The music is influenced by different folk music styles that belong to Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England. Earlier on, the western music included the harmonica, which was made in the 19th century in Europe. The first book about western, music Songs of the Cowboys was published in 1908 by N. Howard "Jack" Thorp. The book was unique because it consisted of no music and only had lyrics. In 1910, Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads was published by John Loma, which gained a lot of popularity.
The music gained popularity in the 1930s ad 1940s, because there was an increased romanticization of cowboys in the movies, which included cowboy songs. It was during that time Bing Crosby gained popularity and recorded a number of songs were included in the movie Rhythm on the Range (1936). There was a decline in popularity in the 1960s, as rock and roll started winning people’s hearts.
The Country & Western Music Academy was found in 1964 in an attempt to promote Western music, and was basically a response to the Country Music Association that was founded in 1958 in Nashville. Recent popular singers and bands that brought forward western music again, including Michael Martin Murphey, Western Swing, and Riders in the Sky.