The rise of a subgenre: country pop-punk

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Cassadee Pope at the 2022 Long Road Festival – Photo by Philippa Myall Chance

Country music has a rich history as a genre built from a combination of American folk, roots, blues and western. Today, the genre crosses many boundaries from its traditional roots with country rock and country pop leading a charge on genre charts around the world. While many traditionalist fans disagree with the growing breadth of the genre, the ever-evolving subgenres are bringing a new generation of country music fans and artists into the industry.

Typically, a subgenre is categorized by the musical tonality or inspirations that derive from a piece of music. In the case of country-related subgenres, classifications can range from the musical tonality of a track to the techniques deployed in the songwriting process. For example, country-pop music is often characterized by the sound of classic country interwoven with modern popular rhythm beats. There are many excellent examples of popular country-pop tracks leading the charge for the genre, especially those from the late 90s and early 2000s. Individual artists can also be credited for building subgenres . For Country-Pop, Shania Twain and Taylor Swift were early pioneers.

Country Pop-Punk (or Pop-Rock) is built following the rise of artists inspired by the Pop-Punk sounds of the 2000s and the beginning of the 2010s. The inspirations often cited by the new wave of artists include Panic At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Weezer, Blink 182 and more. The subgenre is characterized by the combination of lyrical storytelling often associated with country music, combined with the percussive and electric guitar sounds of the punk subgenre.

Female artists are leading the charge for the subgenre with artists such as Pope CassadeeTaylor Acorn and Kalie Shorr producing expertly blended tracks combining a range of elements from both genres. Cassadee Pope is particularly familiar with the Pop-Punk industry after her previous stint as the lead singer of Hey Monday in the late 2000s. While artists such as Taylor Acorn draw their lyrical storytelling from the world of country music and turn towards alternative/indie genres, introducing other crossovers of genres into his repertoire.

Although the subgenre is still young, it holds great promise for introducing a new generation of fans to the Country genre. There’s bound to be a range of talk about what really is and isn’t “Country,” but any way new fans can be introduced to the genre is certainly a good thing for everyone involved. Whether they are fans, labels or artists.

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