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The Evolution of Country Music

By: Holly Huntoon

News II: Advanced Journalism


NASHVILLE, Tenn. __ Artists wanting a turn at the microphone, stand in a single-file line,
waiting to write their names on a sign-up sheet inside Jeds Bar & Grille, which is a venue just
east of Music Row. The line is getting long, but no one seems impatient. Lauren Lizabeth is one
of these artists, waiting to showcase her voice and talent to the audience at Jeds.
Lauren starts to play through the chords and whispers the lyrics in her head to her song, playing a
quiet melody so the competition does not hear. As she waits anxiously for her turn in line, she
cannot wait to play her music, which she has been working on for the audience. This is a day for
her to shine and to let her music be heard.
She starts off introducing herself, Hi, Im Lauren Lizabeth. I just moved to Nashville to start my
dream. Im gonna sing you guys a song that I wrote myself which has been on the Country
Billboard Charts for 12 weeks now. Like every other songs meaning, its about a breakup. Its
called Light A Match.
Lauren starts to strum her guitar and tapping her foot to go along with the beat. She throws her
arm into it and her body starts to maneuver with the strumming of her fingers. She closes her
eyes as she feels the melody run through her body, picturing the words in her mind before she
sings them out loud.
Much of the crowd has left Jeds due to the other acts, but those who are there place their phones
down as she starts to sing softly, telling the story about the breakup that started her songwriting.
The crowd gets more into it as she starts to sing the chorus, getting more into it with her
emotions intertwining with her voice and the song lyrics. As she finishes the song, clapping from
all around fills the room, and Lauren exits the stage proudly.
Every other week Lauren is trying to showcase her voice and get her name out there to be
known, but she is not alone. There are thousands of artists in Nashville distributing their music
and playing multiple gigs every week to be noticed by record labels in Nashville. Lauren has
been trying for nearly seven years to become noticed by writing songs, recording EPs and
releasing them on iTunes and Spotify, and setting up radio interviews to talk about her music.
She has finally cut her big break by being signed by 9 North Records and is working hard every
day to become a new famous female country artist.
Lauren, 22, switched her middle name, Elizabeth, to Lizabeth for her stage name when her and
her father thought that it would be different and flowed better to drop the E and go for double L
initials. Lauren has been singing since she was a little girl, and always knew that she was born to
become a singer.
I just kinda had that feeling for as long as I could remember that I was going to be a successful
singer, says Lizabeth. I didnt know how, I didnt know when, but I always knew that I would
get there eventually.
Although she always had a passion for singing, Lauren didnt know that she would pursue a
career in country music. Her life was settled on being a performer in Musical Theater, and thats

what she dreamed of. Throughout high school she auditioned for plays and took singing lessons,
but it wasnt until her junior year of high school that she developed an interest in country music.
Her father, Edward, had a mutual contact with a musician named Barry Russo. Russo is from
Warwick, RI and does the accompaniment for church at St. Peter Roman Catholic Church.
He gave Lauren voice lessons a few times, but realized that he wasnt qualified enough to help
Lizabeth out with the level she was at with her voice. He had mentioned to Lauren and her father
about a good friend of his, Shay Watson, and how he was a producer that could help Lauren out
with her singing. He told her to call Shay up and record an EP (Extended Play; A musical
recording containing more tracks than a single, but unqualified to be an album) with him in
At that point we didnt really know what would happen, and my dad and I just wanted to get my
voice recorded, said Lauren. Once they had gotten to Nashville and started recording and
meeting people from websites and bands, they realized that this was spiraling into something
Soon after, Lauren had her own website and Lauren Lizabeth trademark up and running. Her
EP was recorded in 2011 and published to iTunes and Spotify. Over the next few months,
Lauren, her father and Shay used her EP to promote her music for people to hear, sending it to
TV programs and radio shows.
Basically, I would just hand it out to anyone I met, said Lauren. People like to be a part of the
beginning of it; thats why I have investors now, they want to be a part of making other peoples
dreams happeneven if it is just a small part.

History of country music

country music developed in the southeastern states of the United States as a mix of church music,
British Isles, and African American Blues in the 1920s. It is one of the first genres of modern

American popular music. There are at least 1,990 radio stations promoting country music
throughout the United States. The mandolin, the acoustic guitar, the autoharp, the fiddle and the
banjo are the instruments used to play country.
Country music was first recorded with the Carter family. The Carter family became the first stars
of country music with hit songs such as Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By) and
Wildwood Flower. The Carter Family was known as a traditional American folk music group
that had recorded from 1927 until 1956. Their music had an influence on bluegrass, country,
southern gospel, pop and rock musicians and the U.S. folk revival of the 1960s.
They were the first group to become country music stars. The group had sold 300,000 records in
the United States by the first year of recording. The group had figured out that they would
financially benefit from copywriting and producing songs.
June Carter was known as an American actress, comedian, dancer, singer and songwriter. She
was also a member of the Carter Family and the second wife of Johnny Cash. In 2002, she was
ranked number 31 in CMTs 40 Greatest Women in country music, won five Grammy awards
and in 2009 was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame.
June Carter had started performing with the Carter Family at the age of 10 in 1939. When the
Carter family trio stopped recording together at the end of their contract, Junes mother,
Maybelle Carter, formed her own group, Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters with her three
daughters. They aired on the radio station WRNL in Richmond, Va.
At 16, she used comedy to highlight her talent. In 1949, Maybelle and the Carter sisters started to
perform regularly at KWTO with their lead guitarist, Chet Atkins. The manager of the group,
Junes father, Ezra, declined numerous offers from the Grand Ole Opry to move the act to
This was because the Opry would not let Atkins accompany the group onstage, because his
reputation as a guitar player had spread and studio musicians became fearful that he would
displace them as a first-call player if he had moved. In 1950, the Opry gave in, and the group
along with Atkins became part of the Opry company.
Around that same time, a new star was born. Jimmie Rodgers was one of the most powerful
country artists of this time. Jimmie was taught by African Americans, in railroad gangs in which
he worked, how to play the guitar and sing the blues. Rodgers worked on the railroad as a water
boy at 13, and was taught to pick and strum by rail workers and hobos. He was exposed to the
work chants of the African American railroad workers, known as Gandy Dancers. A few years
later, he became a brakeman on the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad. Throughout his
travels with the workers, he had developed a vocal technique called yodeling, and used it in his
first hit record, Blue Yodel, which sold nearly half a million copies in 1927.
In 1924, Rodgers had been diagnosed with tuberculosis at age 27. Although it ended his railroad
career, he began to get into the entertainment industry. He traveled and performed across the
Southeastern United States. In 1927 Rogers, along with Otis Kuykendall performed on WWNC,

