Giddy-up, Jolene! country music has actually undergone a facelift and also is now attracting human being from all walks the life. What is that recipe for success?


The vital demographic listening to country: young, urban, millennial

Polish her boots, acquire out her plaid flannel shirt native the ago of your closet, and dust off your Stetson — we"re off to a nation music festival. However this isn"t Texas or Tennessee, yet ratherthe faded UK seaside will of Blackpool, i m sorry is hosting the 2021 British country Music Festivalfrom September 3-5,and travellers from all approximately the country and means beyond are expected come attend.

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The frequently American music genre is celebrate a worldwide revival, with occasions all approximately Europe — also in Germany — giving it a new lease ~ above life. This is, that course, pre-COVID; yet with the steady easing that restrictions, country fans around the globe are excited come get ago on the horse.

"The thing around country music the speaks come peopleis the songwriting,"Milly Olykan, VP of international Relations & advancement at the nation Music combination (CMA) in Nashville, Tennessee, told

"People have realized that country music isn"t around geography,"says Baylen Leonard, a country music broadcaster based in London. "It"s about storytelling and also emotion."


Nashville continues to be the capital of country music worlbarisalcity.orgide — but the sound is being exported abroad more than ever before before

"The perfect storm"

Olykan states thefocus the her work-related is"to change perceptions about country music. For example, it"s not only older people who hear to country. It"s young people. And also the audience have got younger end the years."


Milly Olykan has actually been helping nation music gain an international recognition because that over a decade

But what has led come the explosive resurgence of nation well past the US?

"It was almost like a perfect storm. That started ago in the day when we had actually Taylor Swift, who never presented herself — especially in Europe — together a country artist, but she plainly was a country artist. So she began to crossover. And also Kacey Musgraves also attracted civilization to nation soon thereafter,"Olykan explains.

"Then the TV show "Nashville" came out v all that stories and drama and also intrigue, and also that in reality really opened people"s minds come young civilization making country music — together opposed come it being only older artists prefer Kenny Rogers. That kind of opened up the door."

The increase of streaming solutions in the early 2010s additionally made the genre more accessible, follow to Baylen Leonard: "You don"t need to go come the country section that a document store anymore. You"ll be listening come something on a streaming platform and then one algorithm will imply something else you might like."


Taylor Swift"s crossover music is one of the factors that has actually resulted in nation music"s cultivation success

The country music industry then cashed in on this breakthrough in Europe: "In 2012, the country to nation music festival was launched at The O2 arena in London. By the second year, the went so well they included Glasgow and also Dublin. By now, it’s also gained a foothold in Berlin and also Amsterdam,"Olykan further highlights.

According come Olykan, exterior the US, the UK has actually now end up being the biggest target industry of the genre— through the remainder of Europe, particularly Germany and also Scandinavia, likewise registering significant growth. And also in the US, nation now is also the 2nd fastest cultivation genre the music, according to TIME magazine.

No pandemic blues

The number behind the stellar increase of nation in the UK and also then in the remainder of Europe room impressive: follow to the british Phonographic market (BPI), i m sorry is the main charts company in the UK, the genre observed a development factor that 19% in the 2nd quarter that 2021 compared to the very same time in 2020. And the year before, country even flourished by 47%.


Broadcaster Baylen Leonard is excited about all the expansion of nation music on new platforms favor TikTok

"TikTok has likewise been a great tool for exploration of new country artists, especially throughout the pandemic, like Priscilla Block and also Callista Clark,"says Milly Olykan. "Some artist got significant record deals since of TikTok," to add Baylen Leonard.

With all these modern developments, the country genre clearly isno longer all about your "achy breaky heart" —to quote atrope from the 1990s —but quite tackles relatable issues, not just in terms of lyrics but likewise in regards to sound: Milly Olykan welcomes the truth that over there are an ext and much more country performers who "enter the pop space and much more pop artist (who) get in the country space. And also I think that will be support beneficial. I would certainly love to see much more of together cross-genre work. Particularly internationally."

