Nashville Sound

During the 1950s, the music scene in Nashville, Tennessee established itself as heavily influential on the course of popular music and more specifically, country music. Earning itself the title of Nashville sound, this subgenre developed as a reaction to the decline of traditional country music in the face of the increasingly popular rockabilly and rock and roll styles. Many record producers began to infuse the country sound with softer elements. This involved replacing harsher sounds such as steel guitars, with softer sounds such smooth vocals and backing vocals, and string sections. The term ‘Nashville sound’ was first coined in an article in 1958 describing the music of Jim Reeves who had various hits in the 50s and 60s. 

Patsy Cline also developed her musical sound after moving to Nashville in 1958 where she combined country and pop elements to great success with hit singles such as I Fall to Pieces (1961). Unfortunately, the subsequent deaths of both these artists in plane crashes in 1963 and 1964 marked the decline of Nashville sound, however its influence permanently shaped the course of country music. Nashville sound music managed to appeal to a wider audience by not only changing its musical characteristics, but the lyrical content. Rather than the traditional Western country trend of focusing on working class problems and hardships, Nashville sound provided escapism, aided by crooning-style vocals.

Notable artists:

Patsy Cline

Jim Reeves

Chet Atkins

Skeeter Davis

Marty Robbins

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