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Country and western music

musical songs radio instruments

Country and western music, broad category of popular music that has its roots in rural American music of the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly in the South where black music, religious music, and British folk music fused into a unique American musical genre. Most songs are deeply personal and deal with themes of love, loneliness, and separation, but maintain a strong sense of faith in the human spirit. Songs can be quite festive and funny. Musical instruments often include guitar, banjo, fiddle, horns, drums, pianos, and electric instruments.

With the advent of radio broadcasts of this music in the 1920s and 1930s, the genre gained nationwide recognition. The “Grand Ole Opry,” the national center of country and western music located in Nashville, Tenn., began radio broadcasts in 1925. The stars of the 1930s and 1940s included Tex Ritter, Jimmy Rodgers, Ernest Tubb, and Gene Autry. In the 1950s, Hank Williams achieved fame with “Your Cheatin' Heart” and “Cold, Cold Heart.” The sound of the 1960s and 1970s combined elements of pop music and thus added to the popularity of the music. By the 1980s, country and western performers had achieved superstar status and became active in television and film. Some of the notable performers are Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, the Judds, Reba McEntire, and Randy Travis.

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