Skip to main content
The Sound

Explore the Sound created by Nashville Country Music Artists.

What Ray Charles Did for Country Music

This graphic explores Ray Charles' influential album, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.

Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Infographic

+ Transcript

Ray Charles, Country Music, and the Nashville Influence... Ray once said: "You take Country Music, you take Black Music, and you got the same Goddamn thing exactly." He grew up in Florida, absorbing the sounds of country and western stars 500 miles away on the Grand Ole Opry. [Nashville WSM-AM Radio Greenville] Early 1960s thriving as a successful R&B Star, Ray Charles was granted sweeping creative control by ABC Paramount. 1962 - He records a collection of country music standards... the groundbreaking result: Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Track List "Bye Bye Love", "You Don’t Know Me", "Half as Much", "I Love You So Much it Hurts", "Just a Little Lovin’ (Will Go a Long Way)", "Born to Lose", "Worried Mind", "It Makes no Difference Now", "You Win Again", "Careless Love", "I Can’t Stop Loving You", "Hey, Good Lookin’" Except for the lyrics, it doesn’t sound ‚ "country‚" the album is soulful, swinging, and bluesy. Yet, it features songs with Nashville roots and experiments with a poppier version of the Nashville Sound. "Bye Bye Love," written by the iconic area songwriting couple: Felice & Boudleaux Bryant - wrote many Everly Bros. songs, writers of "Rocky Top‚" and many country hits. "Just a Little Lovin’ (Goes A Long Way)" Written in the 1940s by: Eddy Arnold Arnold - became an early innovator of the Nashville Sound. "Hey, Good Lookin’" written and recorded by: Hank Williams - first recorded in Nashville at Castle Studio December 1950 - July 1951. The album produces a major single: "I Can’t Stop Loving You" - original writer: Don Gibson from the album‚ "Lonesome Me" ‚ original producer: Chet Atkins - pioneer of the Nashville Sound, Originally Recorded: RCA Victor in Nashville 1958 "That was probably the time when country music was heard by more people than ever before... He kicked country music forward 50 years." -Willie Nelson Number 1 billboard hot 100 for 5 weeks 20 million records sold Ray's album proved how transcendent country music can be.

Harold Bradley on the Nashville Sound

Harold Bradley on the Nashville Sound

Hidden Nashville

Explore some of Music City's Hidden Places

Ken Burns discusses his latest project

Ken Burns discusses his latest project, Country Music

Music Row's Sidemen

This NPT archived segment explores Music Row's Sidemen


From Southern Appalachia’s songs of heartbreak and faith to the Western swing of Texas, from California honky tonks to the Grand Ole Opry in NPT's hometown of Nashville, Ken Burns' Country Music follows the evolution of America's music over the course of the 20th century.

Ken Burns' Country Music | 8-Set-DVD
Connect with Nashville Public Television
as we celebrate and tell the story
of Country Music in our city.