The most comprehensive list of Country Music genres available on the Internet

The Music Genres List site covers many of the most popular styles of country music, we hope this becomes the definitive list of country music genres on the Internet, send an email to add @ musicgenreslist dot com if you feel any country music genres are missing and we’ll add to complete the music list.

 

Country

    • Alternative Country
    • Americana
    • Australian Country
    • Bakersfield Sound
    • Bluegrass
      • Progressive Bluegrass
      • Reactionary Bluegrass
    • Blues Country
    • Cajun Fiddle Tunes
    • Christian Country
    • Classic Country
    • Close Harmony
    • Contemporary Bluegrass
    • Contemporary Country
    • Country Gospel
    • Country Pop (thanks Sarah Johnson)
    • Country Rap
    • Country Rock
    • Country Soul
    • Cowboy / Western
    • Cowpunk
    • Dansband
    • Honky Tonk
    • Franco-Country
    • Gulf and Western
    • Hellbilly Music
    • Honky Tonk
    • Instrumental Country
    • Lubbock Sound
    • Nashville Sound
    • Neotraditional Country
    • Outlaw Country
    • Progressive
    • Psychobilly / Punkabilly
    • Red Dirt
    • Sertanejo
    • Texas County
    • Traditional Bluegrass
    • Traditional Country
    • Truck-Driving Country
    • Urban Cowboy
    • Western Swing
    • Zydeco
[Any country music genres you think are missing? Please send to add [at] musicgenrelist.com]
Country Music Genre Example Bands/Artists Example Songs
Alternative Country Wilco, Ryan Adams “California Stars” by Wilco, “Come Pick Me Up” by Ryan Adams
Americana Jason Isbell, The Avett Brothers “Cover Me Up” by Jason Isbell, “I And Love And You” by The Avett Brothers
Australian Country Keith Urban, Kasey Chambers “Somebody Like You” by Keith Urban, “Not Pretty Enough” by Kasey Chambers
Bakersfield Sound Buck Owens, Merle Haggard “Act Naturally” by Buck Owens, “Okie From Muskogee” by Merle Haggard
Bluegrass Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs “Blue Moon of Kentucky” by Bill Monroe, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” by Flatt & Scruggs
Progressive Bluegrass Béla Fleck, Punch Brothers “The Sinister Minister” by Béla Fleck, “Rye Whiskey” by Punch Brothers
Reactionary Bluegrass Ralph Stanley, The Johnson Mountain Boys “O Death” by Ralph Stanley, “Let’s Part the Best of Friends” by The Johnson Mountain Boys
Blues Country Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton, “You Can Have the Crown” by Sturgill Simpson
Cajun Fiddle Tunes Doug Kershaw, Michael Doucet “Louisiana Man” by Doug Kershaw, “L’Amour ou la Folie” by Michael Doucet
Christian Country Randy Travis, Josh Turner “Three Wooden Crosses” by Randy Travis, “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner
Classic Country Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash, “Crazy” by Patsy Cline
Close Harmony The Louvin Brothers, The Everly Brothers “I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby” by The Louvin Brothers, “All I Have to Do Is Dream” by The Everly Brothers
Contemporary Bluegrass Alison Krauss, Nickel Creek “When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss, “This Side” by Nickel Creek
Contemporary Country Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood “Play It Again” by Luke Bryan, “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood
Country Gospel Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton “Precious Memories” by Alan Jackson, “Coat of Many Colors” by Dolly Parton
Country Pop Shania Twain, Taylor Swift “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” by Shania Twain, “Love Story” by Taylor Swift
Country Rap Colt Ford, Big Smo “Dirt Road Anthem” by Colt Ford, “Workin'” by Big Smo
Country Rock Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd “Take It Easy” by Eagles, “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Country Soul Solomon Burke, Candi Staton “Cry to Me” by Solomon Burke, “I’m Just a Prisoner” by Candi Staton
Cowboy / Western Michael Martin Murphey, Ian Tyson “Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphey, “Four Strong Winds” by Ian Tyson
Cowpunk Jason & The Scorchers, The Beat Farmers “Broken Whiskey Glass” by Jason & The Scorchers, “Happy Boy” by The Beat Farmers
Dansband Vikingarna, Lasse Stefanz “Kramgoa Låtar 2007” by Vikingarna, “Oh Julie” by Lasse Stefanz
Honky Tonk Hank Williams, George Jones “Your Cheatin’ Heart” by Hank Williams, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones
Franco-Country Paul Daraîche, Isabelle Boulay “Aimons-nous” by Paul Daraîche, “Sans toi” by Isabelle Boulay
Gulf and Western Jimmy Buffett, Jerry Jeff Walker “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett, “Mr. Bojangles” by Jerry Jeff Walker
Hellbilly Music Hank Williams III, Those Poor Bastards “Crazed Country Rebel” by Hank Williams III, “Crooked Man” by Those Poor Bastards
Honky Tonk Hank Williams, George Jones “Your Cheatin’ Heart” by Hank Williams, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones
Instrumental Country Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed “Yakety Axe” by Chet Atkins, “The Claw” by Jerry Reed
Lubbock Sound Buddy Holly, Joe Ely “That’ll Be The Day” by Buddy Holly, “Me and Billy The Kid” by Joe Ely
Nashville Sound Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, “He’ll Have to Go” by Jim Reeves
Neotraditional Country George Strait, Randy Travis “Amarillo By Morning” by George Strait, “Forever and Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis
Outlaw Country Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson “Luckenbach, Texas” by Waylon Jennings, “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson
Progressive Alabama, The Eagles “Mountain Music” by Alabama, “Lyin’ Eyes” by The Eagles
Psychobilly / Punkabilly The Cramps, Reverend Horton Heat “Bikini Girls with Machine Guns” by The Cramps, “Psychobilly Freakout” by Reverend Horton Heat
Red Dirt Turnpike Troubadours, Stoney LaRue “Gin, Smoke, Lies” by Turnpike Troubadours, “Oklahoma Breakdown” by Stoney LaRue
Sertanejo Chitãozinho & Xororó, Jorge & Mateus “Evidências” by Chitãozinho & Xororó, “Pode Chorar” by Jorge & Mateus
Texas County Pat Green, Robert Earl Keen “Wave on Wave” by Pat Green, “The Road Goes On Forever” by Robert Earl Keen
Traditional Bluegrass The Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe “Man of Constant Sorrow” by The Stanley Brothers, “Blue Moon of Kentucky” by Bill Monroe
Traditional Country Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn
Truck-Driving Country Dave Dudley, Red Sovine “Six Days on the Road” by Dave Dudley, “Teddy Bear” by Red Sovine
Urban Cowboy Mickey Gilley, Johnny Lee “Stand by Me” by Mickey Gilley, “Lookin’ for Love” by Johnny Lee
Western Swing Bob Wills, Asleep at the Wheel “San Antonio Rose” by Bob Wills, “The Letter That Johnny Walker Read” by Asleep at the Wheel
Zydeco Clifton Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco “I’m a Hog for You” by Clifton Chenier, “Hey Good Lookin'” by Buckwheat Zydeco

