The term ‘country music’ gained popularity in the 1940s in preference to ‘hillbilly music’, and the term ‘country music’ is used today to describe many styles and subgenres. It has historical roots in the indigenous music of North America, Celtic music, early music of the British Isles, jota, Irish traditional music, singing cowboys, corrido, ranchera, norteño, French folk music, African-American music, and other traditional folk music traditions.
Alt. country (sorry Neko) developed when country influences combined with Punk and alternative rock to forge the "cowpunk" scene in Southern California during the 1980s. Simultaneously, a generation of diverse country artists outside of California emerged that rejected the cultural and musical conservatism associated with Nashville's mainstream country musicians in favour of more countercultural outlaw country and the folk singer-songwriter traditions of artists such as Woody Guthrie, Gram Parsons and Bob Dylan. These early styles had coalesced into a genre by the time the Illinois group Uncle Tupelo (who evolved into Wilco) released their influential debut album ‘No Depression' in 1990. The album is widely credited as being the first "alternative country" album. Despite the genre's growing popularity in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, alternative country artists found minimal support from country radio in those decades.