The origins of country music can be found in recordings Southern Appalachian fiddle players made in the late 1910s. It wasn’t until the early ‘20s, however, that country music as a viable recorded genre took hold. The first commercial country record was made by Eck Robertson in 1922 on the Victor Records label. Vernon Dalhart had the first national country hit in 1924 with “Wreck of the Old ’97.” But most historians point to 1927, the year Victor Records signed Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family, as the true moment country music was born.
67 Country Western Artists in blog:
Atkins, Chet. “Greatest Hits” Post 19 (https://youtu.be/wMnfwEzN4rI) (RQ 10). An American musician who, along with Owen Bradley and Bob Ferguson, helped create the Nashville sound, the country music style which expanded its appeal to adult pop music fans. He was primarily a guitarist, but he also played the mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and ukulele, and occasionally sang. His distinctive picking style and musicianship brought him admirers inside and outside the country scene, both in the United States and abroad. Atkins received 14 Grammy Awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also received nine Country Music Association awards for Instrumentalist of the Year. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
Autry, Gene. “Back in the Saddle Again” Post 12 (https://youtu.be/E5F-O_19lSI) (RQ 8). Nicknamed the “Singing Cowboy,” was an American actor, musician, singer, composer, rodeo performer, and baseball owner who gained fame largely by singing in a crooning style on radio, in films, and on television for more than three decades beginning in the early 1930s. Autry was the owner of a television station and several radio stations in Southern California. He was the founding owner of the California Angels (Major League baseball team).
Bandy, Mo. “That’s What Makes a Jukebox Play” Post 12 (https://youtu.be/mwZMbwa6eqc) (RQ 10).
Boyd, Craig Wayne. “Can’t You See” Post 53 (https://youtu.be/3m5RzM8YEAE) (RQ 10).
Bradbery, Danielle. “The Heart of Dixie” Post 53 (https://youtu.be/BylRObFjmaE) (RQ 10).
Bryan, Luke. “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” Posts 32 & 33 (https://youtu.be/a5M_rT89kxY) (RQ 9). Bryan is a five-time “Entertainer of the Year,” being awarded by both the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Country Music Association. In 2019, Bryan’s 2013 album Crash My Party received the first Album of the Decade award from the Academy of Country Music. He is one of the world’s best-selling music artists, with over 75 million records sold. In addition, since 2018, Bryan has been a judge on American Idol (where he earns $12M per year).
Buffett, Jimmy. “Margaritaville” Post 38 (https://youtu.be/CICf8xoLyG8) (RQ 9). Aside from his career in music, Buffett is also a bestselling author and was involved in two restaurant chains named after two of his best-known songs; he currently owns the Margaritaville Cafe restaurant chain and co-developed the now defunct Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chain. Buffett is one of the world’s richest musicians, with a net worth as of 2017 of $550 million.
Caroline, Emma. “Slow Burn” Post 53 (https://youtu.be/p3EpTSsG-_g) (RQ 9).
Cash, Johnny. “Ring of Fire” Posts 30, 33 & 38 (https://youtu.be/1WaV2x8GXj0) (RQ 10). Cash is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide. His genre-spanning music embraced country, rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel sounds. This crossover appeal earned him the rare honor of being inducted into the Country Music, Rock and Roll, and Gospel Music Halls of Fame.
Casper, J.D. “How To Save a Life” Post 53 (https://youtu.be/6ocymEK7pFY) (RQ 8).
Chestnut, Savanna. “Hold Me Now” Post 53 (https://youtu.be/VUSzPAbw9ZE) (RQ 9).
Denver, John. “Take Me Home Country Road” Posts 38 & 56 (https://youtu.be/1vrEljMfXYo) (RQ 10+). John was an American guitarist, singer, composer, actor, humanitarian, and environmentalist. He is known for popularizing acoustic folk music in the 1970s as part of the ongoing singer-songwriter movement of the mid-to-late 20th century. Denver is widely recognized as a cultural icon of the American West. Denver recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he composed. He had 33 albums and singles that were certified Gold and Platinum in the U.S by the RIAA, with estimated sales of more than 33 million units.
Dodds, Kenadi (15 yrs old). “Love Wins” Post 37 (https://youtu.be/R42WunzhFdw) (RQ 9).