Nashevilles first radio show in North Carolina. He then recruited to Bristol, a few month later,
and secured a weekly slot on the Tenneva Ramblers listed as, The Jimmie Rodgers
Entertainers. In July of 1927, Rodgers and his band auditioned for the Victor Talking Machine
Company. Ralph Peer, a representative for the company, loved their audition so much that he
agreed to record them the next day. As the band had fought about financial issues with paying for
the record, they decided to break up. Rodgers arrived at the recording session the next day alone,
and Rodgers completed his first session for Victor in Camden, N.J.
He recorded a few more songs, and in the next two years had sold nearly half a million copies.
This rocketed him to stardom, and he began to sell out shows wherever he played. He toured
around the country over the next few years, recorded and sold more songs, and did a movie short
for Columbia Pictures, called The Singing Brakeman. Within the next few years, Tuberculosis
had gotten the best of Rodgers. He became so weak that he wasnt able to record music and had
to rest on a cot in between songs, and had passed away shortly after. His talent is remembered
throughout country music and all of Nashville as being a strong contributor to the music
produced today.
The Sound
There is a scene in The Blues Brothers movie where Jake and Elwood enter a country music
bar under the guise of being the nights entertainment. When they ask the bartender what kind of
music they like to hear, she responds with Weve got both kinds: Country and Western. Of
course, the gag here is the fact that the Blues Brothers are R&B performers trapped with the
challenge of entertaining a country music crowd. The evening doesnt go especially well for
At the heart of the situation is the fact that country music certainly has its own unique sound.
Born from the likes of folk and gospel music, country has an honest, folksy quality which
includes dower, depressing themes, a slow basic tempo, and slight musical progressions that,
although understated, can delight and entertain.
And then there is the twang. From its very beginning, country had an infusion of yodeling, not
unlike the traditional Swiss sound, which evolved, in time, to something entirely American. This
is the twang, a slight bravado in the voice of the singer that makes each note an oddly
signature sound. Jimmie Rodgers certainly had one; so did Patsy Cline but it was Willie Nelson
who made the twang his only sound. In his signature song, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, he
presents this understated love song with amber hues of gospel and soul but, with each completed
verse, his voice will shudder just a little, dancing lightly over the tone, presenting it with a quiver
of passion and verve.
Western Swing, another form of the country genre, had developed and became popular in
California, Oklahoma and Texas, Western Swing Bands used amplified instruments, such as the
pedal steel guitar to create loud enough music to be heard in large dance halls. Mixture of the
music included Western country music and swing jazz. One of the more popular bands was Bob
Wills and the Texas Playboys.

Another style developed was rockabilly which was created when Western swing bands began to
play R&B songs as well as country songs. Elvis Presley had several rockabilly hits early in his
career, just like Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. Johnny Cash became one of country musics
biggest artists in the 1960s, combining rockabilly with sounds of the Honky Tonk. He was
known as the man in black, because he wore black clothes instead of cowboy clothes to make a
statement for himself.
Honky Tonk music developed in the 1940s in working-class bars near the oil fields of Texas.
Honky Tonk bands included acoustic guitar, pedal steel guitar, fiddle, stand-up bass and drums.
The song lyrics were made to reflect love, loneliness, pain and heartbreak. Hank Williams could
relate to these songs, and was known as country musics greatest singer-songwriter.
Williams was known to drink too much and had a difficult relationship with his wife Audrey.
Williams died at 29 in the backseat of his limo heading to a concert in Cincinnati. Although he
lived a short life, he was known for the hundreds of beautiful and powerful songs he had written,
which became country-music standards such as Lovesick Blues, Cold, I saw the Light, and Cold
Nashville went through a downfall in the mid-1950s, when record companies lost sales to rock
n roll and soul artists topping the charts. For competition, Nashville producers created a new
style that appealed to white adults who didnt like the taste of rock n roll or soul, but didnt buy
country records either.
The new style involved singers with smooth voices singing sweet ballads over orchestral strings
and choirs. Country instruments such as the fiddle, guitar and banjo were not used as often,
which made the plan work; soon the sales of records from Nashville recording companies began
to increase and were back on track, especially for artists such as Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline.
Fans and artists werent happy about the sudden change of country music in Nashville, shortly
after this new style came out. In the early 1960s, artists developed a new style combining
authentic country-music with sounds of Honky Tonk and the rebellious attitude of rockabilly.
Country Rock also began to develop in the mid-1960s. Gram Parsons created some of the earliest
country rock songs when he added piano, rock guitar and elements of folk rock to his bands
Bob Dylan also played a part in mixing elements of country music with his folk rock sound.
Dylan had written poetic folk songs since the early 1960s, and was known for his protest song,
Blowin in the Wind and A Hard Rains a-Gonna Fall. He didnt start making a real countryrock album until 1969 when he recorded his album, Nashville Skyline with Johnny Cash and
other country musicians.
Country-pop developed in the 60s, and is known to be the most prominent style of country music
today. Former rockabilly singer Roy Orbison was known to produce some of the most popular
records made by a country-music artist. His voice was known to be one of the most emotionally
powerful in all of popular music, and he held a major influence on many artists. In the late 60s
and 70s, country pop artists such as Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers became more prominent pop
country artist and had many hit records. Some female artists such as Carrie Underwood, Taylor
Swift and Loretta Lynn have been more successful in the 21 century in pop-country music.

