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HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC
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HOW DID COUNTRY MUSIC COME ABOUT

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THE GREAT GEORGE JONES

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Musicians had been recording fiddle tunes (known as Old Time Music at that time) in the southern Appalachians for several years, It wasn't until August 1, 1927 in Bristol, Tennessee, that Country Music really began. There, on that day, Ralph Peer signed Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family to recording contracts for Victor Records.These two recording acts set the tone for those to follow - Rodgers with his unique singing style and the Carters with their extensive recordings of old-time music.Known as the "Father of Country Music," James Charles Rodgers was born in Meridian, Mississippi on September 8, 1897. Always in ill health, he became a railroad hand, until ill health caught up with him and he was forced to seek a less strenuous occupation. An amateur entertainer for many years, he became a serious performer in 1925, appearing in Johnson City, Tennessee and other places. In 1926, Rodgers and Carrie, his wife of 6 years, moved to Asheville, North Carolina, and organized the Jimmie Rodgers' Entertainers, a hillbilly band comprising Jack Pierce (guitar), Jack Grant (mandolin/banjo), Claude Grant (banjo), and Rodgers himself (banjo).

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Johnny Cash Rockabilly
In the Memphis of 1953, race lines were sharply divided -- most blacks listened to rhythm and blues (aka "race music") while country was the music favored by most white people. Looking for a way to sell R&B to a white audience, producer Sam Phillips lamented that his Sun Records would make a fortune if only he could find a white boy who could sing "colored." Enter Elvis Aron Presley.
By putting a backbeat under Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and combining it with Elvis Presley's breakthrough vocal style, producer Sam Phillips created the hybrid that would come to be known as rockabilly. Though its popularity barely made it through the '50s, artists as diverse as Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins all began their recording careers in the genre.

URBAN COWBOY.....The most infamous era in country music was in the early '80s. The Urban Cowboy movement led country music away from its roots. Country's move toward pop culture was popularized by John Travolta's "Urban Cowboy," and spurred on by Dolly Parton's movie 9 to 5 and the title song, which you can find here.
In the early '80s, country attempted to cross-over to the easy-listening pop audience. The result was a lot of shallow and tacky music that was neither good country, nor good pop. In many cases, Urban Cowboy country was nothing but regurgitated '60s and '70s pop music. The outlaw heroes of the 1970s -- Willie, Waylon, Johnny, and Merle -- faded into obscurity on the country scene. Aside from Parton, the biggest hits of the time were crossover tunes, including the Oak Ridge Boys "Elvira" and others.

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Perhaps no other style of country music has had a greater influence on today's artists than the style known as Honky Tonk. Honky Tonk music embodied the spirit of dancing and drinking, and of loving and then losing the one you love. Its greatest practitioners owe their singing style to Jimmie Rodgers and much of the music to the steel guitar and drums of Bob Wills and Western Swing

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Emilio Country Cousins
Cajun
The high-spirited, syncopated music of French-speaking Acadian people from the bayou region of southwest Louisiana. Centered around the fiddle and accordion, Cajun bands usually include a drummer, although it is still considered primarily an acoustic-based music. Jimmy C. Newman, Doug Kershaw and Eddy Raven are three of the leading Cajun acts currently on the scene.
Zydeco
A hard driving, electric music which emerged from the intersection of the Cajun and Creole cultures of Louisiana's bayou country. Sung in French, zydeco is steeped in blues and African influences and usually features a washboard. C.J. Chenier and Buckwheat Zydeco lead two of the hottest zydeco bands.

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Upon hearing that Ralph Peer of Victor Records was setting up a portable recording studio in Bristol, on the Virginia-Tennessee border, the Entertainers headed in that direction. But due to a dispute within their ranks, Rodgers eventually recorded as a solo artist, selecting a sentimental ballad, "The Soldier's Sweetheart," and a lullaby, "Sleep, Baby, Sleep," as his first offerings. The record met with instant acclaim, thus causing Victor to record further Rodgers' sides throughout 1927, including the first in a set of 13, Blue Yodel # 1 (T for Texas)
Rodgers, who died in 1933, never appeared on any major radio show or even played the Grand Ole Opry during his lifetime. But he, Fred Rose, and Hank Williams were the first persons to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961, which is indicative of his importance in the history of Country Music.

Bill Monroe Bluegrass
An intricate, purely acoustic music which is easily identified by its two and three-part vocal harmonies, energetic drive and unbridled emotion. This "high, lonesome " sound grew out of the string-band movement of the late 1920s and takes its name from its creator, Bill Monroe, who dubbed his band the Blue Grass Boys.
Former Bluegrass Boys Flatt & Scruggs' theme songs for Bonnie & Clyde and The Beverly Hillbillies introduced bluegrass to a whole new audience in the '60s. Today, bluegrass remains highly influential, as evidenced by artists like Alison Krauss.

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The Nashville Sound is a blend of pop and country that developed during the 1950s. The music in this era was an outcropping of the big band jazz and swing of the '30s, '40s and early '50s, combined with the storytelling of honky-tonkers.

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