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There are a few musical genres that are purely American, and country music is one of them. It is not just a single form of music, however, and is something we now understand to have been derived from American folk music, blues, Western music, bluegrass, gospel, and more.
Essentially, the country music we know today first appeared in the 1920s. It held fairly steady throughout the 40s as it began to carry some Western themes into the different songs. Then, in the 1950s, the rise of rock and roll caused country music to evolve quickly into what we now call "Nashville". This was the time when electric instruments began to appear and when an entirely unique musical form was created.
Today, things have gone even farther and there is a long list of genres and even some subgenres that specifically belong in the country and folk categories. Interestingly enough, though it has branched off into a world of its own, AARP says it is known to be one of the most commonly listened to forms of music - meaning it is a mainstream music type.
This can also be easily detected by the themes and the melodies that appear on modern country stations. There is a lot of diversity, but it is clear that harder rock influences prevail and that the subject matter is not so much related to the cowboy lifestyle as the contemporary and modern world. Where it was once ballads about natural settings and "honky tonk" themes, it is now about country pop, outlaw music, and more.
The many country music tours prove that it is a mainstream music as well, and there are dozens of acts traveling the United States and the world each year. Most perform in arenas and stadiums but some also hit major music and folk festivals too.
Folk music is also heavily evolved, and country of today is closely tied to Appalachian folk formats and themes. This can be seen in the success of the many bluegrass and fiddling festivals and in such acts as Alison Kraus and the Union Station.