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JimTurner's avatar

Did Country Music die with Hank Williams?

Asked by JimTurner (1375points) December 4th, 2013

Country Music has been coined America’s Music and its repertoire consisted of sad, drinking songs and tunes about trains, faith, lost love and hard times.

Has Country Music gotten better over the years or has the lonesome twang been replaced with unlistenable slop pop crossover artists?

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36 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

No. There have been dozens, even hundreds, of decent country singers since Williams.

Your question is sort of like asking “Did classical music die with Beethoven?” – which is completely ridiculous.

But musical taste is like any other taste. Personal.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Of course it didn’t die. Did it get better? That’s subjective. I certainly like it better now (I personally can’t stand Hank Williams’ music), but the older generation may not. Music in all genres has changed since Hank died – and he has nothing to do with them either.

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Coloma's avatar

It’s alive and well in my neck o’ the woods, not my thang at all. Ugh!
The only 2 CW singers I have ever liked are Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash.
I have never understood the popularity of country western.

It all sounds the same, sad sack, woe is me, my dog up and died and my wife ran away and my truck is broke and my horse came up lame, and I’m drunk again.


Strauss's avatar

Some people asked the same question about Jimmy Rodgers, or Johnny Cash, or Loretta Lynn, for that matter. It did not die.

The country music on the radio today, for the most part, is far different from the country music you would hear 50 years ago, when Hank Sr. was alive and well and singin’ and boozin’.

ibstubro's avatar

Two words, my man.


Country could die with Willie, but never before.

KNOWITALL's avatar

No, it hasn’t died, it has modernized.

Farming is no longer as popular (I’ll not get into the politics of this issue lol), the rural areas like my own no longer do as much foot-stompin hill dances like they did in the 70’s and before, all that has passed.

Country music is still popular with a lot of people but it appeals now to the younger demo’s rather than the older demo so money can still be made. Think Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and unfortunately Taylor Swift, sad but true.

CWOTUS's avatar

According to Tom Russell, it was The Death of Jimmy Martin that did it.

pleiades's avatar

Most people don’t realize country music and folk are almost very identical. I know a lot of bands that hide under the even the guise blue grass but back in the 50s would’ve been noted as country.

Strauss's avatar

As a matter of fact, in the ‘60’s the Grand Ole Opry presented a number of folk artists, although they shied away from some of the more popular acts that were politically active.

JimTurner's avatar

Thank you everyone.

I agree with the collective that country music has evolved over time.
In the future it might as well just be called Country Pop because what is played on the radio these days is a far cry from the broadcasts of the original WSM Grand Ole Opry or the Louisiana Hay Ride that made weekend pickers into superstars.

Like all music genres such as Rock n’ Roll and R&B musicians build on the past and make their own way.

In interviews current country performers like Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks have talked about listening to Led Zepplin, the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd while growing up. I think this has a lot to do with the new sounds we are hearing on the AM dial. As the phrase goes, “It’s all good.”

Thanks again for commenting on my question

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JimTurner Thanks for asking it. I’m currently reading the autobiography of June Carter Cash and I completely get your point. :)

SecondHandStoke's avatar

If it died.

It did with this man, pure class:

Still gives me chills.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’m not sure how “current” George Strait is. His peak was in the 90s.

Like I said, country evolved as did every other genre of music. The music of the 20s sounds nothing like music from the 60s, or 80s, or now. Everything changes, and whether it’s better or worse depends on your personal taste.

I think old country (Hank, Willie, George, etc) is the reason many people refuse to give today’s country a chance. It’s not all twang and dead dogs and cheating wives anymore, and I personally think that’s a good thing. So it’s the old country turning people away from the new stuff but at the same time, the older people that enjoyed that kind of music growing up say that what we have now isn’t even country. It is country, it’s just “grown up” so to speak. These are two problems that give country a bad rap and people have that adamant “I hate country” attitude when they’ve hardly given it a fair shot.

I think country hit a peak in the 90s, way after Hank. Travis Tritt, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, etc. Now, some of the singers that were great in the 90s got pretty shitty in recent years. If I hear another 9/11 song by Toby Keith or a beach song by Kenny Chesney, I might scream. But new performers like Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Carrie Underwood more than make up for it.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Country music lives on in the form of Seth Mcfarlane’s strange obsession with Conway Twitty.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Old redneck joke, Who would Kitty Wells be if she married Conway Twitty? Get it, get it?!

