When the 36th Annual Grammy Awards aired from New York's famed
Radio City Music Hall in March 1994, Wynonna Judd, Clint Black, and Garth Brooks
were among the roster of performering stars. In contrast to the top pop
rockers, each of these stars had been recording individually less than
five years, but each had debuted with miion-selling albums. Garth Brooks
was a multi-platinum wonder who emerged as the biggest record-selling phenomenon
since Michael Jackson.
A younger audience was discovering in these performers what confirmed
fans of country music had learned long ago: Here is a uniquely American,
extraordinairily, varied music that is many things to many people
a rich expression of rural tradition and folkways, a down-home good time,
the lyric poetry of love and betrayal, of honky-tonk fantasies and
workaday realities, a different kind of jazz"swing" moved west and
southand a very different kind of rock.
Commercial country music began in the 1920s with such immortals as the Carter
Family and Jimmie Rodgers, flourished during the 1930s on radio "barn
dances," and really hit the Top 40 charts with the likes of Gene Autry
and Bob Wills in the 1940s, and Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs,
Ernest Tubb, Hank williams, the early Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash,
and the "rockabillies" through the '40s, '50s, and into the 1960s. Since
then, country has spawned a host of idols and superstars, including
Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson,
Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Alabama, Ricky Skaggs, and Randy Travis,
as well as sensational younger performers. The stories of their struggles
and triumphs are colorful and poignant dramas.
Country also takes us inside the business of country music, where we meet
legendary starmakres as well as songwriters from the great to the nearly
forgotten. Speical illustrated sidebars explore such topics as the radio
barn dance, the anatomy of Dolly Parton's tour bus, and the burgeoning
Branson scene. Also included are Garrison Keillor's recollections of the
Grand Ole Opry and a concise discography of country's greatest recordings.
The world's center of country music study, the Country Music Foundation, Nashville,
Tennessee, has brought together the leading authorities in this varied
field to write a ground-breaking, comprehensive, critical and popular
history of the music and musiciansthe pickers, slickers,
cheatin' hearts, and superstars. Encyclopedic in scope and
lavishly illustrated by 500 color and black-and-white photographs
from the Foundation's unsurpassed archives, Country is sure to
score a solid-gold hit with any fan.
Patrick Carr, Chet Flippo, David Gates, Douglas B. Green,
Paul Hemphill, Bill Ivey, Michael McCall, Edward Morris, Alanna Nash, Robert K. Oermann,
Robert Palmer, Nolan Porterfield, Ronnie Pugh, Neil Rosenberg,
Nick Tosches, Ken Tucker, and Charles Wolfe.