Men v. Women in Country

Shay Watson, a producer in Nashville, has much to say about men vs women in country music.
It all started from the standpoint in the late 90s where there was an oversaturation of women,
says Shay.
Within the next decade, The Bro Movement evolved with a bunch of men getting together and
singing songs about day-to-day partying. Around 2005, album sales massively decreased in
country music. This was due to iTunes and later, Spotify catching up, and singles being bought
rather than the whole album.
Within the music culture, there became a cultural shift. Los Angeles and New York had
previously tied music to other things, rather it be product placements or songs on TV or in
commercials. Nashville was more focused on functioning off of album sales and concert
revenues. Without those extra sources of income, everyones income started to decrease.
This inspired a transition in the record contracts, creating something called the 360 deal.
Record labels were not able to rely on mechanical sales of albums and they needed to find other
sources to make income. The 360 deal was record labels asking the artist for a portion of concert
merchandise, a portion of revenue from going to shows, and portions of much more.
In the 1990s, anyone with a country twang started to get signed. This was because labels would
create developmental deals where they would develop an artist over a few albums that they knew
were going to fail but pretended that the albums would sell. Meaning that even if the artist wasnt
good enough to go on to become famous, a label would convince the artist into the deal in order
to collect revenue. Labels wouldnt make a profit over the decreasing sales and failed albums, so
they would make a binding contract with the artist stating that they wanted to take a portion of
everything that the artist would make and sign them to a five option deal. The contract would
state that the artist could create five albums with the label, but the label could at any time back
out after the first album. If the first single flopped, the label would cut off the deal.
What you saw was a revolving door of artists, says Shay.
But at the same time of all this happening, there was a shift away from females being signed. The
Bro Country Movement developed, which attracted more of an audience to listen to country
music. Radio stations began playing it safe and catering towards the lowest common
Radios began to see a pattern in what most attracted their audiences. Anything with words such
as, Sitting at a tailgate drinking lots of beer appealed to audiences and made them turn up the
volume and listen. Females even started to listening to male country singers rather than other
If youre a girl and youre riding with your guy and you turn up the radio, you want him to
listen to another guy, not a girl and how great shes going to be, says Shay. Radios listeners
wanted guy singers, so we stopped signing females.

The Change in country music

I think that of all of the music out there, country is by far the best, said Lauren. We tell the
best stories.
Country music used to be very strict, sticking to a folk, bluegrass and blues genre. But country
music is evolving into something new: something insiders call the Bro Movement. The Bro
in this case, of course, refers to music featuring male singers. And the themes are often male
related passions. The music consists of more upbeat and melodic music, appealing to all
audiences. As for the content, the Bro Movement includes lyrics about tailgating, drinking beer,
partying and/or winning or losing pretty girls. Think Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Luke
Bryan, and youll better understand the evolution. Heck, even Garth Brooks is back.
Its all about the hook, says Lauren, referring to the meaning of the song and the words behind
Pop-Country, which is also the newest style of country music is continuously evolving. Pop
country is written with a beat that makes any audience want to sing along to with a catchy
In Nashville, there is no competition when it comes to country singers. The collaboration is what
makes Nashville so unique from any of the other music cities. Lauren says that every musician is
so supportive of one another to help them out with their music.
Were all here for the same reason. We all have the same things to give because were all in the
same arena, says Lauren, referring to the music industry. She says that country celebrities pop
up all over Nashville, but the citizens do their part to respect one another and to not make them
uncomfortable in their own hometown.
I usually stay pretty calm if I ever see a celebrity like Hunter Hayes, says Lauren. But Ill
definitely fangirl if I see Carrie Underwood or Celine Dion.
Because the Bro Movement is still so big in country music, it has closed down the doors for
upcoming female country singers.
On May 26, 2015, Country Air Check magazine interviewed Keith Hill, a top radio station
consultant, about radio scheduling. In the interview, Hill gave some advice on identifying
common problems and giving useful tips to help stations sound their best. One of Hills useful
tips included taking females out of the playlist.
Hill had stated in his magazine interview, If you want to make ratings in Country radio, take
females out. The reason is mainstream Country radio generates more quarter hours from female
listeners at the rate of 70 to 75 percent, and women like male artists. Im basing that not only on
music tests from over the years, but more than 300 client radio stations. The expectation is were
principally a male format with a smaller female component. Ive got about 40 music databases in
front of me and the percentage of females in the one with the most is 19 percent.

