Country Music has a rich history as a genre built from a combination of American folk, roots, blues and Western. Today, the genre crosses many boundaries from its traditional roots with Country Rock, and Country Pop leading a charge in the genre charts across the world. While many traditionalist fans disagree with the growing breadth of the genre, the ever-building sub-genres are bringing a new generation of Country music fans and artists into the industry.
Typically, a sub-genre is classified by the musical tonality or inspirations which derive a piece of music. In the case of Country related sub-genres, the classifications can range from the musical tonality of a track to the techniques deployed in the songwriting process. For example, Country-Pop music is often characterised by the sound of classical country being interwoven with modern day popular rhythmic beats. There are many great examples of popular Country-Pop tracks leading the charge for the genre, particularly those from the late 90’s and early 00’s. Individual artists can also be attributed for building sub-genres. For Country-Pop, Shania Twain and Taylor Swift were the early pioneers.
Country Pop-Punk (or Pop-Rock) is being built following the growth in artists taking inspiration from the Pop-Punk sounds of the 00’s and early 2010’s. Inspirations often quoted by the new wave of artists include Panic At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Weezer, Blink 182 and more. The sub-genre is characterised by the combination of the lyrical storytelling often associated with Country music, combined with the percussion and electric guitar driven tones of the Punk sub-genre.
Female artists are leading the charge for the sub-genre with artists such as Cassadee Pope, Taylor Acorn and Kalie Shorr producing expertly blended tracks combining a range of elements from both genre sets. Cassadee Pope is particularly well versed in the Pop-Punk industry following her previous stint as lead singer of Hey Monday during the late 00’s. While artists such as Taylor Acorn are taking their lyrical storytelling from the world of Country music and moving into the alternative/indie genres introducing further genre crossovers to her repertoire.
Although the sub-genre is still young, it has great promise to introduce a new generation of fans to the Country genre. There is bound to be an array of discourse on which truly is and is not ‘Country’ but any way in which new fans can be introduced to the genre is surely a good thing for all involved. Whether they are fans, labels and artists alike.