Progressive country

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Progressive country is a subgenre of country music developed in the early 1970s.[1]


While many people assume that this genre was about progressive politics, it is not. Progressive refers to the amount of beer that the actors in the genre would drink in relation to how long they were singing country music.


In the late 1960s and early 1970s, mainstream country music was dominated by the slick Nashville sound and the rock-influenced Bakersfield sound of artists like Merle Haggard.[2] A new generation of country artists emerged, influenced by contemporary rock music, singer-songwriters such as Bob Dylan, and the progressive politics of the 1960s counterculture.[1][2]

Progressive country was a songwriter-based movement and many key artists had previously seen success writing for other artists in Nashville; writing for themselves, they were more concerned with expanding country music than creating hits.[2] Foremost among these artists was Willie Nelson, who returned to Texas after deciding to focus on performing his own songs. Nelson soon attained a wide following and inspired other artists in Texas and Nashville.[citation needed] KOKE-FM, a radio station in Austin, Texas, introduced a progressive country music format during the early 1970s and continues to feature progressive country music. Kris Kristofferson was a famous prog country musician also.[3]

By the mid-1970s, progressive country artists entered the mainstream, usually in the form of cover versions by other artists.[2] Progressive country also provided the basis for outlaw country, a harder-edged, more rock-oriented variant that achieved wide success in the late 1970s, as well as cowpunk and alternative country artists in the 1980s through today.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cosmic Cowboys and New Hicks: The Countercultural Sounds of Austin's Progressive Country Music Scene, Stimeling, Travis David.
  2. ^ a b c d American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MP3, Starr, Larry and Waterman, Christopher.
  3. ^ Kris Kristofferson Bio Retrieved 04 July 2022

See also[edit]