What Hill said next outraged all listeners:

Trust me, I play great female records and the weve got some right now; theyre just not the
lettuce in our salad, Hill is quoted saying in the article. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake
Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.
After this interview was broadcasted, many radio stations reached out to Country Air Check that
they stopped playing female country music. Labels were looking for men country singers and
turning great female musicians away. Now, there are more women in country than ever, fighting
for a chance to be heard and to make country music more female dominated.
It's good that we're all trying to change the perception of country as just a male driven genre,
says Lauren. It came about at the perfect time for women in movement because I wouldnt be
getting my shot to be a singer.
Country Radio
In the 1930s, when television was not around for entertainment, American families would sit
together and listen to the radio almost every night. One of the most popular programs was a live
country variety show called, The Grand Ole Opry.
Nashville built on of the largest insurance companies in the country, with the slogan We Shield
Millions. The company decided to start a radio station that sold insurance to hillbillies and
needed programming. The station decided to produce country music and gave the station the call
letters, WSM.
Western music was also featured on the show, which was a style of horse-like clip-clop rhythms
and songs describing lovesick cowboys and gun-fighting outlaws.
This type of music became more prominent in the 1930s and 1940s when the Hollywood cowboy
movie, Westerns, came out. Singing cowboys including Gene Autry and Roy Rogers became
huge country-music stars, which made Nashville executives decide that the cowboy image was
better for country music than the hillbilly image of old-time music. Country and Western
music was renamed and the musicians of the show started to dress in cowboy clothing.
During the modern era, radio was Nashvilles vehicle to being known as the Music City. Various
small stations were created in the 1920s, but in 1925 WSM was launched by the National Life &
Accident Insurance Co. They reinforced growth over the next 50 years and created conditions
that made the music industry possible. WLAC was born in 1926, when National Life sparked
imitation at its competitor company Life & Casualty.
Each station earned power, clear-channel status from the federal government, to assure that
Nashville music would be heard across the U.S. over two powerhouse radio signals. Meaning
that if you were a musician, two big outlets in Nashville might put you on the air and even pay
you. The big city then became a magnet for talent.

During the Depression, both of the stations WSM and WLAC grew. They were both dedicated
corporate citizens during World War II covering the war and pursued public service on the home
front. During the prosperous post-war era, the stations two decades of producing live music
shows shaped the new Nashville.
WSM proved to be a veritable business incubator, as its employees spun off the first major
music publisher in the city (Acuff-Rose), the first recording studio (Castle), and the first
independent recording label (Bullet) and the first artist book agency, which broke away from the
Grand Ole Opry.
The biggest hit was recorded in 1947 by WSM band leader Francis Craig, recording Near You
in WSM studios and realizing it by WSM alumnus Jim Bullet on his new record label, Bullet
Nashville was given its first million-dollar seller, with all home-grown talent. In 1950, WSM
announcer David Cobb proclaimed Nashville to be Music City USA.
In the late 1950s, the country music Association was launched as a reorganization of the shortlived Music Disc Jockeys Association. The CMA became widely successful in encouraging and
inspiring radio stations around the country to adopt a country music format, which rose from a
few dozen in the 60s to more than 2,000 today. The CMA awards grew into a major live event
that moved over the decades from NBC to CBS to ABC where it is currently hosted, began as an
untelevised ceremony at Nashvilles Municipal Auditorium in 1967. In 1972 the CMA Music
Festival was born as a collaboration between the CMA and owners of WSM. It was known as
Fan Fair during the long run at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, becoming famous for its live
shows and marathon autograph sessions by country stars. In 2004, the name was changed to the
CMA Music Festival and ABC began to air an annual highlights special that features its main
stage in the Tennessee Titans home, LP field.
The Iceman
During Laurens freshman year of college at Marymount in Manhattan, NY, she recorded and
produced her second EP. Shortly after the songs were finished being edited, Lauren and Shay
decided to scratch the entire EP and try again because Lauren thought that she could do better
and the songs were not sung at her fullest potential. They flew back down in January of her
sophomore year to record once again, and was released a few months later.
The Iceman, also known as Robert Golomboski, featured on his station, Best Country Radio, had
heard Laurens song and really liked it. He had then found her contact information and reached
out to her to set up an on-air interview. Lauren became nervous and excited, because this was her
first interview having to do with her own music.
The Iceman's show is one of the top in New England that brings the top mainstream artists and
legends of country music together to broadcast while also including upcoming new country
artists in the world. The show also has a feature of a country chart that includes top 40 on his
show. On his website, artists can send in their music to have it placed onto the show with a
potential interview to showcase off the artist.

When I got there, the Iceman had said to me, So the guy that I was supposed to interview next
just backed out so youre up! and I realized that in just a few minutes I would be doing my
first ever interview on air and I was not prepared at all.
She started to panic thinking of what to say, but soon started to get comfortable after talking for a
few minutes.
It was the best thing that happened to me because it pushed me into it and I didnt have to think
about it or be nervous, and I was so fortunate to have such a great first experience on the radio
about my music. Everyone her family members and friends tuned in to hear her and realized
that Lauren was cut out to be in the music industry.
Lauren said that the game had changed since that night on the radio. She had gotten hundreds of
people liking her Facebook page, and people following her on Instagram and twitter. The next
week. She had made the Iceman's top 40 list with her song, Cant Kill a Memory.
That was the night that everything changed, said Lauren. After the interview, Shay was so
blown away by how professional Lauren had sounded and knew that she was cut out to be the
real deal. Shay called me and said that he thinks its time to record a third EP.
A week before the Ice Man show, Lauren went through her first heartbreak in 2014. After nine
months of what seemed to be a loving relationship in for the long run, it ended due to long
distance being too hard for Laurens boyfriend. This was the most crucial time of my career,
said Lauren. Lauren used the feeling of heartbreak and her emotions to start writing her own
songs for her third EP. A week after the show, she sent down to Shay a draft of her first-ever
written song, Light a Match.
When I sent down my first draft of my song, Shay was really impressed. He told me that I was
so far ahead of where he was at my age when he began recording music, and told me to keep
working at it because this song could turn into something really great for me.
She soon started to work on Light a Match with Shay and co-writer, Bill DiLuigi during a
Skype session. She soon started to write other songs and compile them within a couple months,
and went down in May of 2014 to record her third EP.
The Session Town

