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"You're not supposed to say the word 'cancer' in a song.
And tellin' folks Jesus is the answer can rub 'em wrong.
It ain't hip to sing about tractors, trucks, little towns, and Mama, yeah that might be true.
But this is country music, and we do."
Brad Paisley, "This Is Country Music"

Ah, country music. The American answer to Folk Music that is mostly associated with places like Kansas and men wearing cowboy attire unironically. Despite its widespread notoriety, country music is not unpopular, as proved by many musicians, and is in fact by some measures the most listened-to genre of music in the United States. Together with Blues it was a huge influence on Rock & Roll and Rockabilly.

Country music as a genre of its own originated in the 1920s in the United States, primarily played on string instruments, most notably the guitar, fiddle and banjo. It has its roots in the folk ballads of the Appalachian Mountains, which in turn descended from the various folk traditions of the British Isles. Depending on whom you ask, the offshoot genre of bluegrass might be referred to as "good country music". Modern mainstream country has progressed through a "Nashville sound" in the 1970s, which layered the string sections on heavily, and a 1980s pop-heavy "Urban Cowboy" sound inspired by the film Urban Cowboy, followed by a more traditional wave in the 1990s inspired by honky-tonk music. Modern mainstream country music has become a melting pot, ranging from more traditional acts such as George Strait and Alan Jackson to pop acts such as Carrie Underwood, and in-betweens such as Brad Paisley. Starting in the 1990s, a large number of pop and rock acts, ranging from Bon Jovi and Jewel to Kid Rock and the Eagles, crossed over to country with varying degrees of success. The crossover acts, in particular Taylor Swift, are often among the most divisive in the fanbase.

The New '10s saw the rise of "Bro-country", basically a combination of Testosterone Poisoning and modern rap influence, leading to jacked-up songs about partying in the woods with a hot girl. The Trope Maker of such was Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise", a review of which even coined the term "bro-country". Rap and R&B influences have continued to infiltrate the genre ever since, leading to acts such as Sam Hunt who are pretty much R&B in all but name.

On that note, the fanbase is stereotyped as being right-wing Boisterous Bruisers who personify the Deep South of Eagle Land. While such an portrayal is two-dimensional and uneducated, one must remember k.d. lang was blacklisted for being outspokenly pro-vegetarian (she didn't come out as a lesbian until after she felt she no longer had a country fanbase to alienate). And yet the Dixie Chicks were surprised when their fans turned on them after bad-mouthing George W. Bush (granted, the death threats were a bit much).

"Alternative Country" (sometimes abbreviated as "Alt-Country") is a loosely defined term that means, more or less, the attitude of Alternative Rock with a country sound.

See also: Country Rap and Alternative Country.

Country musicians:


Alternative Title(s): Progressive Country

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