Texas Country vs. Nashville

Direct Comparisons Between the Genres

By: Paul Smith

           Some may wonder, why waste all this time comparing a subgenre within a genre? To some people, country music all sounds the same. They hear the electric lead guitar, the strong acoustic backing, most of the time accompanied by a slide guitar and simple drums. In reality, traditional Texas Country and more contemporary Nashville Country are very different styles of music.
          Texas Country seems to have stemmed from Western Swing. According to the Country Music Hall of Fame, during the depression era, Western Swing was “born in the dusty dance halls of Texas and Oklahoma” (Styles). It was a combination of cowboy country and big-band jazz. Texas country then took a turn (some would say for the better) when a few artists left Nashville to break from the Nashville sound. The “Nashville Sound” was what turned country music into a multimillion-dollar industry and focused on the popularity aspect of music (Country Music). Artists such as Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson helped start “Outlaw Country.” This style ventured back to the days of “rugged individualism” which was what had been a necessity of country before Nashville popularity (Styles).
          Nowadays, the difference between the two is most likely noticed with Nashville Country sounding more like pop music and Texas Country sounding more traditional. “With an added emphasis on electric guitars and drums, the sound can be closer to rock/pop than pure country” (Styles). Also, branching from Nashville came Alternative Country, which has loud, edgy sounding electric guitars. Many “crossover artists” become successful in Nashville. “Pop” artists such as Olivia Newton-John, John Denver, and more recently Taylor Swift have found success and have been recognized as award-winning country music artists. These artists would not even be recognized as country in Texas.

          On the whole, Texas County is more traditional and does not have as heavy lead guitar and modulation as Nashville Country does. Nashville country can sometimes be characterized as pop music. The difference main between the two is the pop music nature of Nashville and the more traditional nature of Texas Country.

"Country Music: Origin, History and Background Information." Genres Country Music. Audials, n.d. 

          Web. 18 Nov. 2012. 

"Styles of Country Music." Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Country Music Foundation, 

          Inc., n.d. Text. 20 Nov. 2012.

Taylor Swift is a pop-country crossover artist. She is most widely recognized as a pop-music artist but has been recognized in the Nashville Country music world for her music.

This song represents the "rigged individualism" of Outlaw Country, early beginnings of Texas Country.

Wade Bowen is a Texas Country Music artist. His music features strong acoustic lead guitar and simple drum beats.

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