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Essay on the history of country music

What's Next In Nashville Genre-focused wagon circling and trading with the fluid pop mainstream have long been dueling essay on the history of country music priorities in country music, and each is magnified at a pair of very different events each year. The Country Music Association Awards show — considered the genre's most prestigious — mainly looks outward, flaunting the industry's achievement of broad appeal before a network television audience.

The Country Music Hall of Fame medallion ceremony, closed to the public, canonizes country lineage and normalizes its past stylistic expansions. Both play roles in defining, and redefining, country music's identity and legacy. A bit of context is helpful here: In The Selling Sound: The Rise of the Country Music Industry, historian Diane Pecknold describes how the CMA crafted the image of country as a modern, marketable music with an upwardly mobile audience — an image that would be taken seriously on Madison Avenue — while the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum unified country music's cultural sources, regional origins and commercial growth into a historical narrative that "embraced commercialism and change as a tradition in itself.

The myriad ways legacy was invoked at this year's CMA awards and medallion ceremony held special weight, since the awards show and museum had both arrived at the half-century mark in their existence.

Ordinarily the awards show spotlights rising and ruling stars of the moment, but the 50th anniversary was an occasion to up the commemoration. The three-song mashup was padded with performances from 30 different acts, ranging in age from millennial queen of western kitsch Kacey Musgraves to longhaired octogenarian virtuoso Willie Nelson.

Shane McAnally, the in-demand writer-producer who was handed the recording project by his fellow CMA board members, recalls Haggard being at the top of their wish list, though the legend's failing health made his participation impossible. Are we paying enough attention here? Did we honor him properly while he was alive?

You all [of a] sudden are reminded people don't live forever. Hopefully their music will. Rather than linking country music's enduring authenticity to some notion of genre purity, the mashup toasted country's legacy of crossover.

A lifelong country superfan, McAnally long ago learned to embrace these apparent contradictions. While his arena rock energy once raised eyebrows, he practically comes off as a traditionalist next to recent waves of beat-driven singers, and his consistent displays of respect for the country music community couldn't have hurt when it came to getting him into the Hall of Fame.

His CMA acceptance speech possessed trademark gusto: But the true blockbuster pairing of the night drew viewers who probably wouldn't have tuned in otherwise: I'm glad we had it in the show.

It's indicative of the kind of music that we do year after year on the CMA awards. But I'm also equally glad that it's not the only moment people are talking about. The whole show served as a sweeping reaffirmation that country music has only grown bigger and better as the years have gone by, but country music devotees could also appreciate the institutional memory on display.

After Vince Gill nodded to Haggard by tackling "Mama Tried" with the late legend's son Ben Haggard, Pride sang a snippet of his best known hit, "Kiss an Angel Good Morning," Alabama summoned nostalgia with "Mountain Music," McEntire once again essay on the history of country music the hard-bitten working girl of "Fancy," Yoakam swivel-hipped his way through a bit of "Guitars, Cadillacs," Black revisited the modern honky-tonk of "Killin' Time" and Skaggs circled back to his chicken pickin' days with "Country Boy.

There they joined a cluster of other stars to sing Randy Travis's beloved ballad "Forever and Ever Amen," handing off the song's final word to Travis himself, who suffered a stroke a few years back. Travis, whose singing days had been presumed over, delivered the closing "Amen" with wobbly warmth.

Stapleton, Jason Aldean and Garth Brooks took part in tributes to their predecessors rather than seizing the moment to promote their own singles on national television. A medley that Brooks assembled with his wife Trisha Yearwood included songs by artists who've receded from popular memory — Lynn Anderson, Roger Miller and Keith Whitley.

Research Papers/History of Country Music research paper 2443

The script contained no shortage of inside jokes for longtime fans. At one point, Paisley invited "Whispering" Bill Anderson — known in the '60s and '70s for a theatrically soft, satiny sung-spoken delivery — to join him in announcing the next segment. Trahern recalls, "The whole Bill Anderson inclusion piece came out of a conversation Brad had, and then he called Bill up. You have these contemporary artists who are so respectful of our community bringing their A game.

A number of Paisley's peers spent their brief acceptance speeches describing how moved they were to be surrounded by musicians they grew up on. Even Maren Morris, an artist less obviously beholden to tradition, spoke of realizing her dream of inclusion in the country music world.

