Country Music Lyrics
Country music lyrics reflect the country and western genre popular in both Canada and the United States. Originating in the Southern U. S., country music and its lyrics have roots in folk, blues and gospel.
No matter whether the sound is hillbilly, bluegrass, Nashville or Western cowboy, country music lyrics traditionally tell a story. The Wreck of Old ’97 first release in 1924 by Vernon Dalhart is credited with being the first country hit on the charts. The song would later be recorded and released for another hit by Johnny Cash.
The lyrics were about a runaway train and how the engineer ended up dead and a warning to wives everywhere to treat their husbands well since life is short and any of us can go at any time. Sound like traditional country music lyrics?
Country music lyrics have been known as story songs since this time. Also ushering in country music lyrics with their focus on loss, grief, family, humor and relationships were Hank Williams, Sr., Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.
Hank Williams, Senior’s country music lyrics were perhaps the most influential in the development of this particular genre. In his 29 years on this earth, Hank Williams, Sr. was a prolific writer of country music lyrics and a performer like no other. His music and lyrics have been recorded by Waylon Jennings, David Allen Coe and even Nora Jones.
Jimmie Rodgers’ country music lyrics were considered to be country folk and ballads about life in the South. His country music lyrics told tales about life in Meridian, Mississippi where he grew up and about his travels on the railroad, on the streets and in bars and taverns.
The Carter family consisted of A. P. Carter, wife Sara and sister-in-law Maybelle. This trio’s country music lyrics were gathered by A. P. in his experiences around Maces Springs, Virginia. Maybelle was the mother of June Carter who would later marry Johnny Cash.
Country and Western Music became a multi-million dollar industry in the 1960’s centered around Nashville, Tennessee. More recently, though, artists like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton have sold over 100 million records in this genre and even more recently Garth Brooks also makes this exclusive list.
The popularity of country music lyrics is in the storytelling, which is relevant, heartfelt and timeless all at the same time.