Country MusicGenresRock

Country Rock: Bands And Characteristics

Rock music and country music are both beloved in their own right, but strangely enough, the two genres haven’t become one. Sure, there have been a bunch of songs that mix the two, but they only do so in name, like Willie Nelson’s classic “Always On My Mind” or The Eagles’ “Desperado.”

However, throughout the last few decades, there have been a few country artists who have combined new forms of country with rock to create truly distinctive music.

Country Rock

What Is Country Rock?

  • Country rock is a subgenre of rock music and also a hybrid of rock and country music;
  • The genre was pioneered by Gram Parsons, who founded The International Submarine Band, an open-minded mix of folk and country that included bluegrass instrumentation such as banjo, fiddle, and pedal steel guitar;
  • This fusion was exemplified by the 1972 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which has been credited with starting “the first commercial wave” of country/rock melding;
  • Former members of The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers and Buffalo Springfield were instrumental in popularizing the sound with their new band Poco in 1969 (Before Buffalo Springfield reunited for one last album in 1972). Their debut single “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” reached 5 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart that year;
  • Another notable group was Seatrain who combined elements from both genres with added influences from jazz; they released three albums before disbanding after Clarence White died in 1973.

Country Rock music


Country rock is a subgenre of rock music that was developed in the United States and Canada. It incorporated elements of folk, country, and rock & roll.

Country rock began in the 1960s and 1970s with performers such as Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Gram Parsons, and others combining the sounds of country music with rock and roll to create a new genre.

Artists such as Emmylou Harris helped to pioneer this sound by blending elements of folk and country music with the electric guitar.

The success of artists like Dolly Parton during this period helped to further popularize this genre among mainstream audiences.

What is an example of country rock?

To understand this genre, it’s important to know what country music is. The genre is a fusion of country music with rock and roll. The sound of country rock has been described as “the missing link between the Byrds and Creedence Clearwater Revival”.

It’s difficult to describe exactly what constitutes “country” music, but generally speaking, you’ll hear banjos and acoustic guitars playing in a laid-back style that leans towards the more folky side of things.

This can be contrasted with more traditional folk music, which tends to be more rhythmic and upbeat—think Bob Dylan’s early work vs his later stuff like “Simple Twist Of Fate.” Both styles have their place in Americana music as far as I’m concerned!

Country Rock genre

Instruments Of The Genre

In country rock, you’ll find the members of a band often playing multiple instruments. This is because country rock artists are typically also songwriters who write their music.

That means they will typically play some or all of the following instruments: bass, drums, electric guitar, electric mandolin, and pedal steel guitar. Furthermore, common in this genre is the use of the piano and violin.

When you’re just starting out playing music in this genre, it’s usually best to stick to the basics before learning other instruments, like piano or violin. It takes a lot of practice to play these instruments well enough to sound good onstage with others (or even just for yourself).

What are the characteristics of country rock?

  • Country rock typically involves acoustic instruments, but can also include electric instruments such as electric guitar and bass guitar
  • Regarding lyrics, country rock songs tend to be about topics including rural life in general or love for one’s hometown area
  • Country rock bands are typically singer-songwriters who perform their songs on acoustic guitars, often accompanied by drums or other percussion instruments like bongos or tambourines
  •  Musicians can typically play multiple instruments, such as piano or keyboards, when recording an album at a home studio. This contrasts with the live shows where audiences would expect to hear different styles of music each night instead of hearing just one genre all night long (such as country).


Once country rock became popular in the early 1970s, it quickly went on to become one of the most popular genres in American music. And all these years later, it shows no signs of slowing down.
From its start as a blend of country and rock to its current status as an established form in American music, country rock has come a long way. But it remains one of the most popular styles of music on the planet.
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