Country music is a genre of American popular music that began in the rural regions of the Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from southeastern American folk music and Western music. Blues modes have been used extensively throughout its recorded history. Country music often consists of ballads and dance tunes with generally simple forms and harmonies accompanied by mostly string instruments such as banjos, electric and acoustic guitars, fiddles, and harmonicas.
- Elvis changed the country music scene quite a bit; he almost put country music out of business.
- American country music … was and is … the soul music of white people.
- Country music is three chords and the truth.
- By the mid-1960s, advertisers no longer thought of country radio stations as only being listened to by country folk. During the 1950s, it looked as though country would not survive the popularity of rock and Top 40 formatting, but the introduction of the "Nashville Sound" - typified by the now-classic recordings of Patsy Cline, - proved that crossover hit making was possible. By the mid-1970s, country had its place in radio, with more than 1,000 stations playing country format. Country had become suburban-it had given a voice to adult problems, such as infidelity, boss hating, and the like, whereas pop music seemed stuck in teenaged concerns. Country radio listeners were therefore older, and were nearly always white.
By the 1990s, one survey determined that country stations were number one in 57 of the top 100 radio markets in the United States.
- Christopher H. Sterling; Cary O'Dell, "The Concise Encyclopedia of American Radio", (9 February 2011), Routledge, p. 198.