country music which includes the country music singers of today, and what a legacy all of them have created and continue to create. Country music is not a thing of the past, it is a beating heart in America and will remain so for a very long time. Let’s hear some more about the artists who have made the genre what it is today. 

Johnny Cash

If you are looking for male country music singers who made a serious impression on the music scene, then Johnny Cash is a serious contender. He even recorded an album live at San Quentin State Prison on February 24, 1969. ‘Johnny Cash at San Quentin’ was his 31st album and garnered a lot of attention. 

Patsy Cline

She was one of the most influential country singers in the 1920s and she crossed over to pop music, the first of the country music singers to do so. She paved the way for country music, certainly for women and is considered a trailblazer in the music industry. 

Dolly Parton

In terms of country music female singers, Dolly Parton might be the most iconic and most well known. She has received 53 Grammy nominations and of those, 10 she won. She started singing at the tender age of 10, on television and radio shows in Knoxville. Only 3 years later, she made her Grand Ole Opry debut and her career which spans over 60 years, she is the country star we all love. Her single ‘9 to 5’ was then made into a film with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in 1980 and is now a musical. 

Darius Rucker

Now it has to be said that in terms of black country music singers, there are not very many, but Darius has made a name for himself in the music industry as a solo artist after being the frontman for ’90s rock band Hootie And The Blowfish. Music has always been a part of his life since being very young. His father was a part of a band called The Traveling Echoes so there was inspiration from an early age. 

Faith Hill

Faith Hill has won five Grammy Awards, 15 Academy of Country Music Awards and she certainly integrated country music into her pop music in the late ’90s and early 2000s. So hence why she is included in this list. She has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and with her album Breathe (1999), it became one of the best-selling country albums of all time, led by the huge crossover success of the songs “Breathe” and “The Way You Love Me”. It had massive sales worldwide and earned Hill three Grammy Awards.

Rhiannon Giddens

Finding fame in the early 2000s, she burst onto the country music scene and has been a prevalent part of it from then on. Her voice has versatility and emotion behind it, and she also plays the banjo and the fiddle – which is used more for folk, country, and bluegrass. 

Her voice has been used in tv shows such as Nashville and Parenthood and her songs have a theme of slavery behind them as well as African-American traditions in Appalachia and the South. 

Hank Williams

As he said himself, ‘people don’t write music, it’s given to them’ and he may have been right.  Country music is sincere and you can sing and Hank sang the lyrics with such depth, his fans loved every moment of it. There was a film made about the life of Hank Williams called ‘I Saw The Light’, with Tom Hiddelston, which shone a light on Hank’s career and private life. For any country music fans, especially those of Hank’s, I would suggest you give it a watch. 

Willie Nelson

His album ‘Shotgun Willie’, alongside the commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust made Nelson a household name in the country music genre. He is beloved amongst other country musicians and at the age of 89, has 10 Grammy wins under his belt and 53 total career nominations under his belt. That is one heck of an achievement in my books!

Tim McGraw

Tim is an American country singer, also a songwriter, record producer, and actor. He is married to Faith Hill and appeared in the country music film ‘Country Strong’ alongside Gwyneth Paltrow in 2010. Eleven of his albums have debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country album chart and he has had 21 hit No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot Country 100 chart.He has also won three Grammy awards. 

George Strait

George is known as one of the most influential country singers of all time and he found fame in the 1980s. He has been credited for igniting the neotraditional country movement. Neotraditional country is a country music style that emphasizes the instrumental background and a traditional country vocal style. Neo-traditional country artists often dress in the fashions of the country music scene of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. He has been given the nickname ‘the King Of Music’ for such a pioneering music legacy.  

Kitty Wells

In 1976, Kitty was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and is one of the most notable country music female singers. As old country music singer, she started out in 1936, performed at the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 with ‘Making Believe’ and was dubbed ‘The Queen Of Country Music’. 

Lady A 

This American country music band formed in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2006 and is composed of Hillary Scott, (lead and background vocals), Charles Kelley (lead and background vocals, guitar), and Dave Haywood (background vocals, guitar, piano, mandolin). Scott is the daughter of country music singer Linda Davis, and Kelley is the brother of pop singer Josh Kelley. 

The band abbreviated the name to “Lady A” in June 2020 during the George Floyd protests in an attempt to blunt the name’s associations with slavery and the Antebellum South.

Current Country Musicians To Look Out For

  • Maren Morris
  • Logan Mize
  • The Eastern Plain
  • Morgan Wade
  • Ashley Cooke
  • Nikki Lane
  • First Aid Kit 
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Thomas Rhett 
  • Brandi Carlile 

Country Films

Country Strong

Walk The Line

Wild Rose

Crazy Heart

A Star Is Born

I Saw The Light

The Thing Called Love

Closing Thoughts

So are you now more of a country music fan after this article? I hope the answer is yes and even though we have only given you a brief snapshot of the country music scene today, it will only make you more curious. There is certainly more to country music than you think. 


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