Waylon Jennings - Folk Country/Waylon Sings Ol' Harlan

Waylon Jennings spearheaded the 'Outlaw movement' in Nashville but before taking control of his music he worked with Chet Atkins on his earliest recordings for RCA. Here are the first two albums from 1966/1967.

Country Classics: Catching up with Tommy Cash

Being the brother of country music royalty can be tough but Tommy Cash managed to not only surive as the younger brother of Johnny but thrive as he was able to carve out his own niche in music.  Here Tommy talks to Roughstock associate writer Kathy Coleman about his career and latest album.

Roy Acuff - Great Speckled Bird

Here's Roy Acuff, the Grandfather of Country Music, singing one of his first hits.

Roy Acuff - Wabash Cannonball

Here's Roy Acuff singing his classic hit "Wabash Cannonball"


Welcome to Roughstock's History of Country Music! This is the only country music history site on the Web, brought to you by the world's #1 Country and Western Site: Roughstock. This exhibit looks at some of the influential artists and songs of the late 1920's through the year 2000, era by era. Look around, you'll find artists from Gene Autry, Roy Acuff, Bob Wills, Hank Williams to Patsy Cline, Lefty Frizzell, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks and many others. Included in our narrative look are numerous rare images, sound clips, and digital movies.

The Beginnings

Although musicians had been recording fiddle tunes (known as Old Time Music at that time) in the southern Appalachians for several years, It wasn't until August 1, 1927 in Bristol, Tennessee, that Country Music really began. There, on that day, Ralph Peer signed Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family to recording contracts for Victor Records.

Acuff And The Grand Ole Opry

Perhaps no other institution is more synonymous with country music than WSM Radio's Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 1925, it has featured country music acts on it's stage for live Saturday night broadcasts. This program has introduced the nation to most, if not all, of the greats of country music. To this day, membership on the Opry remains one of a Country Music artist's greatest ambitions.

Bill Monroe And Bluegrass

The virtual base on which the whole of bluegrass music rests, William Smith (Bill) Monroe was born at Rosine, Kentucky, on September 13, 1911, the youngest of eight children. Brother Charlie was next youngest, having been born eight years earlier. This gap, coupled with Bill's poor eyesight, inhibited the youngest son from many of the usual play activities and gave him an introverted nature which carried through into later life.

Cowboy Music

The songs of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and the Sons of the Pioneers put the Western in Country and Western Music. Much of this music was written for and brought to the American public through the cowboy films of the 30's and 40's and was widely popular.

Honky Tonk Music

Perhaps no other style of country music has had a greater influence on today's artists than the style known as Honky Tonk. Honky Tonk music embodied the spirit of dancing and drinking, and of loving and then losing the one you love. Its greatest practitioners owe their singing style to Jimmie Rodgers and much of the music to the steel guitar and drums of Bob Wills and Western Swing.