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'Not rock 'n' roll's little sister': Inside country music's new golden era — and what comes next

Cheering fans in front of a wall of entertainment images.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was an unexpected musical success story last year, one that has only continued to snowball. Country music, with its loyal listenership on the margins of pop’s mainstream, had a crossover moment. In July, country acts held the top three spots on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in the chart's 65-year history: Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” hit No. 1, with chart stalwarts Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night” and Luke Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car" following. But when the 2024 Grammy nominations were announced, country received few nominations in the main categories despite topping the charts.