Progressive country is a subgenre of country music developed in the early 1970s.[1] 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 liberal 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.[3] 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.

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


  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. ^ [1]

See also