Ford, Mary & Les Paul. “Vaya Con Dios” Post 36 (https://youtu.be/QqZ0Sdz_V40) (RQ 10). An American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, and his prototype, called the Log, served as inspiration for the Gibson Les Paul. Paul taught himself how to play guitar, and while he is mainly known for jazz and popular music, he had an early career in country music. In the 1950s, he and his wife, singer and guitarist Mary Ford, recorded numerous records, selling millions of copies.
Gentry, Bobby. “Ode to Billy Joe” Posts 30, 33, & 36 (https://youtu.be/nv33eaygVDQ) (RQ 9). Gentry rose to international fame in 1967 with her Southern Gothic narrative “Ode to Billie Joe”. The track spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was third in the Billboard year-end chart of 1967, earning Gentry Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1968. Gentry charted 11 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and four singles on the United Kingdom Top 40. Her album Fancy brought her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. After her first albums, she had a successful run of variety shows on the Las Vegas Strip.
Grant, Gogi. “The Wayward Wind” Post 36 (https://youtu.be/2Ga7OkZRJY4) (RQ 9).
Guitar, Bonnie. “Dark Moon” Post 36 (https://youtu.be/_eVDHn_b_CE) (RQ 10).
Haggard, Merle. “Greatest Hits” Post 56 (https://youtu.be/8thmgPkk3rM) (RQ 10). Between the 1960s and the 1980s, he had 38 number-one hits on the US country charts, several of which also made the Billboard all-genre singles chart. He received many honors and awards for his music, including a Kennedy Center Honor (2010); a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2006); a BMI Icon Award (2006); and induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1977);Country Music Hall of Fame (1994) and Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame (1997).
Head, Sundance. “I’ve Been Lovin You Too Long” Post 53 (https://youtu.be/HmhGjyySsIY) (RQ 9).
Helms, Bobby. “Jingle Bell Rock.” (https://youtu.be/Bx_s2g6YiQs).
Hoot, Jake. “Cover Me Up” Post 53 (https://youtu.be/AGgEzfbn5No) (RQ 8).
Jackson, Alan. “Greatest Hits” Post 56 (https://youtu.be/1QGWb6VwQFg) (RQ 10).
Jackson, Wanda. “In the Middle of a Headache” Post 36 (https://youtu.be/e4JRD3uMSRM) (RQ 10).“Hard-Headed Woman” Post 18 (https://youtu.be/SNyAWDIJxvs) (RQ 10).
Keith, Toby. “How Do You Like Me Now” Post 56 (https://youtu.be/3umaLe37-LE) (RQ 10).
Kennedy, Caleb. “On the Road Again” Post 52 (https://youtu.be/FIszwkH27X8) (RQ 8).
Krauss, Alison (& Robert Plant). “Please Read the Letter” Post 38 (https://youtu.be/L3Xi5gvZ7Kk) (RQ 9).
Lil Nas X (20 yrs old) (& Billy Ray Cyrus). “Old Town Road” Post 37 (https://youtu.be/r7qovpFAGrQ) (RQ 8).
Lively, Ethan. “You Look So Good in Love” Post 53 (https://youtu.be/d24zyOjPbXc) (RQ 9).
Luman, Bob. “Let’s Think About Living.” (https://youtu.be/kPh868GJQfE).
Lynn, Loretta. “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” Posts 38 & 56 (https://youtu.be/BCu83KvIb7M) (RQ 7). “Coal Miner’s Daughter” Post 36 (https://youtu.be/f9eHp7JJgq8) (RQ 9). She was an American country music singer and songwriter. In a career spanning six decades, Lynn released multiple gold albums. She was nominated 18 times for a Grammy Award, and won three times. As of 2022, Lynn was the most awarded female country recording artist, and the only female ACM Artist of the Decade (1970s). Lynn scored 24 No. 1 hit singles and 11 number one albums.
Mack, Lonnie. “Memphis (instrumental)” Post 6 (https://youtu.be/5_-kxJygxM8) (RQ 9).
Miller, Alex (17 yrs old). “I’m Over You” Post 37 (https://youtu.be/kTbthXDrX8c) (RQ 10).
Monroe, Bill (mandolin). “Bluegrass Breakdown” Post 18 (https://youtu.be/7cXJFvRuhXk) (RQ 9). an American mandolinist, singer, and songwriter, who created the bluegrass music genre. Because of this, he is often called the “Father of Bluegrass.
Moore, Scotty (Sound Engineer & guitarist). “That’s Alright Mama” Post 19 (https://youtu.be/_1gkhU2w458) (RQ 9).
