Country Music Is Experiencing a Renaissance Thanks To New Talent, Mainstream Crossovers, and Big Stars - The Average Joe

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    Country Music Is Experiencing a Renaissance Thanks To New Talent, Mainstream Crossovers, and Big Stars

    Noah Weidner

    July 10, 2024

    The US government stores billions of dollars worth of gold at Fort Knox, but 150 miles southeast, there’s an even more impenetrable fortress in the heart of Tennessee — the country music industry. In Nashville, far from musical hubs like New York and Los Angeles, generations of songwriters have largely shaped country music within the framework of white, traditional, and Christian influences. But newcomers are breaking the mold — and reviving the genre.

    Country craze: Long associated with God-fearing lyrics, truck-toting stanzas, and southern drawls, country music is experiencing a renaissance. With the help of Millennials and Gen Zers, the old-fashioned genre has found new life in the streaming era. According to Luminate, country music streams rose 23.7% year-over-year, making 2024 a landmark year for the genre’s popularity.

    • With their recent releases, young stars like Morgan Wallen, Zach Bryan, and Lainey Wilson have dominated the airwaves (and Spotify charts).
    • Last year, Wallen’s album “One Thing at a Time” spent 16 weeks atop the Billboard 200 — nearly double the time of any other artist.

    Country’s Cross-Over Moment

    Mainstream pop artists like Noah Kahan, Post Malone, and Beyoncé have ventured into the country boom — boosting the genre’s profile. Lana Del Rey is set to release her country album in September, and other major artists, including Ed Sheeran, have expressed interest in a country transition. This movement is spreading overseas as well.

    • On Jul. 4, Morgan Wallen, known for blending country, rock, and pop, set a record for the biggest country concert in the UK with a sold-out show of 50K people.
    • Range Media Partners co-founder Matt Graham told Billboard that the infusion of country into other styles is “good for making the genre international.”

    Beyond music: Music and fashion often intertwine — and that’s evident now, with cowboy hats’ popularity jumping 400% in March compared to the previous year. The rising popularity of country music has spurred a resurgence in Western fashion — and in turn, the companies selling that apparel.

    Read: America’s Western Clothing Craze Has Fueled Denim’s Stylish Comeback

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