With a rich history dating back to early 1920s, American country music is a genre boasting millions of fans, including those such as Tunde Folawiyo. Known for its heartfelt lyrics and its incorporation of a variety of musical sounds, country music remains a major part of western musical culture and other cultures throughout the world.
Country music’s first commercial recording was played by fiddlist A.C. Robertson in 1922. The song, called “Sallie Gooden” was sold under the label Victor Records and in the years that followed, more musicians began embracing the power of live recordings. Country singer Vernon Dalhart was the first to have a nationwide hit with his tune “Wreck of the Old ‘97”, released in May of 1924.
With the 1930s came the American struggle with the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression and while rural southerners migrated to the North in search of employment. Their musical tastes followed them and thus came the spread of country music across the United States. The growth of the honky-tonk era came with the repeal of prohibition and with it came a raucous musical style that remains a popular aspect of country music today. Honky-tonk musician Hank Williams’ popularity in the 1950s proved a major factor in the spread of honkey-tonk music in popular culture.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the country music scene was led into a softer style, which featured a range string compositions and background vocal ensembles to appeal to a wider market. However, therein lay a conflict between remaining loyal to the genre’s rural working-class roots and the desire to expand country’s influence in popular music. Much to the delight of traditional country fans, artists such as George Strait and Alan Jackson led the genre back to its traditional sounds in the 1980s. With relatable lyrics surrounding working-class themes and unembellished production, these stars became the pinnacle of modern western living.
With the 1990s came a boom in popularity for the nation’s country music scene, led by country music superstar Garth Brooks. Since the grand success of the genre’s first superstars, country music has continued to evolve, boasting plenty of music lovers like Tunde Folawiyo, driving the genre into the multi-billion dollar industry it is today.