Home Western and Country Music: Some Differences
We really are honored to have the chance to promote and keep alive Western music by offering songs from the greatest cowboy singers. Yes, there are some differences between Country music and Western music. The following table is a modified and edited version of a chart that appeared in the Western Music Advocate, the publication of the Western Music Association (WMA). Reprinted with permission and thanks.



Deep South (Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Carolinas, Virginia) Southwest and West (Texas, Oklahoma, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California)
a) bar songs (honky-tonk)
b) personal/family relationships (often dysfunctional)
c) African-American blues
d) broken relationships (male/female)
e) emphasis on vocal songs
f) love songs (male/female)
g) provincial "hill" music (bluegrass) (acoustic vocal/instrumental)
a) natural (scenic) environment of the west
b) life of the cowboy
c) songs of the range (cattle drives)
d) love songs (male/female)
e) days of the early pioneers
f) dance music (hoedown, two-step, swing, schottische, "Tex-Mex," dances, etc.)
g) vocal/instrumentals, group harmony
a) many guitars (electric, acoustic, standard, dobro)
b) fiddle, acoustic, amplified
c) mandolin, acoustic (rhythm, lead)
d) banjo, 5-string
e) bass, acoustic, or amplified
f) steel guitar (emphasizing high range)
g) drums (rock-influenced, loud, heavy)
h) synthesizers
i) piano (honk-tonk style)

a) fiddles
b) steel guitar (pedal, non-pedal)
c) electric lead guitar (and acoustic rhythm)
d) accordion
e) piano
f) brass, winds
g) bass, acoustic
h) banjo, 4-string
i) drums (big-band style)
j) vibes*
k) harp*
l) amplified mandolin (jazz, swing style)*
            (* = Western Swing)

Reba McIntire
Vince Gill
Statler Brothers
Kenny Rodgers
Dolly Parton
Garth Brooks
Merle Travis*
Crystal Gayle*
George Jones
John Anderson
John Conlee
Don Williams
Dwight Yoakam
Loretta Lynn
Patsy Cline*
Don Williams
Bill Monroe
Ricky Skaggs
Joe Maphis*
Roy Clark
Chris LeDoux
Spade Cooly
Tex Williams
Roy Rogers
Sons of the San Joaquin
Marty Robbins
Gene Autry
Rex Allen
T. Texas Tyler
Trudy Fair
Rosalie Allen
Johnny Western
Don Edwards
Bob Wills
Sons of the Pioneers
Jimmy Wakely
Michael Martin Murphey
Riders in the Sky
Jimmy Bryant
Speedy West
Herb Remington
Roy Benson
Asleep at the Wheel
Belinda Gail
Emphasis on vocals, little instrumental music (except bluegrass), contemporary country has heavy use of drums and electric guitars in 4-square rhythms in the style of rock and roll. Equal emphasis on vocal and instrumental music, and group harmony. Rich variety of acoustic guitars with amplified ones, also with amplified mandolin, acoustic accordion and drums (except in vocal groups, which use bass).


Scottish and Irish folk music, honky-tonk, bluegrass (Bill Monroe), contemporary "pop" rock and roll Scottish and Irish ballads,
Western swing modeled after big-band arrangements (written, musicians read music), generally acoustic instruments (except for guitars), influences included: African-American blues, Dixie, ragtime, Tex-Mex, jazz, big-band swing, ballroom dancing, and others