Sound Scan

-1991 Billboard starts using sales data from Sound Scan


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-Before record stores estimated how many records sold


-Sound scan change to a bar code system that was exact 


How sound scan affected garth brooks career

– In the first week using sound scan, data showed that Nashville music selling way higher than estimates

– In this week,  Garth Brooks album went from #4 to 16

– This was important because radio stations saw how popular country really was and many decided to switch and become country stations

– Country sales double from 1989 to 91 and then double again from 91 to 93

-Garth brooks later releases first country album to debut at #1 on Billboard charts

Telecommunications Act of 1996

– Before this, radio considered a public trust so the government had to worry what was on radio

– Before you could only own a few radio stations

– Deregulation allows companies to buy as many radio stations as they want- so there could be someone in Boston programming hundreds of country stations

Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the up and down radio career of the dixie chicks

-new type of country music in the 90s

– Americana allows for people who no longer fit in country’s narrow parameters

– began with Gillian Welch writing a song for Emmylou Harris called “Orphan Girl” on wrecking ball- first americana album

Dolly Parton

– Got her Start on Porter Wagners syndicated TV show

– Her an porter had a very bad public breakup- then she writes “I will always love you”- later becomes a monster hit

-Had a pop image different from most country – “takes alot of money to look this cheap”

– First Artist to appear on cover of Rolling Stone (when it was legit)

– “Jolene” – big hit for her that was a different type of song for her

Tom T. Hall

– Wrote story songs- ones you could not come into the middle of though

– wrote songs from being in jail from drinking/speeding

– Rough childhood- poor – mother died he’s young

– Songs “A week in County Jail” & “Homecoming”

– Broke alot of barriers in country music

Outlaw Movement

– Creative movement – about musicians deciding about how they want the music to go

– Willie nelson wanted to do something similar to bobby bare

– Willie gets a clause to record whatever he wants- records a very plain album called “Red Headed Stranger”- the label doesn’t even want to put it out but then it becomes huge- center of outlaw movement

-“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” a hit from album

-Conceptual movement about artists taking control of their own stuff


– Reaction to perceived blandness of mainstream country music in the early 80s

– Ricky Scaggs and george strait usher in movement;

– instrumental background with a “traditional” country vocal style like hank williams

George Jones

– known for his drinking and escapades with women

– spent most of 70s in bad shape – drinking/coke

– reputation as “no-show jones”

– split personalities where he did a duck voice that was very mean

-rode his lawnmower to town when wife took his keys to get booze

– “He stopped loving her today” – the song that put him back on the map and made him relevant again

Emmylou Harris

– Discovered by Gram Parsons- he asked her to sing with him and they recorded 2 albums in LA (“cosmic american music”)

– She is distraught by his death in early 70s from a drug overdose

– “two more bottles of wine”

– used solo career to further parsons “cosmic american music”

– Wrecking Ball her huge album

Gram Parson

-started off in the Byrds- they got booed off stage at grand ole opry because of long hair- folk/rock guys had long hair- he was an innovator

– combined traditional country and “wild” stuff- his albums in 70s sold terribly- ahead of his time ; marketed poorly

– Died in early 70s from overdose at joshua tree

– “I can’t dance”

First Country Album to sell a million copies

– Wanted by the outlaws

– consisted Willie Nelson ; Waylon Jennings

Billy Joe Shaver

– From texas- doesn’t have all his fingers from an accident

– At first he had a disagreement with Waylon jennings- wanted him to look at his album- finally waylon did and then really liked it

-they went on to record album with all songs written by billy joe shaver

– Called Honkytonk Heroes and became a big deal

Willie Nelson

– Big part of the outlaw movement

– all about artistic freedom and artists taking control

– goes to Texas to Armadillo World headquarters to record the music that he wants

– “blue eyes crying in the rain”


Bobby Bare

– Lullabies, Legends, and Lies -his big album

– Stories based from Shel Silverstien 

– Some very big hits from the album

-they produced their own songs because the producer was very busy

Kris Kristofferson 

– grew up well, well eduacated, good at everything

-went to pomona, played football, track, boxed

-became a Rhodes Scholar

– Goes into military and excels at that- flew helicopters in officer position

– turns down being prof. at west point to come to Nashville and write songs- becomes janitor at studio where Johnny Cash records

