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Progressive country is a subgenre of country music started in the early 1970s in Austin, Texas. The term was coined by programmers at Austin's KOKE-FM in 1972 as a way to differentiate the style of country music in Austin from that being made in Nashville. Progressive country music, also known as "redneck rock," was strongly influenced by a variety of "hard" country music styles, including western swing, honky tonk, and the Bakersfield Sound.

Notable performers include songwriters Michael Murphey, Jerry Jeff Walker, the Lost Gonzo Band, B.W. Stevenson, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Steven Fromholz; western swing and honky tonk musicians Alvin Crow, Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel), Marcia Ball (Freda & the Firedogs); and Nashville-based Outlaw country musicians Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser.

A Nashville based parallel development was showcased at the EXIT/IN. Key exemplars are BR549, Area Code 615, Charlie Daniels and Barefoot Jerry.

Other stations, including KAFM in Dallas, KOKE in Austin and KFDI-FM in Wichita, Kansas, programmed a progressive country format with significant success. Additionally, live radio concerts were produced and simulcast with KRLD-AM to 13 states. Artists included Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Asleep at the Wheel, David Allen Coe, Jimmy Buffett, Jerry Jeff Walker and others. Dave Thomas founding Music Director and later Program Director was the Executive Producer who brought live radio broadcasts back to major market radio.

Progressive country music had a significant impact on the emergence of the alternative country ( movement in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The meaning of progressive in progressive country appears to have little to do with that of Progressive rock.

See also


  • Reid, Jan. The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock. New edition. Austin: The University of Texas Press, 2002.


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