Country Music of the Past

By Madeline Crowley

After visiting the one and only country music hall of fame this summer in Nashville, Tennessee, I was wonderstruck learning about the history of country music and its evolution throughout many years. The museum had extravagant walls covered in award-winning records, old artifacts from the most well-known singers, and best of all the unique untold stories behind various popular country songs. 

 If you’re one who mostly listens to other genres of music, you may think of country music as that old yodeling sounding, primarily instrumental, folk, and cowboy type of country seen in western movies. However, country music has drastically evolved and changed since it began with its old style created by settlers moving west on the American frontier. The one of a kind, banjo and washboard, originating in Africa, combined with the gentle hum of the harmonica, and fiddle from Europe made up the first sounds of country. Later on, the combination of blues and folk music were both essential factors in the birth of country music. In 1922, the first ever hit country star, Eck Robertson, released his first album, which began to popularize country music all over the United States. From there singers like Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, The Blue Sky Boys, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams continued to bring country music to its shape today by further incorporating the guitar. All throughout the 1930’s and the Great Depression, country music played a big role in entertaining farmers and people with little money which gave country music its culture. Soon later the Grand Ole Opry was built and visited by the one and only Elvis Presley to sing the classic “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” which helped to expand country even more. As long as country music has continued to exist and develop, its songs have been told with meaningful ballads (stories told through songs) which often include the topics of heartache, trucks, alcohol, small towns, falling in love, and personal pride. The more modern-day country tunes feature slight incorporations of other genres such as pop and rap to keep the sound as fresh as possible. Now, country music takes on a whole new sound than what it started with and has fully expanded into the world’s fifth most listened to genre! Country music is not just for cowboys!