Charlie Pride did it in 1971. Darius Rucker did it in 2009. That’s it. Two black men, spanning thirty-eight years, are the only black artists to win a Country Music Association Award. With country music rooted in bluegrass and rhythm and blues, why aren’t there more black country music stars? When considering the roots of country music, and how closely related country is to blues, bluegrass and honky tonk music, an examination of what happened to all the black musicians seems warranted, no? This paper examines the dearth of black artists in country music and the careers of one of the few black artists who has had commercial success in this genre of music. As long as we’re examining race, how is the success of a white rapper such as Eminem different? Plus, Eminem didn’t have a successful career in rock, for example as Darius Rucker did. Yet, Eminem’s career has been enormously successful, and there was little discussion of how odd it was that a white man would choose to perform in this genre. Is country music a genre that has been appropriated so much by white artists that black artists abandoned the genre altogether? Darius Rucker, the former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish has made the transition from platinum selling pop rock artist to country singer in the past few years. On a recent episode of Oprah, Darius sat on Oprah’s couch as she declared to her audience, “Country music is the real soul music!” Rucker’s solo debut release, Learn to Live reached No. 1 and has remained on the Billboard charts for 30 weeks. The CD’s first two singles, “Don't Think I Don't Think About It" and "It Won't Be Like This For Long,” each hit No. 1, making Rucker the first male artist to get two debut singles atop the Hot Country Songs ch... ... middle of paper ... ... Bohlman, Philip V. Music and the Racial Imagination. University Of Chicago Press, Chicago. 2001. Print. “Cowboy Troy and Hick-Hop.” All Things Considered. NPR. WBUR. Boston. June 19, 2005. Radio. Tichi, Cecilia. High lonesome: the American culture of country music. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 1994. Print. Miller, Walter B. "Lower Glass Culture and Gang Delinquency." Crime in Society. Edited by L.D. Savitz and N. Johnston. Wiley. New York. 174-185. 1978. Sanneh, Kelefa. "Country Music? Whose Country?" The New York Times. 11 Nov. 2005. Web. 21 April 2011. Cobb, James C. Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity. Oxford University Press. 2005. Print. Lewis, George H. “Lap Dancer or Hillbilly Deluxe? The Cultural Constructions of Modern Country Music”. Journal of Popular Culture, Winter 97, Vol. 31 Issue 3, p163-173, 11p
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Thesis Statement: Originating in the 1920s, country music developed four distinct generations and it reflected American’s lives and values.
Times have changed, and along with the times so has country music. American country music lovers have went from Loretta Lynn and Waylon Jennings, just two of the many classic oldies, to Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan, two very appealing country music artists. However, it is not only the tune of the music that has changed, it is the image, the appeal, and overall the type of icons the media is portraying these modern music stars as. Icons such as Lynn and Jennings had identifiable features within their music as well as their appearance that spoke sweet southern belle and rugged twang. Whereas Underwood’s and Bryan’s appeal now is much more sexualized than it was during the oldies. These changes affect the way modern day singers are marketed compared to former country music stars, instead of focusing on talent it is now looks.
For almost 90 years, The Grand Ole Opry has withstood the test of time to become one of the tried and true traditions in country music. From the show's humble beginnings as an obscure radio program, to it's renowned place today as one of the premiere stages for music, The Grand Ole Opry has had an extremely colorful and interesting existence. Over the 88 years that have passed since the show's inception, The Grand Ole Opry has featured many talented performers. Those performers, along with social changes and economics, have all contributed to the growth and success of The Grand Ole Opry.
Wilson, Olly. “On the Significance of the Relationship between African and Afro-American Music.” The Black Perspective in Music 2 (1974), 3-22.
Werner, Craig Hansen. 2006. A change is gonna come: music, race & the soul of America. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Country music is one of the most popular genres of music throughout America. There are many influential figures that have changed the way country music sounds, and how people interpret it. Two important people who have made a huge impact on country music overtime are Johnny Cash and Luke Bryan. From their early life, their career, and how society views them, they have opened the minds of people and country musicians all over the country. Johnny Cash’s songs help people to experience his life growing up through the Great Depression and how people lived back then. Through Luke Bryan’s songs people could understand what life was like for Luke growing up in Georgia and all the hardships he faced. Johnny Cash and Luke Bryan are two of the many country singers that have influenced country fans to be more optimistic and hopeful.
