The Bibliography: A Modern Country Music History

READ: An Introduction: A Modern Country Music History

I would have not have been able to write ‘A Modern Country Music History’ without these sources, so please check them out if you haven’t, because there’s always room for country music knowledge! General books are listed in alphabetical order by title. Websites are listed in order of appearance by part.


Appetite For Self-Destruction, by Steve Knopper

Broken Horses: A Memoir, by Brandi Carlile

Coal Miner’s Daughter, by Loretta Lynn

Ken Burns Dayton Duncan Country Music

Country Music: An Illustrated History, by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns

  • Chapter 8, “Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’ ”

Country Music Reader, compiled by Travis D. Stimeling

  • “Dreaming Out Loud: Garth Brooks, Wynonna Judd, Wade Hayes, and the Changing Face of Nashville” (1998), by Bruce Feiler
  • “Any Kind of Music But Country: A Decade of Indie Country, Punk Rock, and the Struggle for Country’s Soul” (2005), by Kyle Ryan
  • “The Very Pink, Very Perfect Life of Taylor Swift” (2009), by Vanessa Grigoriadis
  • “The Girl Who Played with Firearms” (2011), by Skip Hollandsworth
Country Music U.S.A. book cover

Country Music U.S.A., by Bill C. Malone

  • “Tradition and Change,” by Bill C. Malone
  • “A New Century,” by Tracey E. W. Laird

The Encyclopedia of Country Music: Second Edition, compiled by the staff of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and edited by Paul Kingsbury, Michael McCall, and John W. Rumble

Finding Her Voice: Women in Country Music (1800-2000), by Mary A. Bufwack and Robert K. Oermann

  • Chapter 17, “Little Darlin’s Not My Name: Women in Bluegrass”
  • Chapter 18, “Eighties Ladies and Beyond: Images for Modern Times”
  • Chapter 19, “Meeting the Millennium: Female Country Triumphs”

From the Beginnings to the ‘90s – Country: The Music and the Musicians (Revised and Updated Edition), compiled by the Country Music Foundation

  • “Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’: Ricky Skaggs, Alabama, and Their Contemporaries,” by David Gates
  • “No Fences: Garth Brooks, Dwight Yoakam, and the Nineties Explosion,” by Michael McCall

How Nashville Became Music City U.S.A.: 50 Years of Music Row, by Michael Kosser

  • Chapter 28, “Murder on the Row”

In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music, by Nicholas Dawidoff

  • Part Six: The West Coast Sound – Going to Get a Sandwich: Merle Haggard and Iris DeMent
Johnny's Cash and Charley's Pride

Johnny’s Cash & Charley’s Pride: Lasting Legends and Untold Adventures in Country Music, by Peter Cooper

  • Chapter 5, “Merle Haggard and David Olney, Wise Men”
  • Chapter 10, “Merle Haggard and the Door to Hope”
  • Chapter 12, “Taylor Swift and the Hybrid Art of Understanding”
  • Chapter 14, “Loretta Lynn, The Anti-Poet”

My House of Memories, by Merle Haggard and Tom Carter

The Oxford Handbook of Country Music, edited by Travis D. Stimeling

  • “Country Music and the Recording Industry,” by Charles L. Hughes
  • “Country Radio: The Dialectic of Format and Genre,” by Eric Weisbard
  • “‘These Are My People’: The Politics of Country Music,” by Jason Mellard

Reading Country Music, edited by Cecelia Tichi

  • “Country Green: The Money in Country Music,” by Don Cusic

Red Dirt: Roots Music, Born in Oklahoma, Raised in Texas, at Home Anywhere, by Josh Crutchmer

  • “Garth Brooks and Red Dirt”
  • “How the Dirt Was Spread”
  • “Turnpike”

Rednecks and Bluenecks: The Politics of Country Music, by Chris Willman

The Rough Guide to Country Music, by Kurt Wolff

Will the Circle be Unbroken: Country Music in America, edited by Paul Kingsbury and Alanna Nash

  • “Rocky Road Blues – Bluegrass Music’s Up and Down Journey,” by Jon Weisberger
  • “Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days – Tradition and Change in the 1980s,” by Michael McCall
  • “Pocketful of Gold – Country Music in the Age of Plenty,” by Peter Cooper

Websites (in order of appearance, for quote attributions not found as part of the aforementioned books):

