Traditional country music song writers/performers delved into heartfelt melodies with thought-provoking but subtle messages about life, love and loss. It evolved from fold ballads brought to America by immigrants.
Fourth Generation (1970s - 80s)
The late 60s and early 70s became witness to the resurgence of country music on Music Row. Country music in the 70s brings to mind songs from such legendary artists such as Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, Charlie Pride, and many more whose legends had already been established in prior decades. New singer/songwriters like John Conlee and Dolly Parton were moving fast up the ladder making a name for themselves. John Conlee, however, curtailed his recording activities, instead devoted his time to charity work, raising his family and running his own farm outside Nashville. As for Dolly Parton, it is difficult to find a country performer who has moved from her poor country roots to international fame more successfully than she has.
George Strait emerged in the early 80s as the most predominant in staying closest to traditional country music. His music drew from honk tonk and Western swing traditions where instead of refashioning the music he simply revitalized that which had already been successfully established. In 1986, Randy Travis made a generational shift in country music much the same as the Beatles in rock. (Can you imagine being compared to the Beatles...in ANY fashion?) Another that must be mentioned is Barbara Mandrell, who was arguably the biggest female star in country music in the late '70s and early '80s, attributable to a string of hit singles and a popular television variety series.
Bit of Country Trivia: "He Stopped Loving Her Today" brought the flaggling career of George Jones back to life. When the song began being played on the radio in the spring of 1980 just about everyone who heard it was floored. It is consistently voted as the greatest country song of all time, along with "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" by Hank Williams (1949) and "Crazy" by Patsy Cline (1961).
With the plethora of country genres, recording artists and songs, it is virtually impossible to address them all. Here is some additional tastes of country from the 70s and 80s:
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...