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Imagine a movie scene situated at a god-forsaken town out in the middle of nowhere. Usually it is somewhere in the Western United States. Typically, you'd see some old gas station, or even a cow skull alongside the dusty road.

In many cases, the vocal instrument sounds like playing a guitar with a bottleneck slide. Sometimes a harmonica is also included.

The long intro to this song by Cinderella is a good example (before it turns into heavy metal).

What is the name of this musical genre?

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That's some good ol' country blues. Compare these examples (literally the first two that came up in a search for that term on YouTube):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-kH82K8dCs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsqTkkUzH5w

Country blues is a direct descendant of the original folk and rural blues styles that represented an early American adaption of African musical styles and aesthetics, via African-American communities in the rural South. The adaption of folk blues to urban big bands was the birth of jazz. A generation or so later, an electrified urban version of the blues was the direct forerunner of rock and roll.

The original style was absorbed into the country-western music tradition, and has come to be a common soundtrack shorthand to indicate a sleepy rural or Western town. (See this question for more about the much wider Country-Western genre.) Although folk blues was originally an African-American style, it's rarely heard these days outside of the predominantly white country-western genre, where it is frequently incorporated into country rock.

  • Country-Western is a much larger genre that represents a wide range of rural styles over the years. Country blues is the adoption of the old folk blues style into the Country-Western genre. Although folk blues was originally an African-American style, it's rarely heard these days outside of the predominantly white country-western genre. – Chris Sunami Dec 7 '16 at 18:18
  • Also, "Country-Western" is a Billboard genre (see this question), it is tied to audience, and represents the way the music industry tracks sales and conceptualizes promotions. "Country blues" is an unofficial descriptor based on the evolution of a particular sub-genre and its specific musical characteristics. – Chris Sunami Dec 7 '16 at 18:25
  • Funny enough, not long ago I watched a video of the same dude from your first link playing a shovel with strings, which I thought was brilliant. I couldn't remember what it was called so I didn't put it in the original question, but here it is just in case anyone will ever wanna watch this... – barak manos Dec 7 '16 at 19:53
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This is often called Western music, so named because of its connotations with the western United States (not the Western hemisphere). It's also occasionally called "Cowboy" music.

  • I don't think this is specific enough. "Western music" typically refers to the old cowboy styles --Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. That has a very different sound from the referenced track. – Chris Sunami Dec 7 '16 at 18:10

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