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I have a question to ask you.... What is Country Music?


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Hello all :wave: , I've not lived in the US for a long time, so sorry for my ignorance, but..... What in the world is Country music? Is the music we hear on the channel 61(I don't even know how it's called.)? I seriously can't tell the diffrence between Country music and Rock music. The country music I hear on the Channel 61 is totally diffrent than the country music I used to imagine. To me, the new (Country?) music is just soft rock. I watched her... (brabra train) new video. It's kinda fancy. I 100% can't sense Country music from it, but I believe she's a country music star....? What the hell? Can you guys teach me the history of country music a little bit? What's the diffrence between Country and Rock music? Well, my favorite (and one of the few country songs I know) is " Country Road" By John Denver. That gotta be a country song! :D
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OK, there was originally the American folk music played by whites. When the major record companies got ahold of those artists and added horns, strings, etc. and generally made it slick, it bacame "country music." As far as differentiating between "new" country and soft rock; I don't know. I hate musical labels; every artist has their own thing- if it's close to sounding like somebody else, people have a tendency to lump it together- creating genres. I think that way of thinking is lame, and really detracts from the art.

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Well, welcome to the US, Nraki. Country music, the US's version of it, is popular worldwide, not only in the US and Canada, but also in Great Britain, Australia, and many other countries. Country Music, our version, began as white, rural roots music (as opposed to black blues and Gospel). In American slang, living in a rural (as opposed to urban) setting is termed living "in the country". Our country music probably got its origins in Irish folk songs brought over by immigrants. Over the years it evolved to bluegrass music...acoustic music featuring guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, and Dobro. Combined with cowboy ballads, it became known as "Country and Western" music. Also, an element of white Gospel music was an influence. As a good portion of it was southern, singers often carried a southern "twang" in their voices, and that tradition carries on today. Generally, in the sense of the word, to listen for Country music today, listen for a proliferation of southern twang in the vocals, pedal steel and fiddle in the instrumentation, songs about cheatin' and drinkin'...or softer ballads about life circumstances. More recently, country musicians have introduced elements of what was called "southern rock", hence, it does sound a lot like rock and roll, until you hear the twangy vocals. It's tended to become not just rural, but any "workingman's" music...appealing not just to farmers anymore.
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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you have a point - country used to be twangy and bluegrass oriented. nowadays, it is just what you said - soft rock for the most part. it is like pop music is alive and well, but now they call it country. most everyone i know calls contemporary rock music "polished turds". ever since nirvana blew rock music back to the stone age, every band sounds like they were recorded in somebody's garage. crappy guitar sounds, and little to no chops. i hear crap on the radio now that sounds just about like my band sounded in the 9th grade in my friends living room. i miss def leppard and yes and chicago. thank god there's still people like bonnie raitt and james taylor that are serious. ooops - i'm ranting, arent i? thorry...

