Country Blues started in the 1920s as an expression and natural progression of the black field cries and work chants. Originally recorded by lone performers self accompanied on acoustic guitar like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson and Big Bill Broonzy who never really achieved recognition until after their deaths.
The style had something of a resurgance during the 1950s folk music revival and has become popular with a host of well known artists writing and performing acoustic tracks like Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Catfish Keith, Keb Mo, Leon Redbone, Ry Cooder, James Blood Ulmer and Eric Clapton to name but a few!
One of the most respected books on the subject The Country Blues: Roots of Jazz by Samuel Charters, was first published in 1959 attempts to reconstruct its evolution and dissemination from its emergance at the Mississippi Delta to the rock and roll recordings of Elvis Presley.
With it's roots in the blues, Country & Western music has spread across the world from it's bluegrass origins in the US. Whilst Nashville and the 'Grand Ol' Opry' may be the center of country music both the genre and it's popularity in the UK have grown and changed with the times. The likes of Dolly Parton, Lorretta Lyn, Johnny Cash and Don Williams have been joined by more rock orientated artists like Willie Nelson, The Eagles, Linda Rhonstadt and more recently Richard Marx, Sheryl Crow and Shania Twain.
The music was originally played at barn dances, parties and bars in the US with instruments like the banjo, fiddle, guitar, ukulele, concertina, washboard, harmonica, dobro, pedal steel guitar and even spoons, but over the years bands and producers have experimented successfully with a wide range of brass, strings and wind instruments to create different styles and flavours within the Country genre and todays country scene encompasses both traditional and modern artists performing in venues ranging from the local pub to theatres and stadiums worldwide.
Browse the links below to find country music related sites and associations or visit the Country MP3 Charts & New Releases section to hear the latest music online.
Country Music Associations
B.C. Country Music Association
Membership, events, news, history & links are provided at the associations site which runs annual competitions, showcases and awards for country singers, bands, musicians and songwriters in B.C.
British Country Music International Organisation
promotes country music in Britain. Site includes artists, agents, festivals, clubs, line dancing, fan clubs and other music related activity.
Canadian Country Music Association
The CCMA site contains artist photos, hall of fame, industry links, membership services and information on the CCMA Awards and Country Music Week.
Country Music Association
CMA based in Nashville US hosts the annual CMA Awards and Country Music Fan Fair. The site contains information and news for past, present and future events, links to member sites ranging from artists, managers and publishers to labels, retailers, broadcasting, organisations and websites.
Manitoba Country Music Association
Membership information, events, bi-yearly newsletter and links to related sites.
Nashville Songwriters Association International
NSAI is the world's largest not for profit songwriting organisation whos membership spans the US and 5 other countries who are dedicated to protecting the rights and serving aspiring and professional songwriters in all genres of music. Merbers receive song evaluation, songwriting workshops with publishers, songwriters, other music industry professionals and the NSAI staff. The site contains articles and advice for songwriters, open mic listings, events, industry links, membership info and members only chatroom, messageboard and travel center.
Saskatchewan Country Music Association
Non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion, development and enhancement of all aspects of Saskatchewan Country Music at local, national and international levels. They endeavour to create venues, events and host awards for local artists. The site contains information about the association, membership and awards with links to local artists, radio stations, organisations, record labels and related sites.
Country Music and More
Country and line dance holidays overseas and in the UK, festival planner, western wear, retailers, country artist agencies, british country magazines and clubs (some links/pages are broken or under construction.
BBC Radio 2 Country
Radio 2 Country website contains an essential guide to country music including reviews, news and program details.
CleverJoe's Canadian Musicians Resource
Contains A-Z guide to the Canadian music community, articles, news and product reviews.
Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, the site provides information about the museum, hall of fame news, journal of country music, tours, music history and merchandise.
Country Radio Broadcasters
CRS are brought from around the world together with the country music industry for the purpose of assuring the continued vitality of the country radio format. Seminars, scholarships and awards are some of the services provided by this organisation.
Great American Song Contest
Created by songwriters, this contest offers opportunities to have your songs heard by qualified music professionals and advance your songwriting career. A variety of catagories are available including one for Lyrics Only. Instead of just one or two prizes, everyone who enters gets a song evaluation from professionals and there are lots of prizes in each catagory.
Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame
Aims to develop and promote publich interest in country music and its history in Ottowa Valley and elsewhere in Canada. The site contains pictures of latest inductees, products, members list, past and future events, instruments and links to related sites. (some sections are still under construction).
The Country Blues
Online resource provides artist reviews and information about the country blues scene.
Home of the Top 35 New Country Countdown. (Currently under reconstruction).
Influential artists, songs and lyrics.