  • Black Country Artists From the ‘90s Share Their Stories: ‘It Was a Very Lonely Journey,’ by Melinda Newman (Billboard)
  • “Ashamed the President is from Texas” – Country Music Vs. The Dixie Chicks, by Christopher Mark (Christopher Mark Journalism)
  • Who’s That Man?: What Happened to Toby Keith?, by Kyle Akers (Kyle’s Korner)
  • Ten years later, Alan Jackson looks back at iconic 9/11 anthem, by Wendy Geller (Yahoo! News)
  • Rascal Flatts and Gary Allan: The Yin and Yang of Stoicism, by Kelefa Sanneh (New York Times)
  • Loretta Lynn and Jack White Talk About Van Lear Rose, by Bill Conger (CMT)
  • “Eric Church: Bob Seger ‘Saved My Career And My Faith In Music,’ by Angela Stefano (Taste of Country)
  • Garth Brooks Makes History at Country Radio, by CMT Staff (CMT)
  • A Conversation With Garth Brooks, by Hazel Smith (CMT)
  • McGraw doesn’t like label’s decision, by the Chicago Tribune
  • Famous lakeside home of Johnny and June Cash burns down, by the Associated Press (featured in The Seattle Times)
  • Darius Rucker Details His Own Experiences With Racism: ‘I Can’t Live Like That Anymore,’ by Angela Stefano (Taste of Country)
  • Lambert tells story of ‘House That Built Me,’ by Chris Talbott (Today)
  • Eric Church: Nashville’s Shot in the Arm, by Dan Hyman (Esquire)
  • Dierks Bentley Is Riding High ‘Up On The Ridge,’ by Vernell Hackett (The Boot)
  • Reba McEntire Feeling Right At Home With Toughest of Audiences, by Jack Hurst (The Chicago Tribune)
  • Gone and (Mostly) Forgotten: Alternative Country From 2000-2013, by Nathan Kanuch (Shore2Shore Country)
  • If Our Career Dies Young: What Happened to The Band Perry?, Kyle Akers (Kyle’s Korner)
  • Songs That Defined the Decade: Luke Bryan’s ‘Country Girl (Shake It For Me),’ by Annie Reuter (Billboard)
  • Jason Aldean: “There are no cool rock bands any more,” by Mark Guarino (The Guardian)
  • Jody Rosen on the Rise of Bro-Country, by Jody Rosen (Vulture)
  • How country music went crazy: A comprehensive timeline of the genre’s identity crisis, by Grady Smith (Entertainment Weekly)
  • Brad Paisley on What He Learned From ‘Accidental Racist,’ by Jody Rosen (Vulture)
  • Darius Rucker, ‘Wagon Wheel’ Cover Decided in Unlikely Place, by Gayle Thompson (The Boot)
  • 8 Years Ago: George Strait Announces His Retirement From Touring, by Gayle Thompson (The Boot)
  • Taylor Swift to release ‘very first official pop album’ in October, by David Renshaw (NME)
  • Why Streaming May Predict the Next Generation of Country Stars, by Elias Leight (Rolling Stone)
  • Sam Hunt Doesn’t Know When He’ll Have New Music To Share … And He’s Just Fine With That, by Angela Stefano (The Boot)
  • On Music and Scheduling. Country Aircheck – Issue 49. (Country Aircheck)
  • ‘Tomato-gate’ galvanizes women in country music, by Beverly Keel (The Tennessean)
  • The Fighting Side of Sturgill Simpson, by David Ritz (Rolling Stone)
  • ‘I Wanna Make Art’: Sturgill Simpson’s Twisting Path to Nashville, by NPR Staff (NPR)
  • Hangout and About, Part 1: Jason Isbell is Solo, But Not Alone, by Michael Bialas (Huffington Post)
  • Creating While Clean, by Chris Heath (GQ)
  • John Prine, revered singer-songwriter, dies of COVID-19 complications at 73, by Randy Lewis (Los Angeles Times)
  • Lindi Ortega: Frida Kahlo Meets Wonder Woman Meets Johnny Cash, by Kyle Coroneos (Saving Country Music)
  • Brandy Clark, A Vivid Storyteller, Finally Tells Her Own, by Jewly Hight (NPR)
  • Holly Williams Follows Family’s Americana Tradition on ‘The Highway,’ by Eric R. Danton (Rolling Stone)
  • Aaron Watson’s success proves that country radio is out of touch, by Grady Smith (The Guardian)
  • Sony Nashville CEO talks importance of country radio, by Nate Rau (The Tennessean)
  • Sales Of Chris Stapleton’s Album ‘Traveller’ Will Jump More Than 6,000% On CMA Awards Wins, by Brittany Hodak (Forbes)
  • Chris Stapleton Is the Toast of the 2015 CMA Awards, by Andrew Leahey (Rolling Stone)
  • Chris Stapleton breaks down his latest opus, From A Room, by Madison Vain (Entertainment Weekly)
  • Understanding Eric Church, by Jewly Hight (Vulture)
  • Story Behind the Song: Tim McGraw, ‘Humble and Kind,’ by Gayle Thompson (The Boot)