jnorman

sunridge studios

salem, oregon

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I believe that Country had it's beginnings in the same place that the blues did, with the early African American guitarists. While it is a predominately Caucasian style of music nowadays, If you listen to the really early Country style music (Like alot of the things off of Okeh records, back in the day) they were predominately black performers, and while it is alot more bluesy than alot of the COuntry music you here today, it definately has its own Country style. I recommend Okeh Western Swing if you can find it. It really is pretty good. John Brown
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[quote]Originally posted by John Brown: [b]I believe that Country had it's beginnings in the same place that the blues did, with the early African American guitarists. While it is a predominately Caucasian style of music nowadays, If you listen to the really early Country style music (Like alot of the things off of Okeh records, back in the day) they were predominately black performers, and while it is alot more bluesy than alot of the COuntry music you here today, it definately has its own Country style. I recommend Okeh Western Swing if you can find it. It really is pretty good. John Brown[/b][/quote]I think they both had their roots in humble beginnings, poverty, simple songs of the working man. Country is (or used to be) "white blues", simple songs (three or four chords) about cheatin', drinkin', no good women or no good men. But, today's country is to oldtime country sort of what R&B is to the blues. It's gotten more sophisticated (arguably, perhaps). But although cross-influences abound, I believe that white country had more origins in the white ethnic music of the Irish Americans than in black blues, although from what I hear, the banjo was originally derived from an African instrument.
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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"I think they both had their roots in humble beginnings, poverty, simple songs of the working man. Country is (or used to be) "white blues", simple songs (three or four chords) about cheatin', drinkin', no good women or no good men. But, today's country is to oldtime country sort of what R&B is to the blues. It's gotten more sophisticated (arguably, perhaps). But although cross-influences abound, I believe that white country had more origins in the white ethnic music of the Irish Americans than in black blues, although from what I hear, the banjo was originally derived from an African instrument." If you listen to early country, it is entirely too similar to the blues for them to have come from different sources. The whole style of Country really is alot more like the blues than Braveheart. Like someone said before, I think that Country as we know it, came from Western music, and as far as I know, that was mostly African American (in the beginning). However, seeing as I am not old enough to have known Eisenhower personally, I wouldn't bet the farm. John Brown
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[quote]Originally posted by dBunny: [b]Is the 12-bar blues form American? I mean, I always just assumed it was, because blues is an American style of music. But has the 12-bar blues form ever been traced back to Europe or Africa? Does anyone know that?[/b][/quote]I think it has it's origins in Africa with the music the slaves took with them to the Carribean and Southern US. It became more obviously 12 bar when it was taken up North to cites like Chicago and Detroit. The I, IV & V nature of it is common to all Western music though.
"That's what the internet is for. Slandering others anonymously." - Banky Edwards.
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Making modern country music requires the use of a simple formula: * Take a middle-of-the-road pop, easy listening, or sioft rock tune * Throw in some moderately clever wordplay...double entendre is a nice trick. * hire a steel guitar player for flavor & fills *Sing with a country/southern drawl (sang with twang) Anything is possible. I have an mp3 Ben Folds Five do a decent country version of Oasis' "Champagne Supernova". Another example is Garth's cover of Billy Joel's "Shameless", which was one of his fist big hits. (Okay...the "supernova" cover was pretty bad, but it makes a good example.)

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The stuff here on the origins of country are instructive but the question was " What IS country music" I think the boundary between contemporary country and pop/rock is almost gone. The main thing that makes a song contemporary country these days seems to be that it was written in Nashville, strictly fits the standard song structures and is recorded by Nashville pickers. Allot of country stuff doesnt even have pedal steel on it these days.