Quonset Hut studio was built in 1958 by WSM bandleader and music director Owen Bradley and
his brother Harold Bradley, making the first business on Music Row. The brothers had bought an
old house known as 16th Avenue and Hawkins Street in the 1950s.
The two than acquired a Quonset-hut style building from Army surplus (which was invented in
Rhode Island) and put it behind the home. Initially, they started to record in the basement of the
house, but outgrew the space and recorded in the hut, known as Studio B. Albert Gannaway,
producer, used the space to shoot episodes for the show, Stars of the Grand Ole Opry and
brought in a crew from Los Angeles.
There was a pinging sound inside of the hut that the brothers worked around, until Gannaway
suggested putting in wooden floors and taking out the tile. Harold Bradley had said that changing
the floors to wood made the hut one of the best recording studios he had ever worked in. In 1962,
the Quonset Hut studio was sold to Columbia Records. The hut was closed in 1982 and was used
for office space for Columbia. In later years, it was sold to Mike Curb in 2009 for university
students pursuing a career in music.
Nashville was known in the early 60s as the top recording center in the U.S. outside of Los
Angeles and New York. country music was known as the citys core business, making it hardly a
monopoly. Icons such as Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley sought out Nashville to be a place with
quality studios, world- class musicians and producers and historic vibes that couldnt be created
anywhere else.
The city was a hub of R&B and blues from the late 1940s to the 1970s, describing it as the
country music Hall of Fames long running special exhibit Night Train to Nashville. WLAC
radio station contained several black and white DJs that began to play black music late at night.
Gene Nobles, Hoss Allen and Don Whitehead spun Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and B.B. King to
the delight of a growing audience of fascinated fans across the Eastern U.S.
These broadcasts were inspiring to various iconic careers, such as Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis
and Levon Helm of the Band. Record labels such as Excello, Republic, and Bullet were in
motion to release the music. Randys Record Shop and Ernies Record Mart (both sponsors on

WLAC) were built to move the music to customers. Clubs were bumping with music of Ray
Charles, Etta James and Jimi Hendrix.
Country music also goes through phases of cycling through trends in fashion and style. The socalled Outlaws singers included Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, etc. Outlaw
country is a subgenre of country music that was popular during the 70s and early 80s, and was
also referred to as the outlaw movement or outlaw music. The roots come from earlier subgenres
such as Honky Tonk and rockabilly while characterized by a blend of rock and folk rhythms,
country instrumentation and introspective lyrics.
The outlaws fought for their right and won to oversee their own production and to use their own
bands. This broke some of the creative grip the labels had on music Row. This is an area located
southwest of downtown Nashville, Tenn. It is the home to hundreds of businesses related to
Contemporary Christian music, country music, and gospel music industries.
Music Row is considered the heart of Nashvilles entertainment industry. In the area of 16th and
17th Avenues South along with several side streets, one would find the offices of various record
labels, publishing houses, and other businesses that serve the music industry and radio networks
and stations. The movement of outlaw music began as a reaction to the popular structures and
slick production of The Nashville Sound.
The Sound was created around the same time that the Quonset Hut was built. The Nashville
Sound referred to a new wave of production in country music. It was spearheaded by Owen
Bradley and Chet Atkins that added strings, background vocals and pop music techniques to
stripped-down hillbilly music sessions.
It was created to compete for adult ears while rock and roll soaked up all the attention (and
fortune) of Americas youth. The Nashville Sound produced country musics first ever
crossover stars like Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, Ferlin Husky and Patsy Cline.
Curb Records, one of the biggest recording studios in music history, is an independent record
label founded by Mike Curb in 1963, formerly known as Sidewalk Records. From 1969 to 1973,
Curb had merged with MGM Records. Curb records still holds a partnership in Word Records
from than-owners Time Warner, even though Time Warners stake was sold to newly formed
spin-off Warner Music Group in 2004.
Throughout the years, the Curb Companies have had major successes with many artists including
The Osmond Family, Stone Poneys, The Righteous Brothers, etc. Curb has also had success with
Gospel music artists such as MercyMe, Building 429, Jaci Valasquez, Mark Schultz, etc. Bruc
Records, the sister rock label of Curb, was launched in 2006. The name is an acronym for,
Blues, Rock, Urban, Country.
Curb Records supports many charitable programs through the Mike Curb Family Foundation. It
is very active in Education including the Curb Center at Vanderbilt, the Curb College for Music
Business at Belmont University, the Curb College of Arts, etc.

