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Since its emergence in the American South in the early 19th century, country music has evolved into one of the most popular mainstream musical genres. Modern-day country musicians, such as Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift, maintain steadfast fan bases and turn huge profits with their albums. But country musicians weren’t always pop culture superstars; in the 1920s, U.S. immigrants formed the backbone of what was known as “hillbilly music.” Their explorations of the rural experience, from the depths of poverty to the height of pastoral life, became the voice of a growing, but often ignored, American subculture. These relatively unknown musicians influenced the later standout stars of country music, including Johnny Cash, Dale Evans and Hank Williams.