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John, In response to your assertion that Country Music derived from African-American sources I have to disagree. It was influenced somewhat by those sources but did not originate there. In the Appalachian area which is where much of early country music (or hillbilly music) originated there weren't that many blacks and the population was mostly Anglo (Scotch-Irish). A quick Google search on the origins of country music yielded the following (http://www.uky.edu/FineArts/Music/Musicology/Nelson/mus390/origins.html): "Hillbilly music . . . evolved primarily out of the reservoir of folksongs, ballads, dances , and instrumental pieces brought to North America by Anglo-Celtic immigrants. Gradually absorbing influences from other musical sources, particularly from the culture of Afro-Americans, it eventually emerged as a force strong enough to survive, and even thrive, in an urban-industrial society" (Malone, p. 1) The source is Malone, Bill C. 1985. Country Music USA (revised). Austin: University of Texas. - David
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Yeah, David, thanks, I do agree. Irish, or Anglo Celtic immigrants...settling in the Appalachians..not too many black influences there. Now, if country music were tracing its roots to the plantations of Mississippi, it would be another story. I'm sure some of blues and/or black Gospel influences did creep in, but it wasn't the driving factor. And there are many similarities in the structures of country and blues. I'm not trying to be a "white Poelo" here, rather, in examining the similarities, trying to offer how interesting it is that two rather similar music styles seem to have evolved separately. That said...it's really not important to me. For the most part, I prefer blues to country...but, there's a lot of country I do like. And whatever anyone wants to believe about the origin is fine by me.
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Interesting... Since I actually am primarily a pedal steel guitarist, I like a lot of stuff. Real country... depends on your perspective. I really like Daryl Singletary, Gary Allen, Daryl Dodd, Alan Jackson,Brad Paisley, Daryl Worley and George Strait as contemporary artists. Are we talking "Western Swing"? How about Tom Morrell and the Time Warp Cowhands? If these guys don't burp your turtle, I don't know what will:) Much of the top forty current "Gnashville" offerings are indeed pop &/or rock. Much of it would have sounded fine on the radio in the 70's. Is it forumula driven? Yes. Is it country? Again, depends on who you ask. Having grown up in a diverse, musically rich enviroment, I tend to like much of it...despite the rather trendy "gnashville sucks" movement. Hey... it's all music. Is Shania country? Gee, several of her first couple of offerings really did offer more than a passing nod to "honky-tonk", but most of her later stuff is pretty middle of the road pop. As far as I'm considered, Mutt Lange is a certifiable genius in regards to marketing her. Garth... again, megabuck success who appeals across genres and audiences. I disagree with someone who posted that "Shameless" was an early hit. It actually was pretty far into his career. His first album is okie honky-tonk refined...and it had multiple hits. uhmm... what was the question? :confused:
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There is no single, clear-cut entity called "country music" anymore. There are artists who do play traditional country-style music such as Brad Paisely, Alan Jackson, Reba, and the still performing great ones like Willie Nelson, George Jones and so on. Then you have your country-rockers like Travis Tritt, Montgomery Gentry, Hank Jr., etc. AT least they stay close to the parameters or the borders of what was once country music. The artists that bother me are those like Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Rascal Flats, Emerson Drive, JoDee Messina, Sarah Evans, Tim McGraw and others who call themselves country, and maybe slap a cowboy hat on their heads or boots on their feet and call themselves "country". I see them as moving beyond the parameters tyically considered "country" and are instead psuedo-pop stars for the more conservative, if not older, generation---those turned off my by the glitz and sexuality of a Brittany, Christina, Mariah, Whitney, Enrique, and so on. There is a big market for country-pop out there and many singers are going through the country music backdoor and making big bucks. And I do like much of their music---not all of it, but much of it. But I do have to say that--Shania Twain, IMHO, is as far from country music as can be---yet she is a veritable money-making marketing machine who just happens to put out music which for some reason appeals to a mass market. As far as I'm concerned, I can't even listen to her music. (But Shania Twain as a topic has been discussed here before ad nauseum, so I don't mean to start that up again.) Lovin the many genres of country-style music here in NC, BD
"With the help of God and true friends I've come to realize, I still have two strong legs and even wings to fly" Gregg Allman from "Ain't Wastin Time No More"
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[quote]Originally posted by dBunny: [b]Is the 12-bar blues form American? I mean, I always just assumed it was, because blues is an American style of music. But has the 12-bar blues form ever been traced back to Europe or Africa? Does anyone know that?[/b][/quote]There's NO doubt that the music from Africa was a big influence on the blues. One thing I think is really overlooked is the contributions of Spanish flamenco and even russian folk. This was the original guitar music, by the originators of the guitar! If you listen to flamenco, or read the music rather, you'll see that much of it is based on I-IV-V patterns. I really think that modern music was most influenced by spanish flamenco, african folk, and the melodic style of English/Irish folk. That's my take from studying ancient music.

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I understarnd your confusion. Basically if the guy singing is wearing a cowboy hat, tight blue jeans, big shiny belt buckle and realy pointy cowboy boots, they call it country music. Oh yeah, he's usually driving a pick-up truck. It's a little harder to tell with girls.