Curb has used Curbs Educational Projects, to purchase and restore Elvis Presleys first home
in Memphis, TN, the Johnny Cash museum in Nashville, TN and the Historic Quonset Hut.
These historic places are being used by students at various Curb supported colleges and
universities for studying music history.
Jimmy Bowen became a dominant figure as a label executive and record producer, when he
moved to Nashville from Los Angeles in the 1970s. He brought West Coast ambition and
connections that set the tone for an influx of similarly-oriented business people. He fought for
bigger recording budgets, championed digital recording and gave artists a larger role in
producing their albums. He influenced the blockbuster careers of Reba McEntire, George Strait,
and Oklahoman Garth Brooks.
Brooks became the face for Nashville in the 1990s. He was known to redefine success in country
music, and hit unprecedented benchmarks for sales and concert appearances. He pulled along a
whole generation of new stars, and made his way up to becoming the second-biggest selling solo
album artist in music history, after Elvis.
But for a little while, the industry crashed based on a variety of forces such as widespread songsharing on the internet, making album sales decline through the first decade of the 21 century.
Labels had closed or consolidated, and the decade saw the number of people working in
mainstream record labels and publishing companies cut in half.
Because of this, Nashville has been regaining their status. Independent companies have found
success, such as Big Machine Records and their discovery and backing of country music
superstar, Taylor Swift. Music City began to develop national and international rock stars, like
Kings of Leon and Paramore.

The city is reprising the 50s and 60s, when music was handled by local business with national
ambitions and anything is possible. The story of Music City in the 21 century is transitioning
with new material, new artists, and better talent than never before.

Music Produced
In Nashville, 75 percent of music being produced has to do with the songwriting bit. country
music is all about the story, and collaboration is a big part in getting music produced.
Co-writing is big in Nashville, whereas in LA and New York, everything is done separately.
People in Nashville like to get together in a big room and spend hours collaborating and sharing
ideas with one another. This comes from the standpoint of old school writing, where writers
bounce ideas off of one another which takes a lot longer to write a song.
Two to three people usually get together and hash out ideas, with usually one or two people
strumming away at the guitar until they find a pattern thats catchy enough to write lyrics to it.
After the song is written which could take several weeks, it then escalates to the songwriter
pitching songs to the artist, until the artist finds one that has an emotional connect with him/ her
and fits their voice.

For pop country artists as a producer, I generally will start programming tracks and get the basic
forum of the song by tracking the drums and the base before the rest of the band comes in, says
Then, you get the live band to come in and you track and record them. Generally, after those
tracks are recorded, you get the singer to come in and record his/ her voice. This involves
recording multiple verses of vocal parts. I then sift through the files and polish them, editing
everything. I sift through about 25 tracks of vocals per song and splice the best parts together. I
consolidate them and then do overdubs, where I sit and listen and ask myself what other
instruments should be included. I then get a mixing engineer into the studio to mix the tracks.
After all this is done, I master the song and post it to the web. Shay also puts the songs onto an
album to give them away to spread word around of the artists music.
You never know what hands your music will end up in, says Shay.

Record Deal
After Lauren's third EP was recorded and published, it was time to move on to something bigger.
Shay knew of a man named Pareigis, Founder/President and CEO of 9 North Records. Shays
wife, Claire Watson, worked with Larry at a former job at Sony Records, and the two had met
when Clair introduced her husband to Larry because of music purposes.
Larry had started with a radio career in Savannah, Ga. after graduating with honors from Middle
Tennessee State Universitys School of Mass Communications. After working in radio, Larry
went on to work for the newly- rejuvenated Monument Records label under the Sony Nashville
Larry was responsible for the breaking acts of the Dixie Chicks, Gretchen Wilson, Miranda
Lambert and many more. In 2007 after Larry had left the company, he founded 9 North Records,
which is Nashvilles first virtual record label that provides promotion and marketing services
to country artists.

Shay had never brought any of the upcoming artists that he was working with to Larry, but knew
that Lauren was the real deal and was all into making her dream become a reality. While Lauren
was in Nashville for a photoshoot for the cover of her newest EP, Shay had scheduled a meeting
with Larry.
Both Lauren and Shay werent too optimistic of what would happen, since Larry was known not
to take 99 percent of the meeting that people try to set up with him. But, Larry had accepted. And
while the meetings were known to typically be short, Lauren ended up spending two hours in
Larrys office talking to him about her music and the path that she wanted to take with it.
I remember Larry talking and saying throughout the meeting, This is what were going to do,
rather then, Ok if you're signed this could happen.
Two hours later as Lauren was sitting at the bar of J Alexanders with friends having drinks,
Larry had called telling Lauren that she was in.
That was one of the best days of my life, that was the start of my future.
Country Star Hall of Fame
Roy Acuff was best known as the King of country music. He had done weekly performances at
the Grand Ole Opry with his band, the Smoky Mountain Boys. When Acuff was younger, his
father and him used to sing in the church choir while playing the mouth harp and harmonica.
Although he was not especially talented or a passionate musician as a boy, Acuff insisted that his
father's fiddle playing made a lasting impression on him. Those tones in the wee hours of the
morning just before daylight, before we went out to feed, it was something. It built something in
me that I have never forgotten.
Acuff had endured many health problems in his 20s, and used the time healing to dedicate
himself to learn to play the fiddle and improve his singing voice. He was inspired by music from
John Carson, Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers.
After he had restored full health, Acuff started a music band called the Tennessee Crackerjacks,
gaining an impressive local following within a few years and became fixtures on local radio
programs. They changed their names in 1936 to the Crazy Tennesseans and recorded several
songs for the American Record Company including their first huge hit, The Great Speckled
In 1938 Acuff had his big break when he and his band were invited to perform at the Grand Ole
Opry, which was known as a weekly Nashville stage show that was broadcasted over the radio
on Saturday nights live. It was by far the countrys most popular and prestigious country music
program. The performance was so successful that Acuff was used immediately to become a
regular performer and became the shows most popular act.
In 1962, Roy Acuff was put into the country music Hall of Fame as the first living member. He
remained to sing for war veterans and performing every weekend at the Grand Ole Opry until his
dying days, when he had passed away at the age of 89 in 1992.

