Following an eight-year exploration, documentary giant Ken Burns’ 16-hour documentary “Country Music” premieres on September 15; you can stream or watch it on PBS.
Burns, in an eight-part series, explores country music’s early days, Western swing of Texas, and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.
“Country Music” was directed by Ken Burns and produced by Burns, Dayton Duncan, and Julie Dunfey. Duncan, Burns, and Dunfey spent eight years researching and producing the film, conducting interviews with more than 100 people, including 40 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame (17 of those interviewed have since passed on).
Among those storytellers are historian Bill Malone and a wide range of country artists such as Marty Stuart, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, and Naomi and Wynonna Judd, as well as studio musicians, record producers and others. The film uses more than 3,200 photographs and over two hours of archival footage, including rare and never-before-seen photos and footage of Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Cash, and others.
Throughout the documentary, Burns answers questions like “What is country music?” “Where did it come from?” while focusing on some of the fascinating characters who created it—from the Carter family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills, to Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more.