Well-known country bands include Old Dominion, the Zac Brown Band, The Carter Family, Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain, Johnny Cash, the Grateful Dead and more. These groups range from solo performers to full bands with traditional string instruments. They also span several decades of country music, which began with a bluegrass and folk sound and later incorporated rock, jazz and even pop.
The country music genre dates back to the early 1920s. Traditional instruments included the banjo, guitar, fiddle and harmonica. The genre is reminiscent of old Gaelic and Celtic fiddle songs, with a heavy emphasis on strings. Legendary artists of this era included Jimmie Rogers and The Carter Family, which produced country hits such as the song "Wildwood Flower."
The second generation of country stars emerged between the 1930s and 1940s as the genre began to embrace sounds inspired by jazz and rock. The Delmore Brothers and Hank Williams were among the most famous country artists of this time.
Johnny Cash emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, when country music blended with rock. Later, the country rock style produced icons such as Neil Young, The Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. Contemporary country singers and artists include Shania Twain, Taylor Swift and Old Dominion; their music features radio-friendly rock and country sounds.