-Cash befriends him when Kris receives letter from mother disowning him

-Cash finally listens to Kris’s tapes and they’re good

– “Jesus was a Capricorn” & “To beat the Devil”

Dripping Springs Festival in Texas

– Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Tom T. Hall, Kris Kristofferson all meet up

– modern era of country music begins

– combination of hippies and rednecks- opening up the genre


-technology began in the 90s that fixed pitch problems- was not used in excess like it is now

– Meant you could be not that great of a singer and still be a country star- looks became alot more important

– temptation to ignore talent in favor of looks i.e. shania twain

Shania Twain

– Very pop oriented country that seemed different at the time 

– teamed up with Mutt Wang who was known for producing def lepperd and AC/DC- some songs he produces aren’t very good but get stuck in your head

– shania was an example of use of auto-tune and favoring her good looks


Randy Travis

– 80s part of neotraditional country music

– Album: Storms of Life

-Workout addict- started this craze in country music

– “On the Other Hand”

Reba McEntire

– Signed with tony Brown at MCA but then left because they were “trying to change her to pop”

Biggest female country star of 80s and 90s

– melodic switch in songs to let Reba belt out that big note she was known for

– “Whoever’s in New England” – appealed to soccer mom crowd

Roseanne Cash

– Johnny Cash’s daughter

– part of great credibility scare

– was married to Rodney Crowell- his 3 solo albums didn’t do well- then they split up and she becomes famous and he has to produce “seven year ache” (steel guitar sounds like synth) which is about him being a shitty husband

Tony Brown

– Guy at MCA

– Signed all of the great credibility scare artists

– was looking for a new type of country sound

Lloyd Green

– was known as best steel guitar players

– paul mcCartney came to Nashville to record and recorded “Sally G” with Lloyd green on steel guitar

Nanci Griffith


– folk influenced called “folkabilly”

– signed by tony brown at MCA

– great credibility scare

– “love at the five and dime”

Cosmic American Music

– the term Gram Parsons came up with (Emmylou Harris singing with him)

– blend of country roots, R;B, and rock

-ahead of its time, innovative;

Which artist had a childhood with run-ins with the law
Randy Travis
Of the class of 89, who was most influenced by southern rock

– Travis Tritt


(others were: Garth Brooks, Clint black, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Alan Jackson)

The soundtrack of O brother where art thou? and the Dixie Chicks most recent album of what?
Music that sells millions but is not heard on mainstream country radio
Comeback artists that have won grammys in the past decade after making albums that were ignored?

Johnny Cash- “hurt”

Loretta Lynn “Portland Oregon” (Jack White)

Kris Kristofferson admitted that he sang like what?
a frog
Tom T. Hall and Kris Kristofferson were quite important because they…?
changed the language of country music
hit written by Don schlitz that became a kenny rogers hit
“the gambler”
The song emmylou harris wrote in wake of Gram Parsons death
“boulder to birmingham”
First album of the outlaw movement was probably?
Lullabies, Legends, and Lies by bobby bare
Tom T. Halls “homecoming” was a song in which
a singer seeks to explain himself to his father

Who sang “on the other hand” – co written by don schlitz


A song that is about the singer deciding not to cheat

Randy Travis
Name of the most commercially successful country band of the 80s and 90s

Which best describes Ricky skaggs music of the 80s?


acoustic based- neo traditionalist- turned up acoustic so it could sound as loud as electric guitar
who influenced the Judds early music (acoustic based sound)
Ricky scaggs
A friend and producer of johnny cash, convinced Kris Kristofferson to move to Nashville
Cowboy Jack Clement

Every detail in tom t. hall’s “A week in country jail” is true.


T or F?

Dixie Chicks

– ditched first main singer and found Natalie Mayne

– she sounded alot like Joy lynne white- one of the best singers in nashville the past 20 years, precursor and influence on dixie chicks

– huge musical talent (fiddle, vocals)


What producer helped johnny cash make his comeback
rick rubin
Taylor Swift

– second biggest selling country artist last year

– a crossover artist- not just locked into country

-“you belong with me”

– grew up in pennsylvania- moved to hendersonville (where cash was from) and got songwriting lessons