The Nashville sound isn’t quite what you’d expect. The Nashville sound doesn’t have fiddles and steel guitars. It’s more of a refined sound with chorus singers in the background and orchestra style playing for the instrumental. The point was to get people to listen again so they “reinvented” the genre so it didn’t sound like a bunch of backwoods hicks, but it would sound adult and mature. This would dominate the airwaves because of musicians like Kenny Rodgers, Patsy Cline, and Eddie Arnold.
The music produced in the era of the Nashville sound took influence from the pop music and jazz that was popular in that time. The songs that were released with this new sound were powerful. People listened to them and they climbed the charts, not just the country charts either. These songs were the first country music songs to be hits in multiple genres.
There were two influential producers of this sub-genre that saved country music. Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley. The music that was produced is like the pop country today in the ways that the majority like the music, but the traditionalists think it is a slap in the face to country. It’s ironic that the people today think that the Nashville sound is traditional country and back when it was rolling out people thought that was a slap in the face to country music.
The songs were mostly ballads. No more songs about blue collar life. The middle class audience these songs were aimed towards weren’t living the life of busting their ass and drinking too much, and nobody wanted to hear about divorce and cheating because the time that these songs were coming out was when America was all about being moral and right. Country music did swing back to those types of songs after a while though.
When you think of country the first name that pops into your head is Johnny Cash, he combined sounds of gospel and rock into the country songs creating what many called “Rockabilly”. Cash’s life was far from easy, much of his early life was helping his dad on the farm and writing music. He was in the air force for four years then when he was discharged, he started to focus on his music he released a few songs but the first hit he had was “I walk the Line”. While Cash’s fame soared, he started to battle with drug addiction. But his second wife June Carter saved him. Cash produced legendary music until his death in 2003.
Willie Nelson is another country music icon. He was a singer songwriter and he also acted. Nelson wrote “Crazy” that was made popular by Patsy Cline. His most notable songs are “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” and “Don’t Let Your Baby’s Grow Up To Be Cowboys”. In the 80’s The IRS found that Willie owed millions of dollars so Willie released an album titles The IRS tapes. Willie is notorious for smoking marijuana, so much so that Toby Keith release a song titled “I’m Never Smoking Weed With Willie Again”.
Merle Haggard was a musician whose music reflected his life. He sang about being in trouble with the law and having troubles with his romantic life because he was in and out of jail when he was young and during one of his sentences he found out his wife was cheating on him. He wasn’t like the musicians of today that pander to audiences. Haggard lived what he sang. In 1970 the governor of California pardoned him for his crimes
The First Country Music Association Awards were held in 1967. They were on NBC and ABC different times. The awards are, Entertainer Of The Year, Male Vocalist Of The Year, Female Vocalist Of The Year, New Artist Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Album Of The Year. The latest winner of the Entertainer Of The Year award, Garth Brooks set the trophy down onstage because he didn’t feel like he deserved the award, but the award still made its way to Garth’s trophy case.
The country music hall of fame opened in 1967. The museum holds outfits, vehicles, photographs, guitars, and anything else you could imagine. The stairway between floors is covered in golf and platinum records. It truly is a sight to see. In 2010 Nashville was flooded and the museum had five feet of water in it. Luckily most of the exhibits are not on the first floor. Three artists are elected into the hall of fame each year a modern artist which is someone who has been discovered in the last 20 years, a “veteran” who was discovered in the last 45 years ago, and a songwriter. There are 20 nominees every year and a panel of 100 people who are widely respected in the country music association vote on the 3 winners. The museum also owns the historic Studio B This is where so many hits were recorded by Chet Atkins, Elvis Presley, Dolly Pardon, So many Artists recorded there. The studio is where the Nashville number system was developed. It was a way for singers to communicate with house bands that didn’t have time to learn the song so the artist would hold up numbers and the band would play the corresponding chord.
The Grand Ole Opry is held in the Ryman Auditorium. When the Opry started the Ryman was still a church. That’s why they call it Mother Church. Throughout the late 1900’s the country stars weren’t allowed to drink backstage because it was still a church so they had to go to the back alley to drink, smoke, and pop pills. The Opry is like a club in the sense that there is a membership to the Opry but you don’t just join. You have to be nominated into the Opry by a member. Then the stars get to host any event the want to. But that has a lot of responsibilities too. Hank Williams was kicked out of the opry because he was unreliable he missed shows and was always hammered. Stars are no longer members of the Opry once they pass away.
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