Country music is a popular and broad music genre that developed in the United States. It originates from the rural south in the 1920's. This music is influenced by cowboy culture and has its origins in American Folk music. The reference of Country music gained popularity in the 40's and replaced the earlier reference of Hillbilly Music. Country music continued to evolve and incorporate influences from Bluegrass, Folk and Gospel.
In the 50's, recording activities in Nashville, Tennessee, turned country music into a multimillion-dollar industry. Producers such as Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley, and Billy Sherrill made Country Music popular by making it sound pop-like. Leading artists during this period include Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, and Skeeter Davis. Nashville's pop song structure later evolved into an even more mainstream style called Countrypolitan, which sold well throughout the later '60s and early 70's. Top artists included Tammy Wynette, Lynn Anderson, and Charlie Rich, and Marty Robbins. Side by side with "The Nashville Sound" country artists with a more classic style gained popularity during this period, such as: Loretta Lynn, Buck Owens, and Sonny James.
In the 70's and 80's Country music continued to expand to subgenres, such as Outlaw Country, associated with Hank Williams Jr., Willie Nelson, and Sammi Smith. Country Pop or Soft Pop is a style that also emerged in the 70's and referred to country music songs and artists who crossed over to top-40 radio and adult- contemporary music. John Denver, Olivia Newton-John, Anne Murray, Marie Osmond, and B. J. Thomas are considered to belong to this subgenre.
Country songs continued to be popular in the pop charts, with Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers in the '80's, Billy Ray Cyrus and Garth Brooks in the 90s, and Richard Marx and Carrie Underwood in the 2000s. Also in the 2000s, American Idol launched the careers of Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington, and Danny Gokey and would launch many more country careers in the 2010's. New country songs come out literally every week. Country music is still a very popular genre mainly in the Unites States, Canada and Australia.