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