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Brad Paisley and Country Music

Essay by   •  January 3, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,265 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,603 Views

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When country music began in America, there were no professional musicians. The typical musician sang only to entertain himself, his family or at local events. There is evidence of square dance-like events as far back as the 1830s (with origins in European country dancing). At first, most country music was either sung by itself or played on a lone fiddle or banjo. A good fiddler was a very popular person and was often asked to perform at events ranging from weddings to cattle drives. There was no concerted effort to preserve the songs played, but the songs that people loved lasted as they were passed from town to town or generation to generation. Songs traveled with wandering minstrels and soldiers as well as those who moved across the country for the Gold Rush or in search of a new home. Often people didn't even understand the origins or meaning of the songs, they just liked the tune. The music of this time has been given several names, including old-time music and mountain music.

When people hear country music, they think of "Rednecks" or "Hillbillies" out on the country side singing songs about losing their wife, dog, best friend or any other sad subject. This is not true and it showed by becoming one of the most popular music forms of the 20th century. Country music is one of the best-selling genres after rock and pop.

To help understand country music, it's useful to look at the musical instruments. The fiddle/violin was the most common instrument since it was easy and inexpensive to make and light in weight. It was the sole lead instrument, but later it was popular to add more accompanying instruments. The banjo was brought to the American South by slaves and became popular in the mid-1800s. The guitar didn't come along until the early 1900s when they became mass-produced and affordable for the everyday person. The guitar was used as a rhythmic instrument, but also became popular and used more often.

Contemporary country music often uses the electric guitar, which became popular in the 1950's. Other stringed instruments include the dobro, the dulcimer, the steel guitar, the mandolin, the zither, bass guitar and the autoharp. In other types of country music you might hear the accordion, the harmonica, the piano, washboards or drums which didn't become popular till the 1960Ð''s but are used a lot in todayÐ''s bands.

Country music began in music styles brought over by the European settlers. In medieval times, storytelling was a tradition that allowed history to be recorded when few were able to read and write. When the first British settlers came to America, they brought this tradition with them, along with songs they had learned in Europe. The people who settled in the Appalachian Mountains and the West did not have an easy life and their music was their only outlet.

While country music began with ballads (a narrative that is sung) and songs of the British Isles, it changed in content and personality as it grew in America. The British songs were objective, often resembling gruesome stories. They had many themes of the supernatural, avenging spirits, loves found and lost, and violent happenings. In America, the songs became very subjective and personal, downplayed the supernatural, and, in songs of crimes, emphasized the evil acts while minimizing the gore. When the songs had to do with love gone bad, the American's ballad removed the violence and gruesomeness. The change may have been due to the philosophy of the Southern lifestyle. Another characteristic of the American ballad is the addition of moral ending to songs. Ballads were often written to include current events, but in America these ballads became more journalistic than the British ones. They became an accurate way for the more isolated town-folk to hear about happenings in the rest of the world.

Brad Paisley is an up and coming country star and is personally one of my favorites. He was born on October 28,1972 in Glen Dale, West Virginia. As of now he has a home with his wife Kimberly Paisley, who is an actress, in Franklin, Tennessee. His love for music began when he was eight years old and his grandfather gave him his first guitar. His first public performance was in his church at age nine, at age 12 Paisley wrote his first song, "Born on Christmas Day." His junior high school principal heard it and asked him to do it at the next Rotary Club meeting. In the audience that day was Tom Miller, program director for WWVA, Wheeling's country radio powerhouse, and by age 13 he was the opening act for The Judds, George Jones, Steve Wariner, and Ricky Skaggs. Some of his idols in the music business were Chet Atkins, Roger Miller, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, Buck Owens, Steve Wariner, and



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