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Country music (or country and Western) is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. It has roots in traditional folk music, Celtic music, gospel music and old-time music and evolved rapidly in the 1920s. The term country music began to be used in the 1940s when the earlier term hillbilly music was deemed to be degrading and the term was widely embraced in the 1970s, while country and Western has declined in use since that time, except in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where it is still commonly used. In the Southwestern United States a different mix of ethnic groups created the music that became the Western music of the term country and Western. The term country music is used today to describe many styles and subgenres. Country music has produced two of the top selling solo artists of all time. Elvis Presley, who was known early on as “the Hillbilly Cat” and was a regular on the radio program Louisiana Hayride, went on to become a defining figure in the emergence of rock and roll. Contemporary musician Garth Brooks, with 150+ million albums sold, is the second best-selling solo artist in U.S. history. While album sales of most musical genres have declined, country music experienced one of its best years in 2006, when, during the first six months, U.S. sales of country albums increased by 17.7 percent to 36 million. Moreover, country music listening nationwide has remained steady for almost a decade, reaching 77.3 million adults every week, according to the radio-ratings agency Arbitron, Inc.
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and is a subgenre of country music. It has roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music. Bluegrass was inspired by the music of immigrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland (particularly the Scotch-Irish immigrants in Appalachia), and African-Americans, particularly through genres such as jazz and blues. In bluegrass, as in some forms of jazz, one or more instruments each takes its turn playing the melody and improvising around it, while the others perform accompaniment; this is especially typified in tunes called breakdowns. This is in contrast to old-time music, in which all instruments play the melody together or one instrument carries the lead throughout while the others provide accompaniment. Traditional bluegrass is typically based around a small set of acoustic stringed instruments including mandolin, acoustic guitar, banjo, fiddle, resonator guitar and upright bass, with or without vocals. Bluegrass music has attracted a diverse and extremely loyal following world-wide. Bluegrass as a style developed during the mid-1940s. Because of war rationing, recording was limited during that time, and it would be most accurate to say that bluegrass was played some time after World War II, but no earlier.
The Carter Family was a country music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass, country, southern gospel, pop and rock musicians as well as on the U.S. folk revival of the 1960s. They were the first vocal group to become country music stars. Their recordings of such songs as "Wabash Cannonball," "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," "Wildwood Flower" and "Keep On the Sunny Side" made them country standards.
The original group consisted of Alvin Pleasant "A.P." Delaney Carter (1891-1960), his wife Sara Dougherty Carter (1898-1979), and his sister-in-law Maybelle Addington Carter (1909-1978). Maybelle was married to A.P.'s brother Ezra (Eck) Carter and was also Sara's first cousin. All three were born and raised in southwestern Virginia, where they were immersed in the tight harmonies of mountain gospel music and shape note singing. Maybelle's distinctive guitar playing style became a hallmark of the group. The Carter Family made their first recordings on August 2, 1927. A.P. had convinced Sara and Maybelle the day before to make the journey from Maces Spring, Virginia, to Bristol, Tennessee, to audition for record producer Ralph Peer, who was seeking new talents for the relatively embryonic recording industry. They received $50 for each song they recorded.
Garth Brooks is the self-titled debut album of American country music artist Garth Brooks, released on April 12, 1989. It was both a critical and chart success, peaking at #13 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the Top Country Albums. It was certified DIamond status by the RIAA for the sale of 10 million copies in the US. This album contains Brooks earliest hits, for instance his first ever single, "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)", which peaked at #3 on the Country Billboard Charts in 1989. It put an independent cowboy singer, Chris LeDoux, into the mainstream due to the lyric "a worn out tape of Chris LeDoux". Two other strong starts include his first #1, "If Tomorrow Never Comes" and the Academy of Country Music's 1990 Song of the Year and Video of the Year, "The Dance" (another #1).
Crazy! is a ballad which was made famous by Patsy Cline, who is known as the duchess of country music, behind the queen of country music Loretta Lynn, and the first lady of country music, Dolly Parton. Most don't know that Cline didn't actually write the song entitled Crazy! This song was actually written by Willie Nelson. Cline's husband Charlie Dick was out honky tonkin' one night and Nelson was at the same bar and showed Dick the song he had recently finished writing. Dick said, "This would be a great song for Patsy." The rest is history! Crazy! is known as Patsy Cline's signature song.
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