Country music has its roots and beginnings in folk music. The old cowboy and pioneer songs of the American frontier were popular in the early twentieth century, and so were arrangements of pop music songs by rural (or rural-sounding) performers. Country musicians also adapted new musical instruments, like the Hawaiian steel guitar.
Modern-day Country music started in the years after World War II. The
Sons of the Pioneers and
The Carter Family performed old and new songs, in a way that reminded people of singalongs and jamborees of the past. Hank Williams is often called the first songwriter of country music. His songs were easy to learn and remember, and their lyrics said things felt by many people. His music is still performed today. Some of the early rock and roll musicians, like Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley, began as country performers.
Nashville, Tennessee became the center of Country music, much like New Orleans became the center of Jazz. The Grand Ole Opry broadcast performances by The Carter Family and others, and became an important breaking ground in Country music. A television series, Hee-Haw, was a long-running showcase for Country performers, and was hosted by musicians
Buck Owens and
Roy Clark. When cable television became popular in the United States, The Nashville Network (TNN) and Country Music Television (CMT) brought Country music videos and related programming to nationwide audiences. (In later years, as interests changed, TNN changed its programming. It also changed names, first to "The National Network", then to
Spike TV, which is its name today.) Country music began in the Southern United States at 1920. And Bob Wills had developed the