Nelson, Willie. “Always on My Mind” Posts 38 & 56 (https://youtu.be/R7f189Z0v0Y) (RQ 9). “On the Road Again” Post 7 (https://youtu.be/dBN86y30Ufc) (RQ 10). American singer, songwriter, musician, political activist and actor. He was one of the main figures of outlaw country, a subgenre of country music that developed in the late 1960s as a reaction to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound. The critical success of his album Shotgun Willie (1973), combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978), made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music. Nelson has acted in over 30 films, co-authored several books. His songs became hits for other artists, including “Funny How Time Slips Away” (Billy Walker), “Pretty Paper” (Roy Orbison), and, most famously, “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. Nelson and Cochran also met Cline’s husband, Charlie Dick at Tootsie’s. Dick liked a song of Nelson’s he heard on the bar’s jukebox. Nelson played him a demo tape of “Crazy”. Later that night Dick played the tape for Cline, who decided to record it. “Crazy” became the biggest jukebox hit of all time.
Oates, John (& Daryl Hall). “Maneater” Post 56 (https://youtu.be/yRYFKcMa_Ek) (RQ 9).
Page, Patti. “Tennessee Waltz” Posts 31 & 33 (https://youtu.be/yGzIYzBxR0E) (RQ 9). She was the top-charting female vocalist and best-selling female artist of the 1950s, selling over 100 million records during a six-decade-long career. Between 1948 and 1982, Patti Page has charted a total of 110 hits on Billboard’s Top Sellers / Pop Singles Chart, the Hot Adult Contemporary Trackschart, and the Hot Country Songs chart. Four of these singles peaked at #1, all on the Billboard Pop Chart between 1950 and 1953. Also, since 1951, Page has released 39 studio albums, three of which were recorded as tribute albums. She recorded one live album in 1998 at Carnegie Hall, which gave Page her first Grammy award.
Parton, Dolly. “Jolene” Post 56 (https://youtu.be/Ixrje2rXLMA) (RQ 10). Has sold more than 100M records and has earned 11 Grammy awards. 25 of her singles have been rated No1 on Billboard’s country western music charts. Through her Dollywood Foundation, she has donated over 100M books to kindergartens around the world to improve literacy.
Petty, Tom. “You Don’t Know How It Feels” Post 56 (https://youtu.be/9TlBTPITo1I) (RQ 10). Solo or with the Heartbreakers, he had hit albums from the 1970s through the 2010s and sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Pike, Wyatt. “Blame It On Me” Post 52 (https://youtu.be/2UucrGoKJpE) (RQ 8).
Ramsey, Mason (14 yrs old). “Famous” Post 37 (https://youtu.be/NukmFF__G-g) (RQ 10). In March 2018, 11-year-old Mason Ramsey, from Golconda, Illinois, was seen on camera singing “Lovesick Blues” in a Walmart store in Harrisburg, Illinois. Within a few days, videos of his performance collectively garnered over 25 million views and he became a viral sensation and internet meme. Ramsey’s performance sparked new interest in Hank Williams’ 70-year-old recording of the song and in March Rolling Stone reported that Spotify’s Viral 50 chart for the U.S. ranked Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” at number three, and number four around the globe.
Robbins, Marty. “El Paso” Post 51 (https://youtu.be/7UVVS5-9HvA) (RQ 10). An American singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, and NASCAR racing driver. Robbins was one of the most popular and successful country and western singers for most of his nearly four-decade career, which spanned from the late 1940s to the early 1980s.
Roberson, Avery. “If You’re Reading This” Post 53 (https://youtu.be/DKDV00jg-4M) (RQ 9).
Royal, Billy Joe. “Down in the Boondocks” Post 51 (https://youtu.be/v4CeR9Mkjs4) (10+).
Shepard, Jean. “Second Fiddle to an Old Guitar” Post 36 (https://youtu.be/ddvETSWrOeM) (RQ 9).
Sinatra, Nancy. “These Boots are Made for Walking” Post 36 (https://youtu.be/TDmidrIDB4o) (RQ 10). She is the elder daughter of Frank Sinatra and Nancy Sinatra, known for her 1965 signature hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin.” Between early 1966 and early 1968, Sinatra charted on Billboard’s Hot 100 with 14 titles, ten of which reached the Top 40. In addition to “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”, defining recordings during this period include “Sugar Town”, “Love Eyes”, the transatlantic 1967 number one “Somethin’ Stupid” (a duet with her father), two versions of the title song from the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967).