Around the same time, Patsy Cline was founded. She was a celebrated country singer, best
known for her crossover hits such as Crazy and Walking After Midnight. In the early 1960s,
Cline became a great success on the country and pop charts.
She joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee which was a true sign of her
place in country music. In 1962, Cline started to perform with Johnny Cash and joined his tour.
She became supportive for other female country artists, such as Loretta Lynn, helping with their
careers throughout her life until she passed.
Chet Atkins, former co-owner of The nashville Sound, was known to be a songwriter, guitarist
and record producer along with Owen Bradley, Bob Ferguson, and many others. He had a
distinctive picking style and his musicianship brought him admirers around the country scene
both in the United States and internationally.
He produced records for many celebrities including Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, etc.
He received 14 Grammy Awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also had
received nine country music Association awards for being the Instrumentalist of the year. He is
featured in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the country music Hall of Fame, and the Musicians
Hall of Fame and Museum.
Owen Bradley, co-creator of The Nashville Sound, was a famous American record producer. He
recorded some of the biggest talents of the day working for Paul Cohen at Decca Records.
He eventually began to produce records on his own, and became vice president of Deccas
Nashville division in 1958, when his mentor had left the label. Owen Bradley was also co-creator
of the Quonset Hut Studio.
In 1961, after Bradley had sold the Quonset Hut to Columbia records (which is now a division of
Sony Music Entertainment,) he bought a farmhouse and converted it into a demo studio. The
studio was named, Bradleys Barn and became a legendary recording venue in country music.
The studio was set on fire and burned to the ground in 1980, but was rebuilt by Bradley a few
years later in the same location. Bradley was inducted into the country music Hall of Fame in
1974, and retired from production in the 1980s.
Dolly Parton, one of the biggest country singers in Nashville, took her glamorous look to
television in the time that featured more middle-of-the-road country stars. Parton was known for
her physical attribute which had attracted many to watch her on television and to make her
known as the big star that she is.
Dolly Parton is an American singer and songwriter, as well as an actress, author, businesswoman,
and humanitarian known for her work in country music. She is the most honored female country
performer of all the time. She has achieved 25 RIAA certified hold, platinum, and multi-platinum
She has had 25 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, making it a record for female
artists. She has 41 career top 10 country albums( a record for any artist), and 110 career charted

singles over the past 40 years. She has earned eight Grammy Awards, two Academy Award
nominations, 10 country music Association Awards, seven Academy of country music Awards,
three American Music Awards, and is one of seven female artists to win the country music
Associations Entertainer of the year award. In 1999, Parton was inducted into the country music
Hall of Fame.
In her earlier years, Parton was brought up in the Church of God, performing in her church at the
age of six. She began to perform as a child singing on local radio and television programs in the
Eastern Tennessee area. At age 10, she appeared on The Walker Show on WIVK Radio and
WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee.
She started to record at 11 on a small Louisiana label, Goldband Records, and appeared at the
Grand Ole Opry where she met Johnny Cash who had encouraged her to follow her own career
path. In 1964, the day that she had graduated high school, she moved to Nashville to follow her
path to becoming a star.
Her initial success started as a songwriter, where she had signed with Combine Publishing
shortly after her move. She wrote several sharing singles with her songwriting partner and uncle,
Bill Owens. In 1965, she signed with Monument Records at age 19, initially pitched as a
bubblegum pop singer.
Although she wanted to record country music material, her hit song, Happy, Happy Birthday
Baby did not crack the Billboard Hot 100, and Monument thought that her unique voice with
her strong vibrato was not suited to the country genre.
In 1966, her composition, Put it Off Until Tomorrow, hit No. 6 on the country chart, allowing
the label to let her record country music. After her other songs hit the billboards, she rose to
prominence in 1967 as a featured performer on singer Porter Wagoners weekly TV program.
She began to record more songs and acted on other TV programs, and eventually branched out
into pop music. She then returned in 1987 to country roots, and started up her own company,
Dolly Parton Records in 2007.
On March 6, 2016, Parton announced that she would be going on tour in support of her newest
album, Pure & Simple. It will be one of the biggest tours within the United States in over 25
years, with 64 dates planned in the United States and Canada.
Singers Becoming Famous
In the early 1900s, artists were the stars in their hometown/ local area. They started to play gigs a
little further out with citizens of their town encouraging them to pursue their dream and to start
recording an album. But very few started to make albums because the expenses were a lot greater
than they are now. Typically, $70,000 was the cost to create an album because people didnt have
digital work stations to record. Producers charged hourly, weeding artists away from creating
albums because of the cost.
At this time, A&R scouts (Artists & Repertoire), were people seeking out artists that were
making investments out of their own pockets. They wanted to sign artists that were already

making a name for themselves by touring and creating albums, rather than those sitting around
and waiting for help.
There was a shift that occurred when anyone could become a music creator with programs such
as Logic, Protools, Garageband, etc. The market began to saturate when people started to make
music and record it within their own homes. Nowadays, people arent just getting signed based
off of their talent, but of their popularity on social media.
Social media can get you far where you just have to have something that attracts and attaches to
the public and that interests them, and there you gain popularity, says Shay.
Talent shows on tv can also make an artist famous, including American Idol, The Voice and
Americas Got Talent. These shows market to the public in a quicker fashion to build a
The Ryman Auditorium

The Ryman is a historical monument in Nashville, TN that people from all over go the country
go to experience the life and history that celebrities bring to the stage.
Thomas Ryman was a steamboat tycoon in Nashville. After the civil war, entrepreneurs such as
Ryman started steamboat businesses on the Cumberland and Mississippi rivers. Located in the
steamboats were casinos, bar rooms and dancing girls. His business was booming, until he had
met Sam Jones.
Reverend Jones was raised in Cartersville, Ga. Jones developed alcoholism when a bottle got the
best of him throughout his promising career as a lawyer. He neglected his family and business,
and would get thrown out of bars for drunken uproars and forgetting to pay his tab. One day,
Jones looked in the mirror and didnt like what he had turned into. He prayed to God and
promised his dying father that he would turn his life around.

