What is Cowpunk?
I recently released a Stanford Lee Show episode, “If Cowpunk Was a Thing” and I just wanted to follow up with a deeper explanation of the genre. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the video yet, you should because it’s a lot of fun. I also do a live performance and there is some banjo action in the mix. Check it out on YouTube or Rumble. I promise, you won’t regret it.
Now What is Cowpunk?
Also known as Country punk, Cowpunk is a punk subgenre that started in the UK during the 1970s and gained attraction in the United States in 1980. It is a mix of punk rock, country, folk, and blues with a noted attitude and style. Famous country punk artists include Social Distortion, Hank Williams III, Jason and the Scorchers, and The Beat Farmers.
The name “cowpunk” was first coined in 1989 as a mix of cowboy and punk. The New York Times later recognized the term in 1984 in an effort to label the country spiked punk and new wave music of the time. Many bands during the 80s helped form the style of cowpunk as the began to incorporate classic country songs into their lineups but with faster tempos.
Country music is no stranger to the rock and roll world. With the popularity of rockabilly music throughout the decades, and country’s grass root, home grown folk sounds infiltrating various music genres, it comes as no surprise that cowpunk would gain traction. And despite Nashville’s attempt to control the sound and purity of country music, rebellious artists and music cultures like Outlaw Country’s Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, helped pave the way for country music’s broad reach throughout the music industry.
Because of the development of genres its clear to see that country music has a definite influence in the music industry and shows that genre fluidity is important for the development of new and great music. So rock on country folk, keep working for the music!
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