Baylen Leonard, who also runs the long Road Festival of nation music, adds that those type of collaborations are coming to be increasingly interesting for the genre, highlighting that "artists are now also bringing in HipHop and RnB right into country. And that, too, is country."


"Kiss several boys, or kiss several girls if that"s what you"re into": Kacey Musgraves shakes turn off the macho photo of country

Radical honesty

But even older country legends space celebrating a revival in their very own right. While back in the day, nation music was treated much like Thanksgiving dinner — i.e. Girlfriend don"t speak about religion or national politics — the brand-new country age shows up to have embraced diversity as akey message at the heart.

"One of the most common misconceptions about country music is the it is all about a truck and a dog, and also holding on to your gun. Another one is that country music is white, and also that that is conservative and close-minded,"says Baylen Leonard.

"Look, I"m not saying that country music doesn"t have a diversity issue," Leonard adds,"but there are much more and more Black artists, there are an ext and much more artists through all type of sexualities. So over there are movements within nation music that are an overwhelming all those conceptions. Plus, the roots of country music room Black anyway. The banjo is an african instrument."


T.J. Osborne the the successful nation duo brothers Osborne recently came out together gay

Forever Jolene

There"s perhaps none various other than Dolly Parton come prove that country is moving with the times. Fifty percent a century earlier already, she boldly sang around the fate that jilted women and teenage pregnancy, trying come inject a stuffy musical genre with some of the subversive power of the Women"s Lib movement. Today, the mommy of nation music no much longer needs come hide her messages under her exceptional wigs (although she still continues to don castle with good style).

"Dolly Parton is not just a an international icon. She"s also a regional hero in Tennessee. She is absolutely authentic to who she is. She is specifically who friend think she"s going to be. She"s not an act. She loves all God"s children,"Baylen Leonard called quickly after interviewing Parton ~ above air.

Indeed, indigenous homosexuality come interracial marriage, Parton has actually taken several of her old song to address some the the hot topics in society, while giving these melody a 21st century facelift: The eight-part Netflix series Dolly Parton"s Heartstrings pushes significant buttons through a great amount the sensitivity and respect, inviting that is viewers to walk a mile in someone else"s boots come Dolly"s tune.

The fictitious storylines reflect much about the structures of country music gift rooted in community, friendship and also a shared understanding of the human being experience.

"We are just so, so lucky to have her,"says Milly Olykan about Dolly Parton.

Meanwhile thepodcaston the singer, Dolly Parton"s America, go the exact same as the TV collection while eschewing fiction because that fact. Among the most successful podcasts of every time, the display follows her career, with each chapter showing the social readjust that Parton has actually witnessed throughout her life.

In the series, Partonnever shiesaway from speaking her fact — even when it comes touncomfortable topics, together ascontemplating suicideearlyin she career. It practically feels favor one woman"s life-long trip of liberation indigenous the impeded of patriarchy.


10 major stars of nation music

Dolly Parton (born 1946)

An symbol of country music, Dolly Parton has been top top the scene because that over 50 years. When her greatest hit might be "Jolene," she likewise wrote on the same night "I Will always Love You," i m sorry later came to be a worldwide success because that Whitney Houston. She and also fellow legend Kenny Rogers additionally scored a chart-topper together a duo v a 1983 re-recording the "Islands in the Stream," created by the bee Gees.


10 major stars of nation music

Kacey Musgraves (born 1988)

There room many modern-day female voices in country, but she"s the one who won the Grammy for ideal album the the year, in 2019. Despite she"s taken into consideration a newcomer compared to various other performing nation singers prefer Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and also Shania Twain, Musgraves carries the hope of exporting modern-day country to Europe and beyond.

