What makes country music sound like country music?

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  • moremore Frets: 137
    edited May 4
    American Country music is a blanket name for a large and varied genre. It varies not only in location but in time. Music from Appalachia, the hills of Kentucky.  Draws is origins from  Celtic folk music. Hillbilly was used as a derogatory term and its culture has been largely overlooked. The film Deliverance may have promoted the music a bit. But it did not do much for the image of locals. Way down south in Albuquerque  New Mexico the influence is Spanish and sounds quite different. The Texas cowboy sings with his acoustic guitar by the campfire.    The music of Tammy Wynette, who come from Itawamba  County, Mississippi, is different to Hawaii influenced music  played on lap steel guitars 
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 4265
    Hard to describe what Country Music is but listen to Don Williams, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash and the like.  Country music is almost totally about the song and each song tells a story.  The backing band remain mostly in the background.  Pedal steel is used a lot but there is little if any jamming or flashy guitar solos on a Telecaster.  That nonsense came later.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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  • koneguitaristkoneguitarist Frets: 3637
    Rocker said:
    Hard to describe what Country Music is but listen to Don Williams, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash and the like.  Country music is almost totally about the song and each song tells a story.  The backing band remain mostly in the background.  Pedal steel is used a lot but there is little if any jamming or flashy guitar solos on a Telecaster.  That nonsense came later.
    Actually the Tele flash solos came with Gram and Emmylou. Merle used Tele players Roy Nichols, James Burton and Roy Buchanan. 
    Johnny cash would not be classed as Country now. 
    Country today is described best by Steve Earle, hip hop for white people. 
    Seriously it’s so shit, yet dig a bit and you will find real modern country music that is so good. Just gotta search harder for it beneath the shit that pours out of Nashville. 
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  • koneguitaristkoneguitarist Frets: 3637
    which is the country song?
    https://youtu.be/lbZVbLw-MYA

    https://youtu.be/Mdh2p03cRfw

     The last one has the most remarkable Steel guitar solo on a Tele I have ever heard. 

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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 2637

    Actually the Tele flash solos came with Gram and Emmylou. Merle used Tele players Roy Nichols, James Burton and Roy Buchanan. 

    Jimmy Bryant?
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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 2637
    Rocker said:
    Hard to describe what Country Music is but listen to Don Williams, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash and the like.  Country music is almost totally about the song and each song tells a story.  The backing band remain mostly in the background.  Pedal steel is used a lot but there is little if any jamming or flashy guitar solos on a Telecaster.  That nonsense came later.
    No pedal steel before the mid 50's, all staight steel.
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 1302
    Dominic said:
    Well ,modern Country has become a cross between Southern Rock and Pop where Trad Country was basically a direct hotted -up version of Appalachian Bluegrass.
    I like both so I won't dissect and discriminate but I don't call Taylor Swift any form of Country.

    I hear what you are saying, but by your Taylor Swift logic you wouldn’t call Genesis any form of Prog because they played pop music for their latter decade.  She very much is country in her early albums, Fearless is very much so.

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  • AK99AK99 Frets: 422
    According to his Greatness, TV essayist Johnathan Meades, Country music is essentially any ditty that attempts to engage the listener with some loosely rhyming, and never ending blue-collar misery.
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 9506
    sev112 said:
    Dominic said:
    Well ,modern Country has become a cross between Southern Rock and Pop where Trad Country was basically a direct hotted -up version of Appalachian Bluegrass.
    I like both so I won't dissect and discriminate but I don't call Taylor Swift any form of Country.

    I hear what you are saying, but by your Taylor Swift logic you wouldn’t call Genesis any form of Prog because they played pop music for their latter decade.  She very much is country in her early albums, Fearless is very much so.

    You're right she did start very country .........but she took a wrong turn ...........as did Genesis
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 1302
    :)
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  • mendymendy Frets: 171
    edited August 14
    B)
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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 4820
    Dunno, I'm more of a Western guy to be honest.
    Hey, Joe!
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 8864
    "Steel guitars usually weep all over it."
    Be seeing you.
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  • markriglermarkrigler Frets: 7
    And what's western? As in Country and Western
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  • guitarjack66guitarjack66 Frets: 169
    And what's western? As in Country and Western
    Maybe due to its roots lying in the Western USA as opposed to Nashville and the South,which are considered the home of Country music?
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  • koneguitaristkoneguitarist Frets: 3637
    jpfamps said:

    Actually the Tele flash solos came with Gram and Emmylou. Merle used Tele players Roy Nichols, James Burton and Roy Buchanan. 

    Jimmy Bryant?
    Didn’t think anyone would really know Jimmy and Speedy, and they were classed more as side men and virtuosos and not strictly country with jazz and all sorts thrown in. But Jimmy certainly was a big influence on Albert Lee, Ray Flacke and the rest.
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  • SkippedSkipped Frets: 2343
    It is a great question OP.  I don't think  we can conclusively answer it. We can only chew it over. (Many of the replies on this thead are compelling and persuasive).

    I am listening to Trisha Yearwood's magnificent first album as I write this.
    Jesus....that was a long time ago. (That isn't a song title BTW).

    I still cannot answer the OP's question but I think the following might be a clue.
    Accent.

    I can just sense that Trisha is not from Rotherham.

    I don't like this line of argument and I want British acts to succeed. But I just feel that Country Music is American Music....and that is not exactly controversial is it?



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  • KeefyKeefy Frets: 1153
    Skipped said:
    ...

    I can just sense that Trisha is not from Rotherham.

    ...


    Well spotted, Trisha Yearwood is in fact from Barnsley.
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  • JohnS37JohnS37 Frets: 224
    slacker said:
    The answer is Telecaster. What's The question?
    Nah.  Pedal steel.
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  • TeyeplayerTeyeplayer Frets: 1777
    JohnS37 said:
    Nah.  Pedal steel.
    Pedal steel appears on more records than people realise, it’s ability to fill the sound and create broad soundscapes had taken it out of the realms of purely country music. Look at the list of credits on B.J. Cole’s CV -plenty of pop/rock/indie. It’s a producers secret weapon. 
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