Country music has a long history in Canada. The genre evolved out of the diverse musical practices of the Appalachian region of the United States. Appalachian folk music was largely Scottish and Irish, with an important influence also being the African American country blues. Parts of Ontario, British Columbia and the Maritime provinces shared a tradition with the Appalachian region, and country music became popular quite quickly in these places. Fiddlers like George Wade and Don Messer helped to popularize the style, beginning in the late 1920s. Wade was not signed until the 1930s, when Victor Records, inspired by the success of Wilf Carter the year before, signed him, Hank Snow and Hank LaRivière.
Canadian country as developed by Otto Wilke, Carter, Snow and Earl Heywood, used a less nasal and more distinctly pronounced vocal style than American music, and stuck with more traditional ballads and narratives while American country began to use more songs about bars, family relationships, and quarrels between lovers. This style of country music became very popular in Canada over the next couple of decades. Later popular Canadian country stars range from Stompin' Tom Connors to Tom Jackson to Shania Twain to Rick Tippe.
Radio and television stations in Canada which play country music, however, are sometimes more flexible in how they define the genre than their counterparts in the United States. Canadian country stations have commonly played artists more commonly associated with folk music, such as Bruce Cockburn, Leahy, Spirit of the West and The Rankin Family.
There is also a small francophone scene in the genre, typically sung in the joual accent. Francophone artists include Renée Martel, Gildor Roy, Patrick Norman, Willie Lamothe, Steph Carse and Georges Hamel.
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