JimTurner's avatar

@KNOWITALL You’re welcome KNOWITALL, I enjoy some of the new stuff but most of my collection is filled with the old timers.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JimTurner I grew up with a banjo picker named Crankbait, I get it. I miss the good old music instead of the machines most of the newbies use. I knew I was getting old when Miley became cool, her dad was such a tool. ;)

JimTurner's avatar

@KNOWITALL Yeah Billy Ray seemed to build a career on his “One Hit Wonder”. However I did like the song him and Myley did called “Ready Set Don’t Go.”

glacial's avatar

There are so many different facets to country music. What plays on the pop country stations is the kind of country music I loathe, but I wouldn’t call it Hank Williams’ legacy. The part of country music I love is bluegrass, and there are so many terrific bluegrass artists out there right now. But I wouldn’t draw a direct line from that back to Williams, either. So… is anyone making music in that old classic country style? I’m not sure. I think @ibstubro came closest in his comparison with Willie Nelson.

If you’re really looking for current artists in a particular country style, you might want to skip through “this list” of country genres, and have a look at what recent artists are recording in whichever style interests you most. You might find some new favourites that way. Or you could try throwing Hank Williams into something like Music Map and see who turns up. Oh, I’ll mention Justin Townes Earle here, because I like some of his non-pop stuff quite a lot.

Funnily, I would class Hank Williams, Jr. in with the pop country crowd, and I don’t think he was all that great. But his son, Hank Williams III, is actually turning out some original and interesting music. Not in his grandfather’s style by any means, but I have to respect the way he stays relevant, sometimes marrying hardcore punk and hillbilly together.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“You could feel bad because you lost your wallet, your dog, your best friend
Or even your wife:

-The Reverend Horton Heat, That’s Showbiz.

gondwanalon's avatar

Them Country Playboys were and always will be the best of the best! Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson will be the first to tell you that Bob Will is still the King of Country Music.

1TubeGuru's avatar

Country music is not dead but it does smell funny.I like bluegrass and old country like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline .i also like Johnny Cash and I adore the Dixie Chicks.

kritiper's avatar

Country “music”, if it could be called music, died with Marty Robbins. But one must define what is meant by the term “country”; country, country music, country pop, country western, cowboy country, truck driver country, beer drinkin’ country, cryin’ in yer beer country, etc.

ibstubro's avatar

@KNOWITALL I recently watched so GREAT June Carter Cash footage on You Tube. Pre-Cash. She was a RIOT!

I LOVE The Rev. Heat, @SecondHandStoke! I used him here on Fluther within the past week.

Ron_C's avatar

I never really liked “country music”. I do like Bluegrass. I thought country music was stupid. Today, I realize my error and like some of the old, Hank Williams type music.

The garbage that comes out of Nashville is more of a degraded rock n’ roll than country.

Of course I’m a equal opportunity hater. Rap, and Punk are really garbage. I think that the longer you listen to that type of music, the dumber you get.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


For what question?


“Do it once.

Do it once for me…

Do it so I can see.”

fundevogel's avatar

If what you’re missing in country is that old rustic flavor, the twang, that old-tyme religion…I can help.

Sixteen Horsepower
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club
Ray Wylie Hubbard
Th’ Legendary Shackshakers
Old Crow Medicine Show

ibstubro's avatar

Perhaps the Alphabet/musician question, @SecondHandStoke.

TheRealOldHippie's avatar

No, it didn’t die with Hank Williams. But it did die when it became pop music in the ‘90’s which is what it continues to be today. I used to like Country and still like the older stuff, but the garbage which passes for Country today is no more Country than Little Richard, Led Zeppelin, or Jimi Hendrix.

ibstubro's avatar

Randy Travis, praise Pete, did not die. As long as he breathes, no one can proclaim country dead. If a song puts a “tear in your beer” it’s country.

Strauss's avatar

—♪ ♫ “Cold Fort Worth beer…” ♫ ♪—

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ibstubro International Harvester still is one of my faves, it’s hilarious and about farming.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I am British and a huge fan of country music! old and new. A few months ago I had the pleasure of going to the Grand Ole Opry and seeing some really great acts, some who have been around for decades and some who had only just released their first album. I loved every minute. I certainly don’t think country music died with anyone, it’s not necessarily better but it certainly isn’t worse, for me it’s consistently a good genre. My all time favourite country artist is Reba McEntire but my appreciation spans from Patsy Cline to Kacey Musgraves.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Leanne1986 That is hilarious!! What do you like about it out of curiousity? I wouldn’t think being British it would hold much appeal for you because it is pretty American, like apple pie. :)

OpryLeigh's avatar

@KNOWITALL As a child I loved Dolly Parton (still do, looking forward to seeing her in concert for the third time in June) but in my late teens I started seeking out more country music, old and new. I introduced my boyfriend to it and he’s now a big fan as well.

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