Country music is gaining more than a foothold in the Boston music scene, as Bradley Jay discovers in part three of this ten-part series, The Boston Music Scene.

BOSTON (CBS) – Boston has not traditionally been known as a country-music town, but that may be about to change. The genre is not merely surviving here– it is beginning to thrive.

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Paradise Rock Club’s Billy Bud says, “It’s building and building. I think it’s getting more popular. I know a lot of my friends are more into country now than they ever have before.”

While Boston is certainly not Nashville, country music has long been a significant force here. An early gathering place for county musicians and fans was not a club or concert hall, but a retail store known as Walker’s that sold western and rock-and-roll clothing.

Rick Walker, who runs the current incarnation of the shop with his wife Rachael, remembers, “The old Walker’s was on Boylston Street, and it was ground central for country music in Boston. It was frequented by the likes of Merle Haggard, and it served as a dressing room for Willie Nelson when he would play the concerts on the Common in the ‘80s.”

For those looking for current top-notch country bands, Boston country music fan Drew Townson recommends, “The best country band in Boston is– hands down– Girls, Guns, and Glory led by Ward Hayden. He’s got an amazing God-given voice. He was born in Scituate, Mass., but somehow he inherited the voice of Hank Williams.”

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WBZ’s Dean Johnson points out that the current Boston radio configuration favors country music.

“If The Eagles released their first album today, who’d play it? Pop music wouldn’t play it. It’d be all over country music stations now,” says Johnson. “And that says a lot about the universal appeal now of country music everywhere, including Boston.”

Thanks to all the great buskers including The Scottish Fish, Conundrum 9, Mary Lou Lord, and Joe’s Truckstop (video graphic).

In part four of The Boston Music Scene, Bradley Jay talks to Boston’s street musicians about their profession.

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