A hot take on the country genre


Grace Drawdy

Dirt roads and pretty girls. One of the genres of music on the rise is Country Music. Country music has deep roots in the South where it is the main center of inspiration for the genre. Top artists for this genre include Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, and Zach Brown Band.

Country music is the heartbeat of America. Built on pillars of American nationalism and roots of hard work and determination, country music is one of the staples of not only the South, but the nation that our forefathers built. Pickup trucks, dirt roads, pretty girls, and the great outdoors make up this historic genre of music, and reminds listeners of the amazing country we were blessed to be born and raised. For some, country music is a nod to growing up in a world that values family and lasting love, and for others, country music is the song of summer that reminds one of rolling windows down and feeling the warmth of brilliant sunshine. Through the origins of country music, bands have told stories of young love, heartbreak, family life and growing up. Even though country music faces a lot of stigma and judgment in the music industry, it is a defining part of the American culture and society.

Since the George Strait days, 2010s country music has dramatically changed. The songs range from sweet, slow guitars to “pop” country with added electronic tracks.-sentence fragment 

Country music stemmed from a blending of ballads, popular English songs, blues, and folk music that originated in the Southern United States. In 1927, singer and entertainer, Jimmie Rodgers, recorded his first songs which dubbed him as the “Father of Country Music”. Although Rodger’s career lasted a meer six years, his music inspired some of the legendary country stars today such as Johnny Cash, Tanya Tucker, and Dolly Parton. His music also lead to the discovery of the “country” mix which featured folk, jazz, and yodeling. The country music industry accepts Rodger’s music as swinging the idea of country music from “Hillbilly” (a style made popular in the 1950s) to the rich combination of ballads of love, loss, and tradition. 

The draw to country music stems from its connection to a culture as well as its musical enticement. As newcomers enter the music scene, they bring new styles and sounds with them. In the 2010s, country music singers saw a tie between classic R&B and pop sounds such as snap tracks and catchy beats. The introduction of these sounds revolutionized the music from the previous vocal-focused songs of stars such as Garth Brooks

Some of the songs that featured these new changes to country music are Florida Georgia Line’s “This Is How We Roll” which featured famous singer-songwriter, Luke Bryan. In the song, released in 2013, the song repetition strays from the classic vocal-driven and soft guitar of traditional country and adds an electronic beat and subtle rap. 

Another artist who emulates the style of the new emerging country is Sam Hunt. With several billboard hits, Sam Hunt’s songs play on almost every radio station. His songs “House Party” and “Body Like A Backroad” are a resonate mix of pop and country. Hunt’s lyrics of the song “Body Like A Backroad” center around a conventional country idea of driving down a backroad with a girl. However, he sets the song on a soundtrack similar to pop songs, creating a blend between pop and country. 

Being a part of the country music industry does not mean that there is not potential to be successful. Many artists have become very successful in both the country music realm, and even crossed over to the pop music industry. For example, Carrie Underwood is the best selling artist that has competed on the show American Idol.

Dustin Lynch’s song “Good Girl,” which reached a Billboard top 100 in the United States, combines the lyrics of loving a girl and  traditional country lyrics, with which Rolling Stones describes as an R&B feel.

Music evolves as cultures and audiences change. The meaning of country music and the traditions of singing about lost love, finding peace within oneself, and of course, owning a truck are still staples in the music of today. The blend of pop and country are sure to welcome new fans of the traditional country and inspire new artists to bring new tracks to produce.

Included is a playlist to satisfy every country lover’s dreams. It can be a great way to dip your toes in the genre or can revive the popular songs that made the genre it is today. The songs range from top country artists that shaped the country genre, like Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton. The playlist also includes some new country artists that come to the rise throughout recent years, like Dan and Shay and Thomas Rhett. There is a mix of older songs and newer songs that have been released throughout the years.

Country music has made a huge impact on not only the South but the music industry as a whole. While country music is not one of the most popular genres of music, artists still have the opportunity to succeed. The genre has made an impact on not only its artists but its listeners as well.