Country: America’s Music
When people think about country music today, there are a variety of musicians that come to mind. Some of the most popular country acts of the 21st century include Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, and Tim McGraw to name a few. Like musicians of other genres of music, today’s country stars find influence and inspiration from those of the past. Before mentioning the inspirations, one must discover where the genre of country music began and how it became what it is today.
Country music of the past was real. That’s really the simplest way to describe it. A country song would be about something real such as heartbreak, struggle, death, and even just having a good time sitting on the porch with your guitar. The realistic feel to country music is why so many people are fans of it, the music is relatable and shows the listener that they’re not the only ones struggling with problems. In its’ early years, country music was described as music of the poor. Before country music began to be made and sold, blues was the music of choice for many people. Labels that chose to produce country music took a big risk because it was something people had never heard of. What’s incredible to know is that the people that would later become big names in country music weren’t fame hungry people, they just really loved music and wanted to play it.
Ralph Peer of OKeh Records is often credited for the country music scene exploding into what is it today. Many of the artists that Peer signed were people who played music on their porches. It was a completely different sound then the popular music of the day, but the risk was well worth it. The Carter Family was one of the acts that Peer signed. The Carter Family was an actual family that played music with each other. One of their most early recordings was “Poor Orphan Child”. This was the song that essentially got them signed and began their legacy.
The Carter Family, like many other singing groups would eventually disband, but that wouldn’t be the last time you hear from the family. Maybelle Carter, would eventually have a daughter name June Carter. June would go on to marry Johnny Cash, a country music legend in his own right. The twosome would become a powerhouse couple in country music. They were famously portrayed by Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in “Walk the Line” in which Witherspoon received an Academy Award for her acting.
Country music is one of those things that you just know is going to be around forever. I consider country music, music of the people. When something is just so relatable, people tend to gravitate towards it. For this reason, country music is one of the most popular and most successful genres of music.