There was a time when CMHoF inductions were televised as a small segment of the awards show, but inductees are now honored at a nonpublic soiree instead. Fans can watch the red carpet arrivals, but it's left to journalists in the room to report on the rest of the night.

Gill was one of the first three hall of famers feted in that invitation-only setting.

  • The Grand Ole Opry, a radio program originating in Nashville, Tennessee, quickly became a national institution;
  • In the mid 's, two competing country music styles came into prominence;
  • Country super group Alabama also got their start in the early eighties;
  • Equally important were radio shows, records, and movies that reached large, non-rural audiences throughout the country, and musicians such as Gene Autry, the "Singing Cowboy" and Roy Rogers into nationally famous names.

I'm not gonna just beat on the negative, because there is the other side of it. They get to really take their time instead of sliding it into a six-minute piece for people on a TV show. Says Trahern, whose organization presents the honor the event itself is produced by the scholarly staff of the CMHoF"Something that's really unique about country music is that for a format that's so big worldwide, we can still have an intimate night that isn't about TV or the bigger piece but is about the family.

They're like my family. There was nothing fast-paced about the flow of the evening, nor were the production values the least bit splashy.

  • Willie Nelson combined country music with elements of the prevailing youth culture;
  • This combination resulted in the formation of a style known as country rock;
  • The singer-songwriter Hank Williams wrote four million-seller songs in 1950, seven in 1951, and four more in 1953;
  • The style called the western swing was a combination of west Texas fiddle music with jazz and pop music;
  • Garth puts on the most elaborate shows that country music has ever seen;
  • Garth puts on the most elaborate shows that country music has ever seen.

Even when a performance succeeded in captivating the room, as Yearwood's sumptuous note-bending did, the real aim seemed to be conveying her grasp of what made that piece of music consequential. Gill was sensitive to the role reversal. After he leaned down to Foster's 85-year-old frame, slightly slumped in a wheelchair, and gently fastened the medal around his neck, Foster lifted the award to his lips and kissed it like an Olympic champion.

Brooks too felt the weight of having beaten a predecessor and personal hero to the honor. Indicating his own medal, he told Travis, "You just made this a million more times significant to me, man. It felt as though Brooks, and everyone else in the CMA Theater, was ready to catch him if his voice faltered. After Stroke, Country Music Star Randy Travis Returns To Stage With 'Amazing Grace' The narratives that framed each of the three inductees neatly mapped their journeys from humble origins to identifying with country music early in their lives and making good on their aspirations to succeed with music that spoke to them.

What they were being rewarded essay on the history of country music, above all else, was single-minded devotion to upholding country music's continuity and authenticity. Invoking a mid-'80s New York Times piece that predicted the decline of country music, HoF CEO Kyle Young framed Travis's success as a rebuttal of elitist condescension, a wholesale stylistic and commercial reinvigoration of the industry and the answer to an earlier generation of artists' urge to see tradition live on.

Haggard, George JonesTammy WynetteBill MonroePorter Wagoner, all of them delighted in Randy's unprecedented rise, as he sold millions of albums by staying true to the emotional essence of country music. The fact that he'd once been considered something of an outsider, before becoming a country music institution, was beyond the scope of the narrative framing his induction.

Still, on the phone days later, Daniels muses that the way the Charlie Daniels Band initially worked — not participating in major aspects of Nashville's music-making economy i. When radio started kinda changing and accepting a little harder-driving stuff, that's when we started having records that fit to any extent with country radio.

I wanted to be a part of what was going on in Nashville by kinda doing it on my own terms, if you will. And I would never do anything that would dishonor either one of those institutions. In the bigger picture that emerged, the genre's increasingly complex priorities coexisted in new ways, rather than demanding reconciliation.

Coexistence comes naturally to some of country's younger hitmakers. Jon Pardi, who draws rowdy millennial crowds with rambunctious hard-edged country, has yet to take the stage at the medallion ceremony or the CMAs, but scored his first No. Conscious of the fact that many of his peers have staked out territory at far flung corners of the country spectrum, somewhere between progression and preservation, his self-professed goal is simple: