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Blues vs. Country Music


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Blues vs Country music

According to Etta James in an interview with American Chronicle: "The Blues and country are first cousins ... What I look for in a song is for the story to be for real. I like a blood and guts kind of thing. That's what you find in the lyrics of country music." Blues and country music both developed in the 19th century in the Southern United States. They share a similar history. For this reason, they share many of the same musical and lyrical characteristics.

Read more: How to Compare Blues & Country Music | 1. * 1
Learn the history behind blues and country music. They are both forms of American folk music influenced by earlier styles brought overseas. Blues music grew out of field hollers and chants sung by African slaves. Irish and Scottish balladeers borrowed the guitar and banjo of blues and thus created "country". According to Reebee Garofalo in "Rockin' Out: Popular Music in the USA", "Terms like country and blues are only used to separate the same kind of music made by blacks and whites ... designations like race and hillbilly intentionally separated artists along racial lines and conveyed the impression that their music came from mutually exclusive sources." Country is an offshoot of blues. They are essentially the same thing. In the PBS special, "Rhythm, Country and Blues," country is referred to as "white man's blues." * 2
Listen to the instrumentation in country and blues songs. They share many of the same instruments. These include guitar, bass, piano and drums, among others. Traditional country music differed from blues in that it utilized instruments such as the pedal steel guitar and fiddle. Modern country doesn't necessarily include these instruments, sounding closer to rock music, an offshoot of blues. * * 3
Listen to the similarities in lyrical content in blues and country music. Both genres tend to express raw emotion like heartache and frustration. Freed slaves and immigrants both had to deal with economic and civil hardship, and channeled their strife into song for solace. Listen to Muddy Waters' "Trouble in Mind" and Hank Williams' "Cold Cold Heart." Both songs express pain over a lover. Waters sings "I'm going down to the river/Oh you know I'm gonna sit right down right down there, on the ground/ You know if I get to thinkin' about my baby, I wanna jump overboard and drown." Williams expresses similar heartache and frustration over his object of affection, singing "The more I learn to care for you, the more we drift apart/Why can't I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart." Listen to current blues and country music. They continue to express the emotions felt by real people.

Read more: How to Compare Blues & Country Music |

What are the differences(content wise) between country music and blues music?
July 15, 2011 by DaleR
Filed under: Country Blues
What are the differences, as far as lyrical content, in the way emotions are expressed. e.g both can express downheartedness but in what way do both genres differ in how they are conveyed.

Musically, country tunes are built a lot of times on four chords, whereas basic blues songsuse three. Often times in blues and country, you are dealing personality and physical characteristics of a female, or male. Then it depends on how the song goes. so blues and country are both kinds of folk music, as is most world music.
Blues is the central part of the African American musical tradition and as such is the foundation for rock, R&B, etc. The blues have distinctive chord progressions and half-tones that make it different from traditions like European classical music. See specifics here:
Lyrics are usually ballads of lamentation or longing (thus ‘the blues’).
Blues and country in their early development had much interaction since both developed at similar times in the American South. Although there was much segregation, there was enough interaction between communities – especially in working class jobs — to make the traditions closely related in the early Twentieth Century at least. Country has also historically had more influence from English, Irish, and Scottish ballads brought over by immigrants to America.
Today, they have branched apart, with country melding much more with pop.
There is still an emphasis in country on vocal performance and still a little "twang." But honestly, what makes a Taylor Swift song a country song and not a pop song has more to do with marketing than musicology.
Folk: technically, any traditional music of a community may be considered folk music (the musical equivalent of folklore), so blues and country are both kinds of folk music, as is most world music. But at the music store, what they call folk is just singer-songwriter acoustic music usually inspired by the "folk" revival of the 1960′s and 70′s.

Knowing the Difference Between Country Music and Blues
Many people just listen to music and like what they hear but are not able to tell whether they like pop, rock, country, or any other genre of music because of their lack of knowledge. But most people often confuse blues with country. Though these two genres are pretty much like cousins there are a few differences between the two. The lyrics you find in country music are what really set it apart from all other types of music. The words being sung out from the gut and blood of a person are what make a song truly country. The heart pouring lyrics in which the singer is telling his or her story along with the particular guitar music is the soul of country music. Both country and blues are sub genres that developed in the 1900’s and originate from Southern United States. The both have quite a similar history and due to this reason both genres have quite similar characteristics when you compare their lyrics and music.
Country and blues are both genres of music that can fall into the category of American folk music. These styles of music have received great influence from several other music styles found overseas. African slaves used to chant songs and holler in fields something quite similar to what you can notice in blues. When you mix the musical instruments that the Scottish and Irish balladeers used a lot like the banjo and guitar of blues you get what becomes country music. Often people say that the terms country and blues are words used to separately define the same thing but with the only difference of the white singing country and the black singing country which has been given the name of blues. These designations along with famous hillbilly terms have drawn a thick line for artists separating them based on their ethnicity or race. This is why they say that blues and country is pretty much the same thing and when a white person is singing blues it just gets the name of country or rhythm.
To analyze the main differences between blues and country you need to carefully listen to the instruments being played in a song. You will notice that both genres are often playing the same kind of instruments for example the bass, piano, drums, and guitar are some of the basic instruments you will find being played in both categories of music. When country music first came out there was quite a noticeable difference from blues because it used a lot of new instruments like fiddle and pedal steel guitar. But over the years, country music has been refined a lot and now you can find it getting much closer to rock music too with a lot of drums being played in it and plenty of off shoot of blues too. Finally you will notice that both blues and country have very raw lyrics that talk about a story and express a lot of emotions like frustration, anger, or heartache.
Blues music. Along with it's Jazz counterpart, is the only true American music form. Blues has it's deepest roots in the work songs of the West African slaves in the South. During their back-breaking work in the fields of the Southern plantation owners, black slaves developed a "call and response" way of singing to give rhythm to the drudgery of their servitude. These "field hollers" served as a basis of all blues music that was to follow.
Following the end of the Civil war, black men had few options other than back-breaking manual field labor or becoming a traveling minstrel. Many chose the occupation of traveling minstrel playing raucous, all-night country dances, fish-frys, and jukejoints. These musicians relied on their physical stamina and mental repertoire of many blues songs. Although the lyrics of many blues songs are soulful and melancholy, the music as a whole is a powerful, emotive and rhythmic music celebrating the life of black Americans. The lyrics of the songs reflected daily themes of their lives including: sex, drinking, railroads, jail, murder, poverty, hard labor and love lost.
Although it is difficult to pin down, one of the first documented blues to be written is W.C. Handy's "Memphis Blues" written in 1909. The popularity of country blues grew among Southern black folks during the teens and 1920's. During the late 1920's, with the advent of the 78 RPM phonograph, some of the more popular country blues artists were recorded by Paramount , Aristocrat and other record labels. During 1941-1943 the famous blues folkloristAlan Lomax made field recordings of bluesmen in their surroundings. This important body of work served to expose white folks to the blues, as well as give the fledgling artists exposure to national, yet segregated record labels.
During the Great depression, blacks migrated north along the route of the Illinois Central Railroad toward Chicago. They brought with them blues music, and soon the sound of it filled rowdy urban nightclubs. To compensate for the loud crowds and bigger venues, some of the more inventive performers such as Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, made the switch to electric guitars and added drum sets to their bands.
This new electric Chicago blues was more powerful than its predecessor.
Blues fell somewhat out of popular favor until the late 1950's. In 1958 The Kingston Trio recorded the number 1 hit, Tom Dooley ,and gave birth to the folk revival. For seven years, from 1959-1966, the Newport Folk Festival reintroduced folk and blues music to a mainstream white American audience.
After this time, blues was increasingly merged with rock music to form the rock blues bands of the 1960's and 70's. The Rolling Stones, John Mayall, Led Zeppelin and others carried on the noble tradition of their forefathers, the blues minstrels.
Country music is rooted in the folk traditions of the British Isles. In the new world, those roots became entangled with the ethnic musics of other immigrants and African slaves. Many gospel hymns were also popularized in the nineteenth century South, while tent shows and blackface minstrelsy introduced folk-sounding tunes written by northern professionals. Played on fiddles or homemade banjos, all this music would one day sound as if born in the Southern hills.

Beginning in the 1920s, the first country records and radio programs brought the music out of the rural heartland and into homes across America. Radio shows made national stars of many performers. The early records, covering a broad range of musical styles, told of train wrecks and shipwrecks, and of nostalgia for "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane."
By the 1930s, as America struggled with the twin horrors of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, the dream of the Wild West and the freedom it symbolized provided escape. Western imagery dominated country music, and as World War II approached, the singing cowboy appeared to stand for all that was fair and just.
Country musicians first performed on radio in 1922. The following year, station WBAP in Fort Worth, Texas, debuted what's believed to have been the first country music radio "barn dance" - an ensemble variety show that had the feel of a family gathering and was aimed at rural audiences. Eager to exploit radio's advertising power, stations in Chicago (WLS), Nashville (WSM), and elsewhere soon followed suit. The early radio barn dances provided a living for country entertainers throughout the nation while becoming a vital part of listeners' lives. As a distant fan of WLW-Cincinnati's Monday Night in Renfro Valley put it, "You make . . . your folks of Renfro Valley so real to us that we may be coming to Kentucky just to get back to happiness and contentment."
To widen the troubled market for records during the early 1920s, the industry began seeking talent in country, blues, ethnic, and other folk-based idioms. The major companies in the North recorded Southern fiddlers and stringbands prolifically, though the company chiefs couldn't always fathom the "hillbilly" music they were promoting. One famous executive, Ralph Peer, described as "pluperfect awful" a 1923 Fiddlin' John Carson recording that turned out to be his company's first country hit. Carson and others proved that country music could sell, and by 1930, two of the most influential country acts of all time, Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, had become major stars.
Country music in the 1920s and 1930s allowed for much innovation and stylistic diversity. While the principal sound remained that of the raw, fiddle-driven stringband, brilliant musicians such as fiddler Clayton McMichen found room within that sound for all manner of personal expression. As microphone technology improved, the harmony of country's brother duets became a force on radio and records, while in the Southwest, a cadre of visionary fiddle-band veterans drew inspiration from jazz and blues, and invented western swing.
Many country performers bridled at the word "hillbilly," considering it loaded with negative cultural stereotypes. By contrast, "cowboy" implied romance, bravery, and the self-sufficiency of life on the open range. By the mid-1930s, Western fringe and cowboy hats had become part of many singers' wardrobes - including pop stars' - especially after Gene Autry and other Hollywood singing cowboys began to tackle the world's ills in their fantasy version of the West. As Autry wrote of one of his typical movies, "While my solutions were a little less complex than those offered by FDR . . . I played a kind of New Deal cowboy who never hesitated to tackle many of the same problems." - Adapted from Sing Me Back Home: A Journey through Country Music, the permanent exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum.

Blue notes are notes played at a lower pitch, (usually a semitone or less), than those of the major scale. It is from these blue notes that The Blues derives it name, and from the sound created by these “blue” notes which invoke a feeling of sadness or depression. The characteristics of The Blues is somewhat hard to define due to the fact that, as with all forms of music, the individual expression varies from performer to performer and from region to region, the common factor though, remains the use of the blue notes. It began in African-American communities and gestated as a progressive fusion of spirituals, work songs, chants, and spoken ballads. The blues above all other forms of music had the greatest influence on all later genres of music from rhythm & blues, to jazz, to rock & roll, and on, and on, influencing nearly every form of musical expression being performed today. Blues is in constant change as performers add their personal touch to the genre. This change can be easily seen when comparing the styles of Eddie "Son" House, Robert Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, etc to the modern day sounds of BB King, Eric Clapton, Tinsley Ellis, and of course the late, great, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and many others. The earlier forms of blues were heard in slave field shouts and hollers, evolving into simple songs with emotional content. The blues can be roughly defined as a musical style based on both European harmonies and these African call and response field shouts, which evolved into a vocal and instrumental union. Blues usually takes the musical form of a twelve, eight, or sixteen bar structure based on tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords with 12 bar being the most common and readily recognizable structure. Written and verbal history documents 12 bar blues as appearing very early in African American culture throughout Mississippi, Tennessee, and New Orleans. Early blues was frequently a loosely formulated narrative of personal loss, hard times, oppression, love gone wrong, basically the harsh end of the reality spectrum. The sound was a gritty essay on the reality of early African American life at a time in history when slavery was still practiced, though occasional trips into the human comedy of life did appear. The subject of the songs, being primarily about the side of life no one talked about, (sex, drugs, hard luck and hard times), coupled with the venue, (juke joints), in which they were played, gave blues the unsavory reputation that was frequently canon fodder for many a preacher of the time.
(More History Here)
Country & Western Country and Western is an American music style that originated in the Southeast as country, and the Southwest and West as western. The styles merged in the ‘20s when recording studios began to proliferate, and they solidified the union during the war years, (that’s WW2) when proponents of each style mingled during this period, either through military service or travel. The primary difference is that country music is simpler and relies on fewer instruments, guitar; fiddle, banjo, and harmonica, while the western style leans toward steel guitars and a big band sound bordering on swing.. Bluegrass, a more distinctive sound, is country and western music with more emphasis on the banjo, mandolin, and fiddle. Country and western music is, lyrically speaking, similar in content to blues as it tends to cover hardship, lost love, poverty, etc. The music is heavily influenced by a melting pot of nationalities due to the heavy immigration of the time. Throughout the period, immigrants arrived from Europe, Ireland, The United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Italy and, mixing with the Spanish, Mexican, Native American influenced the genre. When the Great Depression hit the recording industry declined, for obvious reasons, and radio became the most popular form of media. Country and western music proliferated in this venue, as radio shows featuring the music spread to the northern states and out to the west coast greatly increasing the C&W fan base. Movies, (and later TV), featuring the “Singing Cowboys” further increased this popularity. Country musicians began fusing their sound with elements of the Blues, Bluegrass, Jazz, and the new kid on the block, Rock and Roll, creating Western Swing, Country Blues, Rockabilly, and the more “raw” stripped down basic sound of Honky Tonk. Yodeling also reared its ugly head, (personal opinion), and would make an appearance from time to time, probably due to the European immigrant influence, or an attempt to experiment with a newer sound. The Nashville era, with its own unique sound, ushered country music into a multimillion dollar business, and brought country music to a much more diverse audience. Nashville remains today as the major center of the C&W scene as country continues its evolution with the current Country Rock/Blues sound.
( More History Here )
History of Country Country music is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. It has roots in traditional folk music, Celtic music, gospel music, and old-time music and evolved rapidly in the 1920s. The term country music began to be used in the 1940s when the earlier term hillbilly music was deemed to be degrading, and the term was widely embraced in the 1970s, while country and Western has declined in use since that time, except in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where it is still commonly used in the United States. In the Southwestern United States a different mix of ethnic groups created the music that became the Western music of the term country and Western. Country music has produced two of the top selling solo artists of all time. Elvis Presley, who was known early on as “The Hillbilly Cat” and was a regular on the radio program Louisiana Hayride, went on to become a defining figure in the emerging genre of rock 'n roll. Contemporary musician Garth Brooks, with 128 million albums sold, is the top-selling solo artist in U.S. history. While album sales of most musical genres have declined, country music experienced one of its best years in 2006, when, during the first six months of the year, U.S. sales of country albums increased by 17.7 percent to 36 million. Moreover, country music listening nationwide has remained steady for almost a decade, reaching 77.3 million adults every week according to the radio-ratings agency Arbitron Inc. Immigrants to the Southern Appalachian Mountains of North America brought the music and instruments of the Old World along with them for nearly 300 years. The Irish fiddle, the German derived dulcimer, the Italian mandolin, the Spanish guitar, and the African banjo were the most common musical instruments. The interactions among musicians from different ethnic groups produced music unique to this region of North America. Appalachian string bands of the early twentieth century primarily consisted of the fiddle, guitar, and banjo. This early country music along with early recorded country music is often referred to as Old-time music. Throughout the nineteenth century, several immigrant groups from Europe, most notably from Ireland, The United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Italy moved to Texas. These groups interacted with the Spanish, Mexican, Native American, and U.S. communities that were already established in Texas. As a result of this cohabitation and extended contact, Texas has developed unique cultural traits that are rooted in the culture of all of its founding communities. The settlers from the areas now known as Germany and the Czech Republic established large dance halls in Texas where farmers and townspeople from neighboring communities could gather, dance, and spend a night enjoying each other’s company. The music at these halls, brought from Europe, included the waltz and the polka, played on an accordion, an instrument invented in Italy, which was loud enough to fill the entire dance hall.

The first commercial recording of what can be considered country music was "Sallie Gooden" by fiddlist A.C. (Eck) Robertson in 1922 for Victor Records. Columbia Records began issuing records with "hillbilly" music as early as 1924. A year earlier on June 14, 1923 Fiddlin' John Carson recorded "Little Log Cabin in the Lane" for Okeh Records. Vernon Dalhart was the first country singer to have a nationwide hit in May of 1924 with "Wreck of the Old '97". The flip side of this record was "The Prisoner's Song", which also became very popular. Many "hillbilly" musicians recorded blues songs throughout the decade. Other important early recording artists were Riley Puckett, Don Richardson, Fiddlin' John Carson, Al Hopkins, Ernest V. Stoneman, Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers and The Skillet Lickers. The steel guitar entered country music as early as 1922, when Jimmie Tarlton met famed Hawaiian guitarist Frank Ferera on the West Coast. Eck Robertson - Sally Gooden Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family are widely considered to be important early country musicians. Their songs were first captured at a historic recording session in Bristol on August 1, 1927, where Ralph Peer was the talent scout and sound recordist. Rodgers fused hillbilly country, gospel, jazz, blues, pop, cowboy, and folk; and many of his best songs were his compositions, including “Blue Yodel” , which sold over a million records and established Rodgers as the premier singer of early country music. Beginning in 1927, and for the next 17 years the Carters recorded some 300 old-time ballads, traditional tunes, country songs, and Gospel hymns, all representative of America's southeastern folklore and heritage. One effect of the Great Depression was to reduce the number of records that could be sold. Radio, and broadcasting, became a popular source of entertainment, and "barn dance" shows featuring country music were started all over the South, as far north as Chicago, and as far west as California. One of the most important of these shows was the Grand Ole Opry from 650 WSM in Nashville, TN. Some of the early stars on the Opry were Uncle Dave Macon, Roy Acuff, and African American harmonica player DeFord Bailey. WSM's 50,000 watt signal (1934) could often be heard across the country. During the 1930s and 1940s Cowboy songs, or "Western music", which had been recorded since the 1920s, were popularized by films made in Hollywood. Some of the popular singing cowboys from the era were Gene Autry, the Sons of the Pioneers, and Roy Rogers. Roy Rogers - Don't Fence Me In Another "country" musician from the Lower Great Plains who had become very popular as the leader of a “hot string band”, and who also appeared in Hollywood Westerns, was Bob Wills. His mix of "country" and jazz, which started out as dance hall music, would become known as Western Swing. Spade Cooley and Tex Williams also had very popular bands and appeared in films. At the height of its popularity, Western Swing rivaled the popularity of other big band jazz. Country musicians began recording boogie in 1939, shortly after it had been played at Carnegie Hall, when Johnny Barfield recorded "Boogie Woogie". The trickle of what was initially called Hillbilly Boogie, or Okie Boogie (later to be renamed Country Boogie), became a flood beginning around late 1945. One notable country boogie from this period was the Delmore Brothers' "Freight Train Boogie", considered to be part of the combined evolution of country music and blues towards rockabilly. In 1948 Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith achieved Top 10 US country chart success with his MGM Records recordings of "Guitar Boogie" and "Banjo Boogie", with the former crossing over to the US pop charts. Other country boogie artists include Merrill Moore, and Tennessee Ernie Ford. The Hillbilly Boogie period lasted into the 1950s, and remains as one of many sub-genres of country into the twenty first century. By the end of World War II "mountaineer" string band music known as Bluegrass had emerged when Bill Monroe joined with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, led by Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Gospel music, too, remained a popular component of country music. Another type of stripped down and raw music with a variety of moods and a basic ensemble of guitar, bass, dobro or steel guitar (and later) drums became popular, especially among poor white southerners. It became known as Honky Tonk and had its roots in Texas. This music has been described as "a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, a little bit of black and a little bit of white...just loud enough to keep you from thinking too much and to go right on ordering the whiskey". East Texan Al Dexter had a hit with "Honky Tonk Blues", and seven years later "Pistol Packin' Mama". These "honky tonk" songs associated barrooms, were performed by the likes of Ernest Tubb, Ted Daffin, Floyd Tillman, and the Maddox Brothers and Rose, and Hank Williams, would later be called "traditional" country. In this post World War II period "country" music was called "folk" in the trades, and "hillbilly" within the industry. In 1944 Billboard replace the term "hillbilly" with "folk songs and blues", and switched to "country" or "country and western" in 1949. Maddox Bros. & Rose - Mean & Wicked Boogie Many musicians performed and recorded songs in any number of styles. Moon Mullican played Western Swing, but also recorded songs that can be called rockabilly. Bill Haley sang cowboy songs, and was at one time a cowboy yodeler. Haley became most famous as an early player of rock n roll. Lefty Frizzell played in honky tonks adapting Jimmie Rodgers-stylings to this environment, thus creating a sound that was very much his own. Between 1947 and 1949, country crooner Eddy Arnold placed a total of 8 songs in the top 10. Beginning in the mid 1950s, and reaching its peak during the early 1960s, the "Nashville Sound" turned country music into a multimillion-dollar industry centered on Nashville, Tennessee. Under the direction of producers such as Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley, and later Billy Sherrill, the "Nashville sound" brought country music to a diverse audience and helped revive country as it emerged from a commercially fallow period. This sound was notable for borrowing from 1950s pop stylings: a prominent and "smooth" vocal, backed by a string section and vocal chorus. Instrumental soloing was de-emphasized in favor of trademark "licks". Leading artists in this genre included Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, and later Tammy Wynette and Charlie Rich. The "slip note" piano style of session musicianFloyd Cramer was an important component of this style. 1956 could be called the year of rockabilly in country music. The number 2, 3, and 4 songs on Billboard's charts for that year are: Elvis Presley "Heartbreak Hotel", Johnny Cash "I Walk the Line", and Carl Perkins "Blue Suede Shoes". Cash and Presley would place songs in the top 5 in 1958 with #3 "Guess Things Happen That Way/Come In, Stranger" by Cash, and #5 by Presley "Don't/I Beg Of You". Presley acknowledged the influence of rhythm and blues artists and his style, "The colored folk been singin' and playin' it just the way I'm doin' it now, man for more years than I know." But he also said, "My stuff is just hopped-up country." What is now most commonly referred to as Rockabilly was most popular with country music fans in the 1950s, and was recorded and performed by country musicians. Within a few years many rockabilly musicians returned to a more mainstream style, or had defined their own unique style. Country music gained widespread television exposure through the Ozark Jubilee, a live ABC-TV (and radio) network program broadcast from 1955–1960 from Springfield, Missouri. The program showcased a Who's Who of country music, including many rockabilly artists. By the end of the decade, backlash as well as traditional artists such as Ray Price, Marty Robbins, and Johnny Horton began to shift the industry away from the Rock n' Roll influences of the mid-50's. Located 112 miles (180 km) north north west of Los Angeles, Bakersfield, California gave rise to one of the next genres of country music. This sound grew out of hardcore honky tonk with elements of Western swing, and was influenced by one time West Coast residents Bob Wills and Lefty Frizzell. By 1966 it was known as the Bakersfield Sound. The Bakersfield Sound relied on electric instruments and amplification, in particular the Telecaster electric guitar, more than other sub-genres of country of the era, and can be described as having a sharp, hard, driving, no-frills, edgy flavor. Leading practitioners of this style were Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Tommy Collins, and Wynn Stewart, each of whom had his own style. Drums were scorned by early country musicians as being "too loud" and "not pure", but by 1935 Western Swing big band leader Bob Wills had added drums to the Texas Playboys. In the mid 1940s, The Grand Ole Opry did not want the Playboys’ drummer to appear on stage. Although drums were commonly used by rockabilly groups by 1955, the 'less-conservative-than-the-Grand Ole Opry', Louisiana Hayride kept their infrequently-used drummer back stage as late as 1956. By the early 1960s, however, it was rare that a country band didn't have a drummer. Bob Wills was one of the first country musicians known to have added an electric guitar to his band, in 1938.. A decade later (1948) Arthur Smith achieved Top 10 US country chart success with his MGM Records recording of "Guitar Boogie", which crossed over to the US pop chart, introducing many people to the potential of the electric guitar. For several decades Nashville session players preferred the warm tones of the Gibson and Gretsch archtop electrics, but a "hot" Fender style, utilizing guitars which became available beginning in the early 1950s, eventually prevailed as the signature guitar sound of country. In 1962 Ray Charles surprised the pop world by turning his attention to country & western music, topping the charts and rating # 3 for the year on BillBoard’s pop chart with the "I Can't Stop Loving You" single, and recording the hugely popular album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Derived from the traditional and honky tonk sounds of the late 50's and 60's, including Ray Price (whose band, the"Cherokee Cowboys", included Willie Nelson and Roger Miller) and mixed with the anger of an alienated subculture of the nation during the period, outlaw country revolutionized the genre of Country music. "After I left Nashville (the early 70s), I wanted to relax and play the music that I wanted to play, and just stay around Texas, maybe Oklahoma. Waylon and I had that outlaw image going, and when it caught on at colleges and we started selling records, we were O. K.. The whole outlaw thing, it had nothing to do with the music, it was something that got written in an article, and the young people said, 'Well, that's pretty cool.' And started listening." (Willie Nelson) The term "Outlaw Country" is traditionally associated with David Allan Coe, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Billy Joe Shaver, and was encapsulated in the 1976 record Wanted! The Outlaws. The late 1960s in American music produced a unique blend as a result of traditionalist backlash within separate genres. In the aftermath of the British Invasion, many desired a return to the "old values" of Rock n' Roll. At the same time there was a lack of enthusiasm in the Country sector for Nashville-produced music. What resulted was a crossbred genre known as Country rock. Early innovators in this new style of music in the 60s and 70s included Rock n' Roll icon band The Byrds (beginning while Gram Parsons was a member) and its spin-off The Flying Burrito Brothers, guitarist Clarence White, Michael Nesmith & The First National Band, Commander Cody, Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, Poco, Buffalo Springfield, and The Eagles among many. EvenThe Rolling Stones got into the act with songs like "Honky Tonk Women" which resulted in many others recording country rock type songs including Neil Young and the Grateful Dead. Subsequent to the initial blending of the two polar opposite genres, other offspring soon resulted, including Southern rock, Heartland Rock and in more recent years Alternative country. In the decades that followed, artists such as Juice Newton, Alabama, Hank Williams, Jr., Keith Urban, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Dolly Parton, Rosanne Cash and Linda Ronstadt moved country further towards rock influence. Australian Country music developed not as Nashville did. Focusing its feel on lyrics, Australian Country Music developed it own unique style, mirrored by such artists as Lee Kernaghan, Slim Dusty, Keith Urban and Adam Brand.

Country Pop or soft pop, with roots in both the country-politan sound and in soft rock, is a sub-genre of country music that first emerged in the 1970s. Although the term first referred to country music songs and artists that crossed over to top 40 radio, country pop acts are now more likely to cross over to adult contemporary. Country pop found its first widespread acceptance during the 1970s. It started with Pop music singers, like The Bellamy Brothers, Glen Campbell, John Denver, The Eagles, Olivia Newton-John, Marie Osmond, B.J. Thomas and Anne Murray having hits on the Country charts. Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" was among one of the biggest crossover hits in Country music history. These Pop-oriented singers thought that they could gain higher record sales and a larger audience if they crossed over into the Country world. Grateful Dead - Ramblin Rose, Boston '72 In 1974 Olivia Newton-John, an Australian pop singer, won the "Best Female Country Vocal Performance" as well as the Country Music Association's most coveted award for females, "Female Vocalist of the Year". In the same year, a group of artists, troubled by this trend, formed the short-lived Association of Country Entertainers. The debate raged into 1975, and reached its apex at that year's Country Music Association Awards when reigning Entertainer of the Year, Charlie Rich (who himself had a series of crossover hits), presented the award to his successor, John Denver. As he read Denver's name, Rich set fire to the envelope with a cigarette lighter. The action was taken as a protest against the increasing pop style in country music. In 1980 a style of "neo-country disco music" was popularized by the film Urban Cowboy, which also included more traditional songs such as "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band. Sales in record stores rocketed to $250 million in 1981; by 1984, 900 radio stations began programming country or neo-country pop full time. As with most sudden trends, however, by 1984 sales had dropped below 1979 figures. It was during these few years that "country artists" saw their records perform well on the pop charts. Willie Nelson and Juice Newton each had two songs in the Billboard Top 5 in the early eighties: Nelson charted "Always On My Mind" (#5, 1982) and "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" (#5, 1984), and Newton achieved success with "Queen of Hearts" (#2, 1981) and "Angel of the Morning" (#4, 1981). Four country songs topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the 1980s: "Lady" by Kenny Rogers, which was the #3 song for the entire year in 1981, "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton, "I Love a Rainy Night" by Eddie Rabbitt (these two back to back at the Top in 1981), and "Islands in the Stream", a duet by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers in 1983, a pop-country crossover hit written by Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, of the Bee Gees. Newton's "Queen of Hearts" almost reached #1, but was kept out of the spot by the pop ballad juggernaut "Endless Love" by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. Meanwhile, several rock and pop stars have ventured a little into country music. In 2000, Richard Marx made a brief cross-over with his Days In Avalon album, which features five country songs and several singers and musicians. Alison Krauss sang background vocals to Marx's single Straight From My Heart. Also, Bon Jovi had a hit single, Who Says You Can't Go Home, with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. Other rock stars who featured a county song on their albums were Don Henley and Poison. In the mid 1990s country western music was influenced by the popularity of line dancing. This influence was so great that Chet Atkins was quoted as saying "The music has gotten pretty bad, I think. It's all that damn line dancing." By the end of the decade, however, at least one line dance choreographer complained that good country line dance music was no longer being released. There are at least four U.S. cable networks at least partly devoted to the genre: CMT (owned by Viacom), CMT Pure Country (also owned by Viacom), Rural Free Delivery TV (owned by Rural Media Group) and GAC (owned by The E. W. Scripps Company). The original American country music video cable channel was TNN (The Nashville Network). The channel was launched in the early 1980s. In 2000, the channel was renamed and reformatted to TNN (The National Network), which was a general-interest network to compete with USA Network, TNT, and Superstations, such as TBS and WGN. Subsequently, The National Network became Spike TV, the first network for men. Outside of the US, Canada has the largest country music fan and artist base. Canadian country music originated in Atlantic Canada in the form of Celtic folk music popular amongst Irish and Scottish immigrants to Canada's Maritime Provinces. Despite this however, many traditional country artists are present in Eastern and Western Canada and make common use of fiddle and pedal steel guitar styles. Some notable Canadian country artists include: Shania Twain, Adam Gregory, Blue Rodeo, Hank Snow, Paul Brandt, Lisa Brokop, Wilf Carter, Michelle Wright, The Wilkinsons, Emerson Drive, Stompin' Tom Connors, The Road Hammers, Corb Lund, Charlie Major, Doc Walker, George Canyon, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Brad Johner, Jessie Farrell, Jason Blaine, Crystal Shawanda,Johnny Reid, Aaron Pritchett, Tara Oram and Anne Murray. Country music in Australia has always been popular, especially given the rural nature of the country. Starting in the 1800s with bush balladeers writing songs of their tales of the bush, as well as songs of protest against the tyranny of the government. In the 1940s the legendary Slim Dusty embarked on a country music career that spanned over fifty years and over 100 albums. Smoky Dawson was also a country music pioneer in Australia, modeling himself very much in the traditional cowboy style, even starring in his own comic books and radio serials. In more recent years, names like Keith Urban,Sherrie Austin, Lee Kernaghan, Adam Harvey, Brendon Walmsley, Tania Kernaghan, Beccy Cole, Adam Brand, The Fictitious Smurf, Gina Jeffreys, Dan Brodie & the Broken Arrows, James Blundell, Graeme Conners, Troy Cassar Daley, Captain Flange and Kasey Chambers have been keeping the tradition of country music alive, whilst also paving the way for new names in the industry, including Catherine Britt, The McClymonts, Jonah's Road, Jenny Queen, Morgan Evans, Aleyce Simmonds, Jedd Hughes, Amber Lawrence, Luke O'Shea & Medicine Wheel, Sinead Burgess, Matt Scullion, Shea Fisher, The Flood, Kristy Cox, Travis Collins, Carter & Carter, Talia Whitman and "Captain Goodtimes" Steve Forde. Country HQ showcases new talent on the rise in the country music scene down-under. Grabine State Park in New South Wales promotes Australian country music through the Grabine Music Muster Festival. Australia has one leading 24 hour music channel dedicated to Non-Stop country music in Australia. CMC (the Country Music Channel) can be viewed on Foxtel and Austar and features once a year the Golden Guitar Awards, CMAs and CCMAs alongside International shows such as The Wilkinsons, The Road Hammers, Country Music Across America, Rollin' With, and Tuckerville. Tom Roland, from the Country Music Association International, explains Country Music’s global popularity: “In this respect, at least, Country Music listeners around the globe have something in common with those in the United States. In Germany, for instance, Rohrbach identifies three general groups that gravitate to the genre: people intrigued with the American cowboy icon, middle-aged fans who seek an alternative to harder rock music and younger listeners drawn to the pop-influenced sound that underscores many current Country hits.” One of the first Americans to perform country music abroad was George Hamilton IV. He was the first country musician to perform in the Soviet Union; he also toured in Australia and the Middle East. He was deemed the "International Ambassador of Country Music" for his contributions to the globalization of country music. Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Keith Urban, and Dwight Yoakam have also made numerous international tours. The Country Music Association undertakes various initiatives to promote country music internationally. In South America, on the last weekend of September, the yearly "San Pedro Country Music Festival" takes places in the town of San Pedro, Argentina. The festival features bands from different places of Argentina, as well as international artist from Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Peru and the United States.
History Of The Blues There are few characteristics common to all blues, because the origin of the blues takes its shape and it's evolution from the idiosyncrasies of individual performances. However, there are some characteristics that were present long before the creation of the modern blues. An early blues-like music was call-and-response shouts, which was a "functional expression... style without accompaniment or harmony and unbounded by the formality of any particular musical structure." A form of this pre-blues was heard in slave field shouts and hollers, expanded into "simple solo songs laden with emotional content". The blues, as it is now known, can be seen as a musical style based on both European harmonic structure and the African call-and-response tradition, transformed into an interplay of voice and guitar. Blues has several sub-genres, mostly based on the regions that the music originates from and the variations in style that eminate from those regions. (Boogie woogie, British blues, Chicago blues, Country blues, Delta blues, Detroit blues, Electric blues, Jump blues, Louisiana blues, Memphis blues, New Orleans blues, New York blues, Piedmont blues , St. Louis blues , Swamp blues, Talking blues, Texas blues, West Coast blues)

Robert Johnson, an influential
Delta blues musician Many blues elements, such as the call-and-response format and the use of blue notes, can be traced back to the music of Africa. The Diddley bow, a homemade one-stringed instrument found in parts of the American South in the early twentieth century, and the banjo are African-derived instruments that may have helped in the transfer of African performance techniques into the early blues instrumental vocabulary. Blues music later adopted elements from the "Ethiopian airs", minstrel shows and Negro spirituals, including instrumental and harmonic accompaniment. The style also was closely related to ragtime, which developed at about the same time, though the blues styles better preserved "the original melodic patterns of African music". The blues form itself bears no resemblance to the melodic styles of the West African griots, and the influences are faint and tenuous. And no specific African musical form can be identified as the single direct ancestor of the blues. Blues songs from this period, such as Lead Belly's or Henry Thomas's recordings, show many different structures. The twelve-, eight-, or sixteen-bar structure based on tonic (I), subdominant (IV) and dominant chords (V) became the most common forms. What is now recognizable as the standard 12-bar blues form is documented from an oral history of the blues and sheet music appearing in African American communities throughout the region along the lower Mississippi River, in Memphis, Tennessee's Beale Street, and by white bands in New Orleans. Huddie Ledbetter, (Lead Belly) - Backwater Blues The history of the blues and the origin of the blues is really an evolution of the blues from the unaccompanied vocal music and oral traditions of African-American slaves and rural blacks into a wide variety of styles and subgenres, with regional variations across the United States and, later, Europe and Africa. The musical forms and styles that are now considered the "blues" as well as modern "country music" arose in the same regions during the nineteenth century in the southern United States. Recorded blues and country can be found from as far back as the 1920s, when the popular record industry developed and created marketing categories called "race music" and "hillbilly music" to sell music by blacks for blacks and by whites for whites, respectively. Okahumkee On The Ocklawaha, 1890s photo of the tourist steamer out of Palatka in Florida with black musicians playing guitar At the time, there was no clear musical division between "blues" and "country," except for the ethnicity of the performer, and even that was sometimes documented incorrectly by record companies. Studies have situated the origin of black spirituals in slaves' exposure to southern white hymns related to shape note music, the hymns of the Methodist John Wesley carried by 19th c. revivalist preachers, and later Scots-Irish musical influence. African-American economist and historian Thomas Sowell also notes that the southern, black, ex-slave population was acculturated to a considerable degree by and among their Scots-Irish neighbors. However, the findings of Kubik and others also clearly attest to the essential African roots of blues expression. The social and economic reasons for the appearance of the blues are not fully known. The first appearance of the blues is not well defined and is often dated between 1870 and 1900, a period that coincides with Emancipation and, later, the development of juke joints as places where Blacks went listen to music, dance and often gamble after a hard day's work, and the transition from slavery to sharecropping, small-scale agricultural production and the expansion of railroads in the southern United States. Several scholars characterize the early 1900s development of blues music as a move from group performances to a more individualized style. They argue that the development of the blues is associated with the newly acquired freedom of the enslaved people. According to Lawrence Levine, "there was a direct relationship between the national ideological emphasis upon the individual, the popularity of Booker T. Washington's teachings, and the rise of the blues." Levine states that "psychologically, socially, and economically, Negroes were being acculturated in a way that would have been impossible during slavery, and it is hardly surprising that their secular music reflected this as much as their religious music did."
Prewar blues The American sheet music publishing industry produced a great deal of ragtime music. By 1912, the sheet music industry published three popular blues-like compositions, precipitating the Tin Pan Alley adoption of blues elements: "Baby Seals' Blues" by "Baby" F. Seals, (arranged by Artie Matthews), "Dallas Blues" by Hart Wand and "The Memphis Blues" by W. C. Handy. Handy was a formally trained musician, composer and arranger who helped to popularize the blues by transcribing and orchestrating blues in an almost symphonic style, with bands and singers. He became a popular and prolific composer, and billed himself as the "Father of the Blues"; however, his compositions can be described as a fusion of blues with ragtime and jazz, a merger facilitated using the Cuban habanera rhythm that had long been a part of ragtime; Handy's signature work was the "St. Louis Blues." In the 1920s, the early blues forms became a major element of African American and American popular music, reaching white audiences via Handy's arrangements and the classic female blues performers. The blues evolved from informal performances in bars to entertainment in theaters. Blues performances were organized by the Theater Owners Bookers Association in nightclubs such as the Cotton Club and juke joints such as the bars along Beale Street in Memphis. This evolution of the blues led to a notable diversification, and to a clearer division between blues styles and jazz. Several record companies, such as the American Record Corporation, Okeh Records, and Paramount Records, began to record African American music. As the recording industry grew, country blues performers like Bo Carter, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lonnie Johnson, Tampa Red and Blind Blake became more popular in the African American community. Kentucky-born Sylvester Weaver was in 1923 the first to record the slide guitar style, in which a guitar is fretted with a knife blade or the sawed-off neck of a bottle. The slide guitar became an important part of the Delta blues. The first blues recordings from the 1920s are categorized as a traditional, rural country blues and a more polished 'city' or urban blues. Country blues performers often improvised, either without accompaniment or with only a banjo or guitar. Regional styles of country blues varied widely in the early 20th century. The (Mississippi) Delta blues was a rootsy sparse style with passionate vocals accompanied by slide guitar. The little-recorded Robert Johnson combined elements of urban and rural blues. In addition to Robert Johnson, influential performers of this style included his predecessors Charley Patton andSon House. Singers such as Blind Willie McTell and Blind Boy Fuller performed in the southeastern "delicate and lyrical" Piedmont blues tradition, which used an elaborate ragtime-based fingerpicking guitar technique. Georgia also had an early slide tradition with George Carter, Curley Weaver, Tampa Red, "Barbecue Bob" Hicks and James "Kokomo" Arnold as representatives of this style. Tampa Red - KingFish
1920s and forward The lively Memphis blues style, which developed in the 1920s and 1930s near Memphis, Tennessee, was influenced by jug bands such as the Memphis Jug Band or the Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers. Performers such as Frank Stokes, Blind Old Tom Anderson, Sleepy John Estes, Robert Wilkins, Big Boy Brazier, Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie used a variety of unusual instruments such as washboard, fiddle, kazoo or mandolin. Memphis Minnie was famous for her virtuoso guitar style. Pianist Memphis Slim began his career in Memphis, but his distinct style was smoother and had some swing elements. Many blues musicians based in Memphis moved to Chicago in the late 1930s or early 1940s and became part of the urban blues movement, which blended country music and electric blues. Bessie Smith, an early blues singer, was known for her powerful voice.

City or urban blues styles were more codified and elaborate as a performer was no longer within their local, immediate community and had to adapt to a larger, more varied audience's aesthetic. Classic female urban and vaudeville blues singers were popular in the 1920s, among them Mamie Smith, Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Victoria Spivey. Mamie Smith, more a vaudeville performer than a blues artist, was the first African-American to record a blues in 1920; her second record, "Crazy Blues," sold 75,000 copies in its first month. Ma Rainey, the "Mother of Blues," and Bessie Smith each "sang] around center tones, perhaps in order to project her voice more easily to the back of a room." Smith would "...sing a song in an unusual key, and her artistry in bending and stretching notes with her beautiful, powerful contralto to accommodate her own interpretation was unsurpassed." Urban male performers included popular black musicians of the era, such Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy and Leroy Carr. Before WWII, Tampa Red was sometimes referred to as "the Guitar Wizard." Carr accompanied himself on the piano with Scrapper Blackwell on guitar, a format that continued well into the 50s with people such as Charles Brown, and even Nat "King" Cole. Ma Rainey - Stack O'Lee Blues Boogie-woogie was another important style of 1930s and early 1940s urban blues. While the style is often associated with solo piano, boogie-woogie was also used to accompany singers and, as a solo part, in bands and small combos. Boogie-Woogie style was characterized by a regular bass figure, an ostinato or riff and shifts of level in the left hand, elaborating each chord and trills and decorations in the right hand. Boogie-woogie was pioneered by the Chicago-based Jimmy Yancey and the Boogie-Woogie Trio (Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis). Chicago boogie-woogie performers included Clarence "Pine Top" Smith and Earl Hines, who "linked the propulsive left-hand rhythms of the ragtime pianists with melodic figures similar to those of Armstrong's trumpet in the right hand." The smooth Louisiana style of Professor Longhair and, more recently, Dr. John blends classic rhythm and blues with blues styles.
A typical boogie-woogie bassline Another development in this period was big band blues. The "territory bands" operating out of Kansas City, the Benny Moten orchestra, Jay McShann, and the Count Basie Orchestra were also concentrating on the blues, with 12-bar blues instrumentals such as Basie's "One O'Clock Jump" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside" and boisterous "blues shouting" by Jimmy Rushing on songs like "Going to Chicago" and "Sent for You Yesterday." A well-known big band blues tune is Glenn Miller's "In the Mood". In the 1940s, the jump blues style developed. Jump blues is influenced by big band music and uses saxophone or other brass instruments and the guitar in the rhythm section to create a jazzy, up-tempo sound with declamatory vocals. Jump blues tunes by Louis Jordan and Big Joe Turner, based in Kansas City, Missouri, influenced the development of later styles such as rock and roll and rhythm and blues.
Early post-war blues After World War II and in the 1950s, new styles of electric blues music became popular in cities such as Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis. Electric blues used amplified electric guitars, electric bass, drums, and harmonica played through a microphone. Chicago became a center for electric blues in the early 1950s. Chicago blues is influenced to a large extent by the Mississippi blues style, because many performers had migrated from the Mississippi region. Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Jimmy Reed were all born in Mississippi and moved to Chicago during the Great Migration. Their style is characterized by the use of electric guitar, sometimes slide guitar, harmonica, and a rhythm section of bass and drums. J. T. Brown who played in Elmore James's or J. B. Lenoir's bands, also used saxophones, but these were used more as "backing" or rhythmic support than as solo instruments.
Muddy Waters, described as "the guiding light of the modern blues school" Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson are well known harmonica players of the early Chicago blues scene. Other harp players such as Big Walter Horton were also influential. Muddy Waters andElmore James were known for their innovative use of slide electric guitar. B. B. King and Freddie King (no relation), who did not use slide guitar, were influential guitarists of the Electric blues style, even though they weren't from Chicago. Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters were known for their deep, "gravelly" voices. Bassist and composer Willie Dixon played a major role on the Chicago blues scene. He composed and wrote many standard blues songs of the period, such as "Hoochie Coochie Man", "I Just Want to Make Love to You" (both penned for Muddy Waters) and, "Wang Dang Doodle" and "Back Door Man" for Howlin' Wolf. Most artists of the Chicago blues style recorded for the Chicago-based Chess Records label. Other prominent blues labels of this era included J.O.B. Records and Vee-Jay Records. In the 1950s, blues had a huge influence on mainstream American popular music and in particular on the development of rockabilly. While popular musicians like Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry were influenced by the Chicago blues, their enthusiastic playing styles departed from the melancholy aspects of blues. Diddley and Berry's approach to performance was one of the factors that influenced the transition from the blues to rock 'n' roll. Elvis Presley and Bill Haley were more influenced by the jump blues and boogie-woogie styles. They popularized rock and roll within the white segment of the population. Chicago blues also influenced Louisiana's zydeco music, with Clifton Chenier using blues accents. Zydeco musicians used electric solo guitar and cajun arrangements of blues standards. John Lee Hooker created his own blues style and renewed it several time during his long career. Other blues artists, such as T-Bone Walker, Michael Walton and John Lee Hooker, had influences not directly related to the Chicago style. Dallas-born T-Bone Walker is often associated with the California blues style, which is smoother than Chicago blues and is a transition between the Chicago blues, the jump blues and swing with some jazz-guitar influence. John Lee Hooker's blues is more "personal", based on Hooker's deep rough voice accompanied by a single electric guitar. Though not directly influenced by boogie woogie, his "groovy" style is sometimes called "guitar boogie". His first hit "Boogie Chillen" reached #1 on the R&B charts in 1949. By the late 1950s, the swamp blues genre developed near Baton Rouge, with performers such as Slim Harpo, Sam Myers and Jerry McCain. Swamp blues has a slower pace and a simpler use of the harmonica than the Chicago blues style performers such as Little Walter or Muddy Waters. Songs from this genre include "Scratch my Back", "She's Tough" and "I'm a King Bee".
Blues in the 1960s and 1970s By the beginning of the 1960s, genres influenced by African American music such as rock and roll and soul were part of mainstream popular music. White performers had brought African-American music to new audiences, both within the US and abroad. In the UK, bands emulated US blues legends, and UK blues-rock-based bands had an influential role throughout the 1960s. Even though the blues had been around for many years, the popularity of blues in the UK, and the subsequent "British Invasion" played the major role in popularizing the blues in mainstrem America.
Blues legend B.B. King with his guitar, "Lucille" Blues performers such as John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters continued to perform to enthusiastic audiences, inspiring new artists steeped in traditional blues, such as New York-born Taj Mahal. John Lee Hooker blended his blues style with rock elements and playing with younger white musicians, creating a musical style that can be heard on the 1971 album Endless Boogie. B. B. King's virtuoso guitar technique earned him the eponymous title "King of the Blues". In contrast to the Chicago style, King's band used strong brass support from a saxophone, trumpet, and trombone, instead of using slide guitar or harp. Tennessee-born Bobby "Blue" Bland, like B. B. King, also straddled the blues and R&B genres. During this period, Freddie King and Albert King often played with rock and soul musicians (Eric Clapton, Booker T & the MGs)and had a major influence on those styles of music. The music of the Civil Rights and Free Speech movements in the US prompted a resurgence of interest in American roots music and early African American music. As well as Jimmi Bass Music festivals such as the Newport Folk Festival brought traditional blues to a new audience, which helped to revive interest in prewar acoustic blues and performers such as Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, and Reverend Gary Davis. Many compilations of classic prewar blues were republished by the Yazoo Records. J. B. Lenoir from the Chicago blues movement in the 1950s recorded several LPs using acoustic guitar, sometimes accompanied by Willie Dixon on the acoustic bass or drums. His songs commented on political issues such as racism or Vietnam War issues, which was unusual for this period. His Alabama Blues recording had a song that stated:
I never will go back to Alabama, that is not the place for me (2x)
You know they killed my sister and my brother, and the whole world let them peoples go down there free White audiences' interest in the blues during the 1960s increased due to the Chicago-based Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the British blues movement. The style of British blues developed in the UK, when bands such as Fleetwood Mac,John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, and Cream performed classic blues songs from the Delta or Chicago blues traditions.The British blues musicians of the early 1960s inspired a number of American blues-rock fusion performers, including Canned Heat, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, The J. Geils Band, Ry Cooder and The Allman Brothers Band. Many of Led Zeppelin's earlier hits were renditions of traditional blues songs. One blues-rock performer, Jimi Hendrix, was a rarity in his field at the time: a black man who played psychedelic rock. Hendrix was a skilled guitarist, and a pioneer in the innovative use of distortion and feedback in his music. Through these artists and others, blues music influenced the development of rock music. In the late 1960s, the West Side style blues emerged in Chicago with Magic Sam, Magic Slim and Otis Rush. West Side style has strong rhythmic support from a rhythm guitar, bass electric guitar, and drums. Albert King, Buddy Guy, andLuther Allison had a West Side style that was dominated by amplified electric lead guitar. Since the early 1970s, The Texas rock-blues style emerged which used guitars in both solo and rhythm roles. In contrast with the West Side blues, the Texas style is strongly influenced by the British rock-blues movement. Major artists of the Texas style are Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and ZZ Top. These artists all began their musical journey in the 1970s, but they did not achieve major international success until the next decade.
1980s to the present Since the 1980s, there has been a resurgence of interest in the blues among a certain part of the African-American population, particularly around Jackson, MS and other deep South regions. Often termed "soul blues" or "Southern Soul," the music at the heart of this movement was given new life by the unexpected success of two particular recordings on the Jackson-based Malaco label: Z. Z. Hill's Down Home Blues (1982) and Little Milton's The Blues is Alright (1984). Contemporary African-American performers who work this vein of the blues include Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle, Sir Charles Jones, Bettye LaVette, Marvin Sease and Peggy Scott-Adams.
Texas blues guitarist,
Stevie Ray Vaughan During the 1980s, blues also continued in both traditional and new forms. In 1986, the album Strong Persuader revealed Robert Cray as a major blues artist. The first Stevie Ray Vaughan recording Texas Flood was released in 1983, and the Texas based guitarist exploded onto the international stage. 1989 saw a revival of John Lee Hooker's popularity with the album The Healer. Eric Clapton known for his performances with the Blues Breakers and Cream, made a comeback in the 1990s with his album Unplugged, in which he played some standard blues numbers on acoustic guitar. In the 1980s and 1990s, blues publications such as Living Blues and Blues Revue began to be distributed, major cities began forming blues societies, outdoor blues festivals became more common, and more nightclubs and venues for blues emerged. In the 1990s, blues performers explored a range of musical genres, as can be seen, for example, from the broad array of nominees of the yearly Blues Music Awards, previously named W. C. Handy Awards or of the Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary and Traditional Blues Album. Contemporary blues music is nurtured by several blues labels such as: Alligator Records, Ruf Records, Chess Records (MCA), Delmark Records, NorthernBlues Music, and Vanguard Records (Artemis Records). Some labels are famous for their rediscovering and remastering of blues rarities such as Arhoolie Records, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (heir of Folkways Records) and Yazoo Records (Shanachie Records). Young blues artists today are exploring all aspects of the blues, from classic delta to more rock-oriented blues, artists born after 1970 such as Sean Costello, John Mayer, Anthony Gomes, Shemekia Copeland, Jonny Lang, Corey Harris, Susan Tedeschi, Joe Bonamassa, Michelle Malone, The White Stripes, North Mississippi Allstars, Gracie B, The Black Keys, Bob Log III, Jose P and Hillstompdeveloping their own styles. Memphis, Texas-based William Daniel McFalls, also known as "Blues Boy Willie" is a performer of traditional blues.
Musical impact Blues musical styles, forms (12-bar blues), melodies, and the blues scale have influenced many other genres of music, such as rock and roll, jazz, and popular music. Prominent jazz, folk or rock performers, such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan and the White Stripes have performed significant blues recordings. The blues scale is often used in popular songs like Harold Arlen's "Blues in the Night", blues ballads like "Since I Fell for You" and "Please Send Me Someone to Love", and even in orchestral works such as George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Concerto in F". Gershwin's second "Prelude" for solo piano is an interesting example of a classical blues, maintaining the form with academic strictness. The blues scale is ubiquitous in modern popular music and informs many modal frames, especially the ladder of thirds used in rock music (e.g., in "A Hard Day's Night"). Blues forms are used in the theme to the televised Batman, teen idol Fabian's hit, "Turn Me Loose", country music star Jimmie Rodgers' music, and guitarist/vocalist Tracy Chapman's hit "Give Me One Reason". R&B music can be traced back to spirituals and blues. Musically, spirituals were a descendant of New England choral traditions, and in particular of Isaac Watts's hymns, mixed with African rhythms and call-and-response forms. Spirituals or religious chants in the African-American community are much better documented than the "low-down" blues. Spiritual singing developed because African-American communities could gather for mass or worship gatherings, which were called camp meetings. Early country bluesmen such as Skip James, Charley Patton, Georgia Tom Dorsey played country and urban blues and had influences from spiritual singing. Dorsey helped to popularize Gospel music. Gospel music developed in the 1930s, with the Golden Gate Quartet. In the 1950s, soul music by Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and James Brown used gospel and blues music elements. In the 1960s and 1970s, gospel and blues were these merged in soul blues music. Funk music of the 1970s was influenced by soul; funk can be seen as an antecedent of hip-hop and contemporary R&B. Duke Ellington straddled the big band and bebop genres.
Though Ellington was a jazz artist, he used the blues form extensively.
Before World War II, the boundaries between blues and jazz were less clear. Usually jazz had harmonic structures stemming from brass bands, whereas blues had blues forms such as the 12-bar blues. However, the jump blues of the 1940s mixed both styles. After WWII, blues had a substantial influence on jazz. Bebop classics, such as Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time", used the blues form with the pentatonic scale and blue notes. Bebop marked a major shift in the role of jazz, from a popular style of music for dancing, to a "high-art," less-accessible, cerebral "musician's music". The audience for both blues and jazz split, and the border between blues and jazz became more defined. Artists straddling the boundary between jazz and blues are categorized into the jazz-blues sub-genre.
The blues' twelve-bar structure and the blues scale was a major influence on rock-and-roll music. Rock-and-roll has been called "blues with a back beat". Carl Perkins called rockabilly "blues with a country beat". Rockabillies were also said to be twelve-bar blues played with a bluegrass beat. "Hound Dog", with its unmodified twelve-bar structure (in both harmony and lyrics) and a melody centered on flatted third of the tonic (and flatted seventh of the subdominant), is a blues song transformed into a rock-and-roll song. Jerry Lee Lewis's style of rock 'n' roll was heavily influenced by the blues and its derivative boogie woogie. His style of music was not exactly rockabilly but it has been often called real rock 'n' roll (this is a label he shares with several African American rock 'n' roll singers). Early country music was infused with the blues. Jimmie Rodgers, Moon Mullican, Bob Wills, Bill Monroe and Hank Williams have all described themselves as blues singers and their music has a blues feel that is different to the country pop of Eddy Arnold. A lot of the 1970s-era "outlaw" country music by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings also borrowed from the blues. When Jerry Lee Lewis returned to country after the decline of 1950s style rock 'n' roll, he sang his country with a blues feel and often included blues standards on his albums. Many early rock-and-roll songs are based on blues: "That's All Right Mama", "Johnny B. Goode", "Blue Suede Shoes", "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On", "Shake, Rattle, and Roll", and "Long Tall Sally". The early African American rock musicians retained the sexual themes and innuendos of blues music: "Got a gal named Sue, knows just what to do" ("Tutti Frutti", Little Richard) or "See the girl with the red dress on, She can do the Birdland all night long" ("What'd I Say", Ray Charles). Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys - Osage Stomp
In popular culture
The music of Taj Mahal for the 1972 movie
Sounder marked a revival of interest in acoustic blues. Like jazz, rock and roll, heavy metal music, hip hop music, reggae, country music, and pop music, blues has been accused of being the "devil's music" and of inciting violence and other poor behavior. In the early 20th century, the blues was considered disreputable, especially as white audiences began listening to the blues during the 1920s. In the early twentieth century, W.C. Handy was the first to popularize blues-influenced music among non-black Americans. During the blues revival of the 1960s and '70s, acoustic blues artist Taj Mahal and legendary Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins wrote and performed music that figured prominently in the popularly and critically acclaimed film Sounder (1972). The film earned Mahal a Grammy nomination for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture and a BAFTA nomination. Almost 30 years later, Mahal wrote blues for, and performed a banjo composition, claw-hammer style, in the 2001 movie release "Song Catcher," which focused on the story of the preservation of the roots music of Appalachia. In 2003, Martin Scorsese made significant efforts to promote the blues to a larger audience. He asked several famous directors such as Clint Eastwood and Wim Wenders to participate in a series of documentary films for PBS called The Blues. He also participated in the rendition of compilations of major blues artists in a series of high-quality CDs. Grammy-winning blues guitarist and vocalist Keb' Mo' performed his blues rendition of "America, the Beautiful" in 2006 to close out the final season of the television series "The West
Musical style During the first decades of the Twentieth Century, blues music was not clearly defined in terms of a chord progression. There were many blues in 8-bar form, such as "How Long Blues," "Trouble in Mind," and Big Bill Broonzy's "Key to the Highway." Idiosyncratic numbers of bars are also encountered occasionally, as with the 9-bar progression in Howlin' Wolf's "Sitting on Top of the World." The basic twelve-bar lyric framework of a blues composition is reflected by a standard harmonic progression of twelve bars in 4/4 or (rarely) 2/4 time. Slow blues are often played in 12/8 (4 beats per measure with 3 subdivisions per beat). By the 1930s, twelve-bar blues became the standard. There would also be 16 bar blues, as in Ray Charles's instrumental "Sweet 16 Bars" and in Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man." The blues chords associated to a twelve-bar blues are typically a set of three different chords played over a twelve-bar scheme, refered to as a I, IV, V, or 1, 4, 5 progression such as E, A, B, or B7 A 12-bar blues is divided into three four-bar segments. A standard blues progression, or sequence of notes, typically features three chords based on the first (written as I), fourth (IV), and fifth (V) notes of an eight-note scale. The I chord dominates the first four bars; the IV chord typically appears in the second four bars (although in the example below, Elmore James introduces it in the first four bars); and the V chord is played in the third four bars.

Space Dawg - 12 Bar Blues The Roman numerals refer to the degrees of the progression. For example, if played in C, the chords would be as follows:

When the IV chord is played in bar 2, the blues is called a "Quick-Change" blues. In this example, C is the tonic chord, F the subdominant. Much of the time, some or all of these chords are played in the harmonic seventh (7th) form. Frequently, the last chord is the dominant (V) turnaround, marking the transition to the beginning of the next progression. In this example, G/G7 is the turnaround.The use of the harmonic seventh interval is characteristic of blues and is popularly called the "blues seven". At a 7:4 ratio, it is not close to any interval on the conventional Western diatonic scale. Through convenience or necessity it is often approximated by a minor seventh interval or a dominant seventh chord. The lyrics generally end on the last beat of the tenth bar or the first beat of the eleventh bar, and the final two bars are given to the instrumentalist as a break; the harmony of this two-bar break, the turnaround, can be extremely complex, sometimes consisting of single notes that defy analysis in terms of chords. The final beat, however, is almost always strongly grounded in the dominant seventh (V7), to provide tension for the next verse. In melody, blues is distinguished by the use of the flatted third, fifth and seventh of the associated major scale. These specialized notes are called the blue or bent notes. These scale tones may replace the natural scale tones, or they may be added to the scale, as in the case of the minor pentatonic blues scale, in which the flatted third replaces the natural third, the flatted seventh replaces the natural seventh and the flatted fifth is added between the natural fourth and natural fifth. While the twelve-bar harmonic progression had been intermittently used for centuries, the revolutionary aspect of blues was the frequent use of the flatted third, flatted seventh, and even flatted fifth in the melody, together with crushing—playing directly adjacent notes at the same time (i.e., diminished second)—and sliding, similar to using grace notes. The blue notes allow for key moments of expression during the cadences, melodies, and embellishments of the blues. Where the three line verses end, for example, there is a falling cadence that approaches just shy of the tonic, combining the falling of a speaking voice with the shape of the blues scale in a unique, expressive way. This melodic fall, placed at the turnaround, is employed most clearly in the modern Chicago blues sound. A similar sound, melisma, occurs in gospel and R&B, but not to the same effect. Whereas a classical musician will generally play a grace note distinctly, a blues singer or harmonica player will glissando, "crushing" the two notes and then releasing the grace note. In blues chord progressions, the tonic, subdominant and dominant chords are often played as harmonic seventh chords. While the harmonic seventh may be voiced easily on equally tempered instruments like the guitar, it is approximated by means of a minor seventh, which is a third of a semitone higher.) Blues is occasionally played in a minor key, such as in the style of Paul Butterfield. The scale differs little from the traditional minor, except for the occasional use of a flatted fifth in the tonic, often sung or played by the singer or lead instrument with the perfect fifth in the harmony. Janis Joplin's rendition of "Ball and Chain", accompanied by Big Brother and the Holding Company, provides an example of this technique. Minor-key blues is often structured in sixteen bars rather than twelve, in the style of gospel music, as in "St. James Infirmary Blues" and Trixie Smith's "My Man Rocks Me." Blues shuffles reinforce the trance-like rhythm and call-and-response, and they form a repetitive effect called a groove. The simplest shuffles, used in many postwar electric blues, rock-and-rolls, or early bebops, were a three-note riff on the bass strings of the guitar. When this riff was played over the bass and the drums, the groove "feel" is created. The walking bass is another device that helps to create a groove. The last bar of the chord progression is usually accompanied by a turnaround. Shuffle rhythm is often vocalized as "dow, da dow, da dow, da" or "dump, da dump, da dump, da", it consists of uneven, or "swung," eighth notes. On a guitar this may be played as a simple steady bass or it may add to that stepwise quarter note motion from the fifth to the sixth of the chord and back. An example is provided by the following guitar tablature for the first four bars of a blues progression in E.

Blues in jazz is much different from blues in other types of music. Jazz blues normally stays on the V chord through bars 9 and 10, emphasizing the dominant-tonic resolution over the subdominant-tonic structure of traditional blues. This final V-I cadence lends itself to many variations, the most basic of which is the ii-V-I progression in bars 9, 10 and 11. From that point, both the dominant approach (ii-V) and the resolution (I) can be altered and "substituted" in a variety of ways, even including abandonment of the I chord altogether (bars 9–12: ii | V | iii, vi | ii, V |). In this case, bars 11 and 12 function as an extended turnaround to the next chorus.

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