10 significant stars of nation music

Conway Twitty (1933-1993)

Long prior to country music to be hip, Conway Twitty represented a generation of masculine singers who, v honky-tonk twang and also tons of hair gel, regulated to reach a wide-ranging audience with numerous chart-topping hits, including "Hello Darlin"." Twitty, whose genuine name to be Harold Lloyd Jenkins, died in 1993, however his performances have actually been resurrected in numerous episodes that "Family Guy."

10 major stars of nation music

Tammy Wynette (1942-1998)

She taught generations of women to constantly "Stand by her Man," though she music also reflected themes of emancipation, self-sufficiency and "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" — decades before the #MeToo movement. Referred to as "The first Lady the Country," Wynette went on to come to be one of nation music"s biggest-selling woman singers. She recorded and performed increase until five years before her death.

10 major stars of nation music

Johnny Cash (1932-2003)

The human being of country as it is today would be unthinkable there is no the contributions that Johnny Cash made to the genre. Cash to be a rebel who carried a particular Blues music sensitivity come country and didn"t care much about success — in spite of selling over 90 million records. His signature songs include "I walk the Line" and also "Ring the Fire." number of posthumous albums have actually been released.

10 significant stars of country music

Loretta Lynn (born 1932)

Loretta Lynn is a monument the country. After all, she"s been in the biz because that over 60 years. Well-known for she quick-witted lyrics and her down-to-earth attitude, Lynn is the many awarded female country recording artist of every time. Lynn champions women"s legal rights in she music, singing about infidelity and even bear control. Her biggest hits incorporate "Fist City" and "She"s gained You."

10 significant stars of country music

Willie Nelson (born 1933)

Willie Nelson is the free-wheeling persona who channels the heart of numerous Texan urbanites. The octogenarian singer is recognized the civilization over for numbers choose "On The roadway Again" and also his emotional interpretation that Elvis Presley"s "Always on my Mind." the is also a staunch activist for ecological issues and also a proud Democrat, prove that nation isn"t only music for conservatives.

10 significant stars of nation music

George Strait (born 1952)

You can be kicked out of Texas if you to speak a poor word about George Strait. "King George" reigns supreme over the Lone Star State, where he was born, and also its country scene. His music have the right to be defined as a return to timeless country from the mid-20th century however with a contemporary twist. Strait has more than 60 number one hits under his belt buckle, including "All mine Ex"s Live in Texas."

10 major stars of nation music

Reba McEntire (born 1955)

Reba McEntire is another queen that country. The Oklahoma aboriginal launched her career in the mid-1970s, though she initially intended to become an elementary school teacher. Over time, the fiery redhead winner over critics with hits favor "You Lie" and "Fancy." In enhancement to winning numerous Country Music Awards, McEntire is additionally an accomplished actress.

10 significant stars of country music

Garth Brooks (born 1962)

Garth Brooks is the literal rock star of country singers, giving the genre a harder, yet sensitive edge. The hat-clad singer v the Takemine guitar will certainly tug at your heart strings through narrative songs prefer "If Tomorrow never ever Comes," if a track choose "Friends in low Places" still renders his fans laugh at any time it"s played on the radio this particular day — nearly three years after he obtained started in country.

Author: Sertan Sanderson

The ridecontinues

With all these trends and also rise in popularity, the country market is expanding and also has that is eyes collection on a future beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, with huge names planning to tour throughout Europe and also beyond, and festivals like the British country Music Festival and many others favor it exterior the us looking front to a go back to live performance. And one of the greatest market with expansion potential figured out by the CMA is Germany.

"Germany is such a big worldwide music market. We have to improve our foothold with country music there due to the fact that there are certainly fans of the genre but there"s quiet a most potential there," says Milly Olykan, who herself hails from new Zealand.

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And Tennessee-native Baylen Leonard shows up confident the in any market, country music is completely able to fill whatever large boots that is given: "Like any kind of quality arts form, country is no a museum piece. It"s a living, breathing, evolving arts form. And that"s as true this particular day as that was with Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and Patsy Kline ago in the day,"he explained.

"This moment in country music is actually not a reemergence. It"s just a continuation."

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