Country music has a long history that is grounded in tradition with deep roots in the South. Nashville has long been known as the country music mecca. Country has long been a separate genre paralleling pop music. Artists such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Tammy Wynette defined country music with their distinctive style and sound. Music has evolved as well as technologies and methods for purchasing music such as downloading which has become the most popular means for obtaining music.
With all the changes in music it has become apparent that the distinction between genres is becoming a little cloudy. The emergence of new artists whose music has more of a pop feel but yet still deemed country has blurred the lines significantly. These artists are played on both country and pop stations and top the charts in both categories. The success of these artists is apparent when you look at the awards won, albums sold and also the amount of downloads.
Crossover artists such as Taylor Swift have enjoyed immense success both in the pop arena and country stage. Swift burst onto the scene in 2006 with her debut single Tim McGraw. Her debut album then went on to become certified platinum many times over. While there is no denying the talent that exists seems as though a country-pop genre has been created. Other artists such as Lady Antebellum have also enjoyed crossover success.
Is country-pop the new face of country music? There are still many of traditional country artists such as Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley and also newcomers who have a more old country feel such as Jake Owen, Luke Bryan and Billy Currington. It also poses the question as to whether or not these artists can succeed against country pop artists when it comes to album sales and awards. Appealing to a wide fan base has long been an artists challenge. Artists like Swift have been very successful at doing this which in turn leads to album sales and many accolades when it comes to awards. However, many long time fans still crave the style and feel of music that defined it as country not pop.