Skynyrd, Lynard. “Sweet Home Alabama” Post 38 (https://youtu.be/ye5BuYf8q4o) (RQ 10+). In 1969, Ronnie Van Zant sought a new name after growing tired of taunts from audiences that the band had “one percent talent.” At Burns’ suggestion, the group settled on Leonard Skinnerd, which was in part a reference to a character named “Leonard Skinner” in Allan Sherman’s novelty song “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” and in part a mocking tribute to P.E. teacher Leonard Skinner at Robert E. Lee High School. Skinner was notorious for strictly enforcing the school’s policy against boys having long hair. Rossington dropped out of school, tired of being hassled about his hair.
Smith, Connie. “Once a Day” Post 36 (https://youtu.be/D25uVgUooks) (RQ 9).
The Browns. “The Three Bells” Post 12 (https://youtu.be/UGoCXt50usk) (RQ 9).
The Dead South. “Bluegrass” Post 48 (https://youtu.be/B9FzVhw8_bY) (RQ 9).
Thompson, Hank. “The Wild Side of Life” Post 16 (https://youtu.be/3nwiwiGKGfk) (RQ 8).
Twitty, Conway. “Its Only Make Believe” Post 16 (https://youtu.be/FOpeFoKxe3c) (RQ 10). Twitty was an American singer and songwriter. Initially a part of the 1950s rockabilly scene, Twitty was best known as a country music performer. From 1971 to 1976, Twitty received a string of Country Music Association awards for duets with Loretta Lynn. He was inducted into both the Country Musicand Rockabilly Halls of Fame.
Wallace, Jerry. “If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry” Post 21 (https://youtu.be/Znwb8Gu-MlA) (RQ 8).
Watson, Gene. “The Old Man and His Horn” Post 21 (https://youtu.be/5LDyz_9ERJY) (RQ 10).
Wells, Kitty. “Making Believe” Post 36 (https://youtu.be/-sP5OuqR9pc) (RQ 10).
West, Dottie. “Here Comes My Baby” Post 36 (https://youtu.be/SgVLCjY-G58) (RQ 10+).
Wheeler, Kenzie. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” Post 53 (https://youtu.be/5bFfeiVrE_I) (RQ 9).
Whitman, Slim. “Indian Love Call” Post 36 (https://youtu.be/egUdn7skq4k) (RQ 10).
Williams, Hank. “Best Of & Cold Cold Heart” Posts 18 & 56 (https://youtu.be/DAa2C9vqnM8) (RQ 10). Regarded as one of the most significant and influential American singers and songwriters of the 20th century, he recorded 55 singles (five released posthumously) that reached the top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including 12 that reached No. 1 (three posthumously). Williams has been called “ King of Country Music” in popular culture. Alabama governor Gordon Persons officially proclaimed September 21 “Hank Williams Day”. The first celebration, in 1954, featured the unveiling of a monument at the Cramton Bowl that was later placed at the gravesite of Williams. The ceremony featured Ferlin Husky interpreting “I Saw the Light”. Williams had 11 number one country hits in his career (“Lovesick Blues”, “Long Gone Lonesome Blues”, “Why Don’t You Love Me”, “Moanin’ the Blues”, “Cold, Cold Heart”, “Hey, Good Lookin'”, “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)”, “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive”, “Kaw-Liga”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, and “Take These Chains from My Heart”), as well as many other top 10 hits.
Willis, Bob (& His Playboys). “Stay a Little Longer” Post 18 (https://youtu.be/riOJw7-MJ0w) (RC 8).
Young, Matthew Jordan. “I’m No Stranger to the Rain” Post 53 (https://youtu.be/QF4Fd8kYr50) (RQ 9).
Wynette, Tammy. “Stand By Your Man” Posts 31, 33, & 36 (https://youtu.be/f2KP9fYZUWA) (RQ 10). She is considered among the genre’s most influential and successful artists. Along with Loretta Lynn, Wynette helped bring a woman’s perspective to the male-dominated country music field that helped other women find representation in the genre. Her characteristic vocal delivery has been acclaimed by critics, journalists and writers for conveying unique emotion. Twenty of her singles topped the Billboard country chart during her career. Her signature song “Stand by Your Man” received both acclaim and criticism for its portrayal of women’s loyalty towards their husbands. Wynette has sold an estimated 30 million records worldwide. She has received two Grammy Awards, three Country Music Association awards, and two Academy of Country Music Awards. Wynette was also among country music’s first female performers to have discs certify gold and platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Her influence as a country music artist led to several inductions into music associations. This includes inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.