Just like blues, country is an American homegrown art. Just like jazz, country was self-
consistent before the World War II and then had to compete with rock and roll. Like rock and roll,
country has became a culture with its own attitude, look, and feel.
Country music is characterized by its specific heavy-accented vocals and use of the acoustic
guitar or/and banjo. As a rule, the main themes of the country songs are centered on the rough
goings of life, cowboys, and other “anti-heroes”. At the very beginning country songs were about to
tell the stories about lost woman, lost horses, and lost farms… Download country music or listen
online and see it for yourself!
Country became commercial in 1923, when Fiddlin' John Carson recorded his first album
that included Western songs (“Little Joe, The Wrangler” and “The Little Old Sod Shanty On The
Claim”) railroad songs, and even hymns.
In time, industrialization absorbed the agrarian world and country music changed
significantly. By the early 50s most of the country bands played a mix of country boogie, honky
tonk and rockabilly. During that time Johny Cash was in the top of the charts with his song “I
Walk the Line”. Later, in 60s string band music called bluegrass emerged.
In 70s John Denver, singer and guitarist, released his highly successful folk-rock songs like
“Annie’s Song”, “Leaving on A Jet Plane”, “Rocky Mountain High”, etc. During that time a
famous singer Neil Young began his solo career and released his self-titled album which included
such songs as “The Loner” and “I’ve Been Waiting for You”.
As for the modern country music, it mostly combines elements of folk, indie-rock and world
music. Using the example of the band called Mumford and Sons and their songs like “The Cave”,
“Hopeless Wanderer”, and “After the Storm” one can follow up the way country music developed
and changed in time.