Honky Tonk

Step one, listen to Hank William’s “Settin’ The Woods On Fire”.  Honky Tonk emerged from a style of piano playing related to ragtime, but emphasizing rhythm more than melody or harmony.  The term refers to the primary sound in country music, featuring the guitar, fiddle, string bass, and steel guitar.  The vocals were originally rough and nasal, but later developed a clear and sharp sound. Lyrics tended to focus on working-class life, with frequently tragic themes of lost love, adultery, loneliness, alcoholism, and self-pity.