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Oh my...not another lineage thread... Let's try: French (cajun) Spanish (Cordovans had music when Europe was still hurling rocks), German, Scandanavians, Dutch, English, Irish, Scotch and a smattering of everyone else... The folks, settled the eastern seaboard and upper mid-west or went west into the realms of Boone etc. The traditional quick steps, waltzes, jigs, ballads, were set into place, at the same time the Africans were, being sequesterd for relocation. The seas, and sailors allowed the proliferation of instruments from all over the world, as well as the cultures who migrated to these shores. The genre of modern country, would be deriviative of the pre and post cival war stylings, even Foster had a sense of traditional roots. After WW1, which as in WW2, had forced sharing of quarters between people who normally, wouldn't associate, the music was partly sitting astride a norm of purist and contemporary, christian and blue grass, ethos... the advent of radio, did allow the forment of a more mainstrem variant which the early recordists, radio stations and labels, were won't to venture for gain and art and conversions sake.(pentacostals had a bit to do with it and that started in L. A. in the very earl 1900's) the Museum of Country Music, in nashville, is replete with tapes and CD's from that era, as well as diarama'e of those early pioneers. The music, was not really associated with the color of skin (early performers were damed glad to have a job) but generally (not always) it was white, from poor people, filtered upward. BMI started because ASCAP would not allow white styisits from Appalachia and the South, nor Blacks as a group, to share in the Broadway, New York based cartel. Country, is about as broad as Jazz or Blues to define. It is however, an anglo associated paradigm, derived from immigrant based folk forms... Before the coining of the phrase, primarialy it was based in the mountain areas of the east and south...also into the cities Western, was an addition based upon stylings from west of the MIssippi, according to my dad, who is no longer around... I was not able to verify that while in Nashville, but I do know that an enitre culture, exclusive of Nashville, Louisville and Memphis existed in Bakerfield, during the depression, and alluding their roots to that genre of "Western Swing", would be Buck, Merele and Dwight... I remember Spade Cooley, as a kid, once a week and we sat glued to his, hot fiddle... Is the current country pop, there is a whole anti and pro faction in Nashville, the subject is beat to death and suffice it to say, if it's playin in rotation an Nashville, it's going to be country, those tunes will not cross over into an urban market, even if it sounds pop, it's not. The elements which brought it into focus, were The Byrds, Springfield, Poco etc...after which the whole long haired country thing took off... Folks who had crews, got long hair, it was part of the social change thing... Full circle and the reflex of late is for tradition over pop, it's part of the growth of the current artist, their label A & R and the writers who put the tunes together, like Marv Greene (Amazed) and Jim Collins (the Good Stuff) But as we see, pop is still king in country, for now... A seminar a few years ago with some notable producers, was significant in that one said"If a song is good, it can be styled and sung into almost any genre" For the most part it's true, but singing about John Deere Green, on a Baby face album, might prove that guy wrong... Rob
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GT3... You are so correct, especially on the Spanish, The Spanish, the Arabs, Cordova etc...and the advent of the guitar as derivitave of Lute, southern Caucuses etc... Right on the button... The Moors may have taken the six string out of Spain, but they didn't take Spain out of the six string... Wrighton Rob
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Now see, David understands this modern world. Citing references, laying down the law....It's nice to see. It still seems strange that the blues and early country would sound so much alike though. Although by the time that they had recording equiptment, there was probably a hefty blending of styles. I am not a Country Fan, The Country Music Station hurts my mind, but I will say that the country ladies have gotten alot more appealing in the New Millenium. John Brown [i]A Country Boy can survive....[/i]
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Well in Texas the hard and fast rule is if you can 2 step to it it's country.I have heard some bar bands do some very cool versions of ZZtop,AC/DC and stuff like that and make it "country".But as many on here have said the stuff out of Nashville,although it is called country,is not country.In the 60's and 70's,the Nashville bunch took the arrangements farther with string sections,horn sections and the like,in order to make it appeal more to the masses.This practice has carried over today,with synths and electronic drums,to make it "Pop" music.There is still some fine country music being made today but very little of it makes it to the mass airwaves.The best example of country music to date is that of Hank Williams and Merle Haggard,IMO.There is a rising movement in Texas of young songwriters that is really starting to get noticed.Although some of them incorporate elements of Pop and Rock and Folk,Americana if you will.But they are closer to real country than most of the stuff coming out of Nashville.Check out some of these guys if you get the chance...Robert Earl Keen,Pat Green,Kevin Fowler,Houston Marchman,Roger Creager,Harris & Ryden,Charlie Robison,Larry Joe Taylor,Tommy Alverson, to name just a few. :thu:
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JGC Well said... I'm still mystified by names though... Billy Joe Don Morris Garland Davis the third... It's no wonder BK and DQ have entered the lexicon.. I'm kidding...My hat is off to any person who can hold an audience in Texas, that's not already in Church... Cheers, Rob
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