Country music, as we know it today, was first called “Hillbilly music”. The name “Country” was not widely used until around the 1950s. The creation of this Hillbilly music, very much like American culture, was influenced from many different cultures and styles of music.
Country music originated in the Appalachian mountains of the Southern United States and has traditional folk roots that date from the early 20th century. The commercial history of country music began in the Southern United States in the 1920’s, during a ‘period of intense modernization’ (Ellison, 1995). It wasn’t until this time that country was considered a viable music genre. It was first identified as ‘hillbilly’ music in 1925 and later became known officially as ‘country’ by its designation on the Billboard Music charts (Shmoop, 2014). Widely considered the ‘Mother Church’ of country, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville became the home of many emerging and already established artists (Tichi, 1994:21). Coupled with the rise of radio and barn dance programs, country’s popularity increased greatly. Ellison (1995) describes country’s evolution from ‘rustic radio programs’ to a genre with an ‘extensive national network of fans unparalled in other forms of popular music’. During the 1930’s, the Great Depression assisted in the spread of country music throughout the US, with many poor unemployed Southerners migrating north, t...
Being a “Small Town Southern Man” is what Alan Jackson has always known and is what he repeatedly sings about. He has also sung patriotic music such as Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning? It is a recollection of the emotions felt by Americans on that shocking day of September 11, 2001. Encyclopedia.com declared that it was “Perhaps Jackson’s biggest and poignant hit…” (“Jackson, Alan). Before Jackson began writing songs, he grew up in Newnan, Georgia. He lived in a small house with his four sisters, grandparents, and parents. Eventually he moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue his music career after marrying his wife, Denise, out of high school. After many rejections, Jackson found success in signing with Arista Records. Since then, Jackson has recorded plenty of songs that became instant classics. The contributions to country music demonstrated by the career of Alan Jackson, proves beyond a doubt that Country Music Hall of Fame should induct this artist. He has shown that he is worthy of this honor through his awards, talents, and inspiration to others.
As vaudeville grew in the early 1900’s, it was mainly composed of northern performers. However, their example showed southern performers that one could make music playing in public. This realization spawned the first generation of “hillbilly” performers. The term “hillbilly” was popularized in the 1920’s after a musician by the name of Al Hopkins. He told his producer to name his band whatever he liked because they were just a bunch of hillbilly’s from North Carolina and Virginia.
According to The Nashville Sound, markers that include “rural origins, stylized sets, seemingly spontaneous performance, accessible performers, and heartfelt songs can characterize country music’s authenticity” (13). The foundations of what country music has originated from are incorporated within these markers and are used to separate the real from the fake. Early country music was a means of coping with a life of work and worries; it also brought communities of the impoverished together in fellowship. The establishment of these markers glimpses into the culture and realities of many country music artists before their fame. Take for instance a family sitting huddled together on a porch on a cool summer evening listening to a family member play the banjo while another sings along. Everyone is enjoying and living in that moment and all worries are far from mind. Country music made people feel at ease and comfortable, it brought people back to their memories of the good old days. This is the way country music sh...
Country music is, has always, and will always be king to me and my family. For as far back as the span of my memory can reach, country music was constantly being played in the car, at weddings, and basically everywhere else around us. I actually reached a point of belief where I truly thought I could feel the music flowing through my veins. Within all this country, however, there was one specific piece of country music that stood above the rest: Lonestar’s late 20th century love song “Amazed”. This song enlightened the hopeless romantic inside me and allowed me to show my true softer side. From the time I first heard this wondrous song through my raging hormonal days of high school until now, I have continued to relish in its almighty love song powers and discover new connections between the song and myself.
Country Music is everywhere. It may come blaring from a neighbor’s house, blasting the radio from a car or truck, or even playing quietly in a restaurant; but why exactly is Country Music so popular for people to listen to? When it comes to Country Music, the lyrics comes straight from the artist`s hearts where people can relate to them; the rhythm and beat are unique to the specific song, and the artist knows exactly how to tell a perfect story in the song.