Country Music Genre

Country music is also known as Country and Western or Hillbilly music. It started in the United States in the 1920s and came as a hybrid of American folk music and the blues. Country music generally has simple tunes and lyrics with a basic musical structure.

Country music is generally characterized by stringed instruments like the banjo, guitar, and fiddle, as well as the harmonica. The term ‘country music’ didn’t come into common lexicon until the 1940s when it was preferred over the term ‘hillbilly music.’

Country music continued to evolve parallel to hillbilly music from common roots in 1920s American folk music. Today, country music is one of the most popular music genres in the United States, and the term encompasses plenty of styles and subgenres.

Origins of Country Music

As country music began to develop in the 1920s, it was embraced by working-class Americans. They mixed popular songs with traditional English ballads, Irish fiddle tunes, cowboy songs, and musical traditions from European immigrants.

Bristol, Tennessee is formally recognized as the birthplace of country music because of the Bristol recording sessions that took place there in 1927. Equally influential, however, are the lesser-known recording sessions in Johnson City in 1928 and 1929, and the Knoxville recording sessions in 1929 and 1930.

The rich musical heritage of the settlers in the Great Smoky Mountains was inspired by other events like the Mountain City Fiddlers Convention in 1925.


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The Generations of Country Music

The first generation of country music artists emerged in the early 1920s and included pioneers like Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family. Hillbilly recording artists like Cliff Carlisle also emerged, successfully collating a combination of country and blues.

1930-1950

The Grand Ole Opry aired for the first time in 1925 and has since become the most significant country music show of all time. The second generation during the 1930s and 1940s were the first to see the radio increase in popularity.

During the second generation, singing cowboys like Bob Wills and Gene Autry made their way to Hollywood and popularized country music on the big screen. Bobs Wills was also instrumental in the popularity of dance hall music, known as Western swing. He combined country with jazz to make the sound and was one of the first country music artists to add an electric guitar to his band in 1938.

1950-1970

The third generation of country music artists saw the likes of bluegrass musicians, like Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and Bill Monroe in the 1950s and 60s. Gospel remained a popular component of country music through this generation.

Shortly thereafter, honky-tonk emerged as a raw, stripped-down country subgenre in Texas and Oklahoma. The music was rooted in Western swing and the Mexican ranchera music that drifted across the southern border.

It was played primarily among poor white people with a basic ensemble of a guitar, bass, and a dobro or a steel guitar, which later became drums. By the 1950s, it combined with country boogie and Western swing and appeared in this form by most bands in the country music genre.

Rockabilly became popular in the 1950s and 1960s with Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. The Nashville sound skyrocketed country music to fame and multimillion-dollar success in the 1960s, with artists like Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves.

Unfortunately, their deaths in separate plane crashes led to a serious decline shortly afterward. The British Invasion influenced many people to return to what they considered the ‘old values’ of rock ‘n roll.

1970-1990

Fourth-generation country music in the 1970s and 1980s included outlaws like that of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, country-pop stars like John Denver, and the Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens.

John Denver wasn’t the only country artist to cross over to pop. Dolly Parton grew in popularity in the mid-1970s and led a high-profile career that is still going strong today. She’s not the last female country music artist to cross over to pop, either—Canadian-born Shania Twain did the same thing decades later.

As was typical of past generations, country music lent itself well to adaptation according to the popular musical stylings of other generational genres. This time it was country disco. It wouldn’t be long before country artists desired to return to the basics of country sound, however, leading to the popularity of artists like George Strait, whose success carried his style of country music into today’s industry.

1990’s

The fifth generation of country music in the 1990s saw worldwide success with neo-traditionalists like Alan Jackson, and stadium country acts like the Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks.

The 1990s also saw a growth in female country music artists such as Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain, Deanna Carter, The Dixie Chicks, and many others.

Along with its worldwide popularity, country music spawned a line dancing revival, the influence of which was so great that it led many country music artists of previous generations to complain about how bad country music had become since their time.

2000 to Present

We’re now in our sixth generation of country artists. There are still plenty of outside influences like rock, pop, and hip hop as seen in artists like Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, and Florida Georgia Line. And country music is still evolving.