Country music has come of age. It has a rich history in American culture, and its story is well told in this definitive encyclopedia, written with verve and insight by the editors of America's leading and most popular country music magazine. The background of all the major -- and minor -- performers in country music, their greatest hits, fascinating anecdotes about their childhoods, their rise to (or fall from) fame, the truth behind publicity releases and general rumor -- it's all here, from Roy Acuff and Billy Ray Cyrus to Patsy Cline and Reba McEntire. The Comprehensive Country Music Encyclopedia offers a fresh, absorbing portrait of country music from its folkloric origins to its present status as the popular music of choice for 42 percent of the adult population, according to industry estimates. Indeed, in the past decade, the country music audience has tripled. Between 1988 and 1990, sales of country records jumped 56 percent as sales of rock-'n'-roll records slumped 5 percent. Combining more than six hundred short descriptive entries with longer evaluative articles, the encyclopedia is informative, engaging, and a pleasure to read. The critical events and individuals that have shaped country music are all here in one indispensable volume. More than a reference book to be consulted simply for the dates or details of a particular artist's hits or career, the encyclopedia offers a virtual social history of country music. It distinguishes itself not only by the unassailable authority of its contributors -- the most knowledgeable and gifted writers in this field -- but by its in-depth portraits of country music's pioneers and contemporary stars. Individual entries are placed within a larger historical and musical context. Linking discrete facts, dates, and events through what amount to interpretive essays, The Comprehensive Country Music Encyclopedia presents the overarching themes and musical ideas that have animated the landscape of country music. An additional feature of the encyclopedia is the more than six hundred photographs, many rarely seen. These superb photographs convey the social and cultural spirit of the artists depicted. Together with the compelling text, the encyclopedia is certain to engage the curiosity, interests, and passions of every reader, and of every fan.