  • Is Country Radio ‘The Place Where Difference Goes To Die’? Nashville Insiders Are Divided, by Phyllis Stark (Billboard)
  • The Hodgepodge: Could Billboard’s Americana Chart Lead to the Radio Split We’ve Been Waiting For?, by Derek Hudgin (Country Perspective)
  • The Current Pulse of Americana Music (June 4), by Josh Schott (Country Perspective)
  • Meet Margo Price, Your New Favorite Nashville Baddass, by Duncan Cooper (The Fader)
  • Producer Dave Cobb Talks Compiling New ‘Southern Family’ Album, by Joseph Hudak (Rolling Stone)
  • Album Review – Sturgill Simpson’s ‘A Sailor’s Guide To Earth,’ by Josh Schott (Country Perspective)
  • The Legend and the Renegade, by Matt Hendrickson (Garden & Gun)
  • ‘Hobo Cartoon’ Was A Final Gift From Merle Haggard to Sturgill Simpson, by Angela Stefano (The Boot)
  • Miranda Lambert Forms An All-Girl Trio, Pistol Annies, by Donna Hughes (The Boot)
  • Miranda Lambert Refuses to Let Age Keep Her From Being ‘Feisty,’ by Gayle Thompson (Pop Culture)
  • Interview: Miranda Lambert, by Duncan Haskell (Songwriting Magazine)
  • Boots have been golden for Tulsa-bound rising country star Jon Pardi, by Jimmie Tramel (Tulsa World)
  • How Spotify Is Trying to Take Over Nashville, by Joseph Hudak (Rolling Stone)
  • Meet “My Church” Singer Maren Morris: From American Idol Reject to 5-Time CMA Award Nominee, by Jennifer Dill (E Online)
  • Why are Nashville’s brightest stars touring with the survivors of One Direction?, by Chris Richards (Washington Post)
  • See Maren Morris Praise Black Women Country Singers in Powerful CMA Awards Speech, by Jonathan Bernstein (Rolling Stone)
  • Country Singer Mickey Guyton: Why Being ‘Black Like Me’ Shouldn’t Be Twice As Hard, by Jewly Hight (NPR)
  • Raising Kane Brown: Biracial singer forges own path in country music, by C. Watts (The Tennessean)
  • How Songwriter Tyler Childers Became the 21st Century Voice of Appalachia, by Marissa R. Moss (Rolling Stone)
  • Tyler Childers: “Americana ain’t no part of nothing,” by Mark Whitfield (Americana UK)
  • Sturgill Simpson Has A Lot To Get Off His Chest, by Steven Hyden (Uproxx)
  • Evan Felker of Turnpike Troubadours talks on the band’s success ahead of its Cain’s show, by Jerry Wofford (Tulsa World)
  • Swift Current’s Colter Wall celebrates debut album, by Matthew Liebenberg (Prairie Post, internet archive)
  • AllMusic review of Colter Wall’s Songs of the Plains, by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
  • Country stars from Vegas festival to perform Grammy tribute, by Kristin M. Hall (AP News)
  • Eric Church on Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting: ‘I Felt Like the Bait,’ by Sterling Whitaker (Taste of Country)
  • ‘Boyfriend Country’ Brings Sensitivity to the Genre – And to the CMA Ballot, by Tom Roland (Billboard)
  • Country Airplay Chart Lacks Any Female Artists in Top 20 For First Time, by Jim Asker (Billboard)
  • Carly Pearce Navigates Country Music in 2020: ‘I Want To Be A Purist In The Format,’ by Annie Reuter (Forbes)
  • Kacey Musgraves, Lady Gaga See 480 Percent Sales Gains After Grammy Wins, by Keith Caulfield (Hollywood Reporter)
  • Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Year, by Marissa R. Moss (Rolling Stone)
  • How Ashley McBryde Made a Fan of Eric Church, Became Country’s Rawest Writer, by Marissa R. Moss (Rolling Stone)
  • Ashley McBryde Refuses to Compromise Her Approach on Never Will, by Geoffrey Himes (The Nashville Scene)
  • Luke Combs: Still An Everyman, Despite His Massive Success, by Olivia Ladd (The Boot)
  • Amanda Shires, Margo Price, Brandi Carlile Form Supergroup The Highwomen, by Jessica Nicholson (Music Row Magazine)
  • Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris Talk Highwomen Project, by Joseph Hudak (Rolling Stone)


  • Alan Jackson, Genuine: The Alan Jackson Story (liner notes)
  • Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song (liner notes)
  • Country Universe’s 100 Greatest Women in Country Series, written and compiled by Kevin John Coyne
  • Shore2Shore Country’s “Renegades, Bros, and Revival: Country Music in the 2010s,” by Nathan Kanuch

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