Jones had taken up the ministry and began preaching in tent revivals around the country. He
reached several million people and converted over 500,000 within the next 20 years.
One day, Tom Ryman along with his children, went to one of Jones meetings. when Jones
started to talk about mothers, it cut Ryman to the core because of his real love for his mother.
The sermon changed Rymans view of life, making him want to change and provide a better life
for his children and himself.
After the revival, Ryman decided to give the down payment for a tabernacle in Nashville for
Jones to preach at. He never wanted Sam to preach in a tent again when he came to Nashville,
but instead a huge auditorium to have hundreds of people gather in to hear his words.
Three years later, the money was raised to begin construction on the Union Gospel Tabernacle.
Ryman started to no longer sell liquor or allow gambling on his steamboats, after being accepted
by Christ. Even without the revenue from those sources, he still became the most successful
shipping magnate in the south. He began to build a mansion on a hill, where he could watch the
ships sail up and down the Cumberland River.
Over the next decade, both Jones and Ryman became good friends. But in 1904, Ryman had
passed away. The eulogy was done by Jones, who called a vote during the funeral to change the
name of the tabernacle to the Ryman Auditorium.
About 40 years later, the Grand Ole Radio Show moved into the Ryman and from 1943 to 1974,
the Ryman was synonymous with country music and a few Rock n Roll gigs. In 1993, Gaylord
Entertainment began an eight million dollar renovation of the Ryman to hold it open and have
people continue to perform there today.
The Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country-music stage concert located in Nashville, TN. It was
founded by George Hay in 1925 as a one-hour radio barn dance on WSM radio. It is now
currently owned and operated by Opry Entertainment and is the longest-running radio broadcast
in United States history.
The Opry serves as dedication to honoring country music and its history, and the Opry showcase
includes a mix of famous singers and contemporary chart- toppers that perform music such as
bluegrass, comedic performances, country, folk, gospel and skits. Hundreds of thousands of
visitors from around the world and millions of radio and internet listeners tune in to the Opry
station. Performances at the Opry have also been sporadically televised in addition to the radio
The Ryman Auditorium, formerly known as the Grand Ole Opry House and the Union Gospel
Tabernacle, is a live performance venue, including 2,362 seats. It is now owned and operated by
Ryman Hospitality Properties along with the Grand Ole Opry itself.
When the Grand Ole Opry separated as its own entertainment building, the Ryman faced
demolition. The WSM president, Irving Waugh revealed that his intent was to use the materials

of the Ryman to construct a chapel at the amusement park called, The Little Church of
Theatrical producer, Jo Mielziner commented on the demolition of the Ryman saying that the
theatre has no value and is not worth restoring. This was also supported by Roy Acuff, who had
concluded on the poor conditions of the Ryman center.
Many historic preservation groups argued that National Life & Accident and Acuff exaggerated
the conditions of the center, saying that the company was worried that attachment to the building
would hurt the new business at the Opry House.
The outcry led the building being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. The
United States Senators, Howard Baker and Bill Brock, along with the United States Department
of the Interior, came to an agreement with National Life & Accident to preserve the building. The
building was saved from demolition, yet no active efforts were made to improve the condition of
the Ryman.
The Ryman sat vacant and deteriorated for 20 years, and the surrounding neighborhood
continued to see the building decay. The Auditorium still has much significance and an impact in
Nashville and is an attraction for tourists to see and walk around in. In 1989, Gaylord
Entertainment bought the auditorium and started construction to beautify the exterior. Concerts
were than performed in 1991, and in 1992 the entire auditorium was renovated and expanded to
create modern amenities for performers and audiences.
In 1998, the Opry held a benefit show at the Ryman Auditorium to make its return to the venue
since its last show on 1974. A decision was made to host the Oprys regular shows in 1999 as
part of a celebration that commemorated 25 years at the new venue.
In 2012, the stage of the Auditorium was replaced after a 61-year run. The Ryman serves as a
gathering place for the memorial service for many prominent country music figures, as well as
putting on weekly shows by the Opry Entertainment Group.
The auditorium also plays host to Opry Country Classics every spring and autumn, and each
summer Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman are held; all being broadcasted on WSM.
National Life that owned and operated the Grand Ole Opry and WSM, created The Nashville
Network that put country artists and the country music lifestyle on national TV around the world.
The rapid grown of the country music business and the growth of the network over the next 20
years grew to unimaginable heights.
Last May, Lauren had moved to Nashville right after she graduated college to pursue her singing
career. She moved in with her producer, Shay and his wife for about a month, while looking for
an apartment. Not only is living on your own at 21 a nerve-racking and lonely experience, its
also too expensive for a student right out of college. Her father helps her financially to pay for
her bills so she can put all of her concentration into her music.

Since I was born, theyve always supported me with music, says Lauren.
When she lived at home, her parents would always hear her singing through the walls of their
home. Whenever she wasnt singing, they always knew that something was wrong with her. They
said that the hardest part about her moving to New York City for college was not being able to
hear her sing.
My dad and I went to go see a show a couple of years back at the Grand Ole Opry, said
Lauren. We made a pact together that I wouldnt go back to see a show and neither would he
until I was playing there.

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