Country music originated in the United States in the 1920, in the folk culture of the rural South. In turn, US folk had grown out of the folk music by successive waves of immigrants from Europe, especially the British Isles. Over time, such existing music was drawn upon by banjo players, hillbilly string bands, virtuoso fiddlers, blind balladeers, and gospel singers to generate a louder kind of music that could be heard above the hubbub of the community functions. Some of this music came to be known as bluegrass. As southern musicians moved northwards, their music came with them, and radio and recordings did much to popularize the style. With the likes of the singers Gene Autray (1907–1998), Roy Rogers (1911–1998), and Tex Williams (1917–1985), the music gained particular popularity in the 1940s, with the label "country" replacing the slightly deregoratory "hillbilly" music.
Some of the earliest country music recordings emerged from Atlanta. The Grand Ole Opry, a concert hall in Nashville, Tennessee, itself considered the country music capital of the United States, provided radio performances for fans of country music from 1925. The Grand Ole Opry was housed in the Ryman Auditorium in 1943, where it remained until moving into the Grand Ole Opry House in 1974.
In the 1950s, the rise of rock 'n roll challenged country music, but the latter evolved over time into a more pop-oriented form, and now has gained an international listenership. In recent years many acts,including Jon Bon Jovi and Kid Rock, have had crossover hits in the country music realm.