Guy Clark
Honky Tonk Masquerade
Phases and Stages
Townes Van Zandt

Country » Progressive Country » Progressive Country

Progressive Country developed in the late '60s as a reaction to the increasingly polished and pop-oriented sound of mainstream, Nashville-based country. Inspired equally by the spare, twangy, hard-driving sound of Bakersfield country, the singer/songwriter introspection of Bob Dylan, classic honky tonk, and rock & roll, progressive country was the first anti-Nashville movement to emerge since the dawn of rock & roll. Progressive country was rootsier and more intellectual than many of its contemporary genres; it was more concerned with breaking boundaries than with scoring hits. The genre was also songwriter-based. Many of its key artists -- Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Tom T. Hall, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock -- were not "good" singers by conventional standards, yet they wrote distinctive, individual songs and had compelling voices. By the early '70s, such artists had developed a sizable cult following, and progressive country began to inch its way into the mainstream, usually in the form of cover versions (Sammi Smith took Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night" to the country Top Ten). Progressive country also provided the basis for outlaw country, a harder-edged genre that shook country-pop (briefly) off the top of the charts in the mid-'70s. Even after Outlaw's five-year reign in the late '70s, progressive country continued to exist, until it eventually metamorphosed into alternative country in the '80s.

Progressive Country Artists Highlights

Guy Clark
Guy Clark
Townes Van Zandt
Townes Van Zandt
Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris
Jerry Jeff Walker
Jerry Jeff Walker
Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson
Billy Joe Shaver
Billy Joe Shaver

More Progressive Country Artists

Progressive Country Album Highlights

Honky Tonk Masquerade
Joe Ely
Honky Tonk Masquerade
Phases and Stages
Willie Nelson
Phases and Stages
Kristofferson
Kris Kristofferson
Kristofferson
Luxury Liner
Emmylou Harris
Luxury Liner
Old No. 1
Guy Clark
Old No. 1
In Search of a Song
Tom T. Hall
In Search of a Song

More Progressive Country Albums

Progressive Country Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Sunday Morning Coming Down Kris Kristofferson
Texas Cookin' Guy Clark
Desperados Waiting for a Train Jerry Jeff Walker
Beneath Still Waters Emmylou Harris
Pancho and Lefty Townes Van Zandt
Lone Star State of Mind Nanci Griffith
She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles) Gary Stewart
Bloody Mary Morning Willie Nelson
The Year That Clayton Delaney Died Tom T. Hall
(Is Anybody Going To) San Antone Doug Sahm

More Progressive Country Songs

Other Styles in Progressive Country