The Sons of the Pioneers
There are many country music enthusiasts who believe that the Sons of the Pioneers were the end-all/be-all of the singing cowboys, and for good reason. They were at it from the 1930s through the '70s, and their amazing close harmonies always sounded like Western angels singing in a choir. Their spiritual Honky-Tonk hymns transcended the mythical life of the American cowboy in their slow galloping, hayseed ditties. You can hear their obvious influence in songs such as those from Cowboy music satellites Riders In the Sky, as well as in more unsuspecting fragments of rock 'n' roll (e.g. the "soon we'll be home" section of the Who's "A Quick One While He's Away." All in all, they're just as influential to Americana culture -- and Americana -- as Levi's, baseball, and Betsy Ross.