Country Folk Tickets
Country music is a form of popular music that developed in southern US in the early part of the 20th century. It can be described as a combination of dance tunes and ballads where the lyrics are mostly centered on themes of patriotism and the lives of the people in the country. The music is simple in its form and is typically played on instruments such as the fiddle, violin, acoustic or electric guitar and harmonica.
The genre has evolved with time and that is one of the biggest reasons it remains so popular. That is depicted in the extremely high demand for country music tickets.
The roots of country music can be traced back to the recordings of Southern Appalachian fiddle players in the 1910s. Initially the genre was popular among the white working class in the South but over the years its popularity increased and widened to other parts of the country. Earlier the music was marketed under names such as ‘old-time tunes’ and ‘old-familiar tunes.’
When Al-Hopkins referred to his band as “a bunch of hillbillies from North Carolina and Virginia,” record engineer and producer Ralph Peer named the group ‘The Hill Bil-lies,’ after which the music became popularized as hillbilly. The now Country Music Association felt that this term was rather derogatory and hence made efforts to change the way the music was perceived by the audience. The efforts paid off and by the 1950s, the music was coined with the terms country and western.
Pioneers of the Genre
The very first commercial country album was by Eck Robertson. It was released by the Victor Records in 1922. The first national country hit was ‘Wreck of the Old ‘97’ by Vernon Dalhart. However, names that are usually credited for the birth of the country genre on a commercial level are Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family.
Jimmie Rodgers gave the first million-selling single ‘Blue Yodel #1.’ His contributions to country music were recorded between 1927 and 1933. Often referred to as the ‘Father of Country music,’ Rodgers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the year 1961.
The First Family of Country Music
The first famous vocal group in country music was The Carter Family. It comprised A.P. Carter along with his wife Sara Dougherty and sister-in-law, Maybelle Addington Carter. Their songs were recorded between 1927 and 1956. The Carter Family are considered the first country music stars. They’ve contributed a number of classics to the genre. These include ‘Wildwood Flower,’ ‘Keep on the Sunny Side,’ ‘Can the Circle be Unbroken,’ ‘I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes’ and ‘Wabash Cannonball.’
The Cowboy Image
The cowboy movies of the 1930s and 40s played a key role in the evolution of country music. The music produced in this era was largely written for the movies. When singing cowboys such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers debuted on the celluloid with their music, the movies became major box office hits. The soundtracks of these movies were pressed to Vinyl Records and hence gained immense attention and popularity. It was realized then that the cowboy image had in fact worked for country music.
The Nashville Sound
In the mid 1950s, rock ‘n’ roll and soul music seemed to outshine country music. Not only were these music artists ruling the charts but also leading in terms of sales. In order to compete, the record labels in Nashville developed a new style of music which would appeal to people that didn’t quite like rock ‘n’ roll, soul or country. Hence they identified singers with smooth vocals and had them sing ballads over orchestral choirs and strings. Authentic and traditional country instruments such as the fiddle and banjo were avoided. The idea was a success and soon the sales of albums produced by Nashville companies began to rise.
The Outlaw Movement
Many music artists were however not pleased with the way Nashville was treating country music and hence decided to rebel against the Music City’s establishment. Among these independent-minded music artists were Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and David Allan Coe. They developed a new style by combining the honky tonk authentic sound with the rebellious rockabilly attitude. What these ‘outlaws’ produced in the shape of songs like ‘Ring of Fire,’ ‘Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down’ and ‘Mama Tried’ heralded the arrival of a new kind of country genre. This style is what we today know as outlaw country.
Country rock was another style that developed during the 1960s. The earliest country rock beats are credited to Gram Parsons when he added elements of folk rock, rock and roll piano and rock guitar to the country sound of his band. This style further developed when he worked with the Flying Burrito Brothers. When in 1965, Bob Dylan switched from acoustic to electric guitar; his sound bore a strong touch of rock. Four years later he came out with the country rock album ‘Nashville Skyline.’
New Traditionalist Country
The 1980s saw a new crop of country artists introduce another country style genre, the new traditionalist country. It emerged as a reaction to the pop-oriented sound of country music. As the name suggests this form of music is inspired by the genre’s traditional roots of honky tonk and bluegrass yet has a modern feel due to the variety of contemporary techniques used. George Strait and Dwight Yoakam are two examples of new traditionalist country stars.
Garth Brooks debuted in 1989 and went on to become the most successful artist in country music history. He and his contemporaries such as Shania Twain aspired to make music that would appeal to a larger audience and thus generate maximum sales.
This is precisely what country artists aim to do today. The music of well-known names such as Taylor Swift, Sugarland and Lady Antebellum is as much influenced by traditional country as by the pop music of the 70s. Since the appeal has broadened, the demand for country music tickets is huge. And with more and more musicians coming up, the future for this genre seems even more promising.