‘Country Music’ is a music-based docu-series directed by Ken Burns, who has been making real-life-events-inspired films for the last four decades. Some of his critically acclaimed creations include historical documentaries such as ‘The Vietnam War’, ‘The Roosevelts: An Intimate History’, ‘Jackie Robinson’, ‘Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War’, and Acadamy Award nominee ‘Brooklyn Bridge’. He is joined by Dayton Duncan as the lead producer and writer. Julie Dunfey is also credited as a producer for the series.
This PBS show traces the evolution of country music across the years from the 20th century to the current era. It attempts to explore the definition of country music and explain what distinguishes it from other popular music genres.
Country Music Cast: Who is in it?
The first season of ‘Country Music’ features around 175 hours of interviews, conducted with more than 100 people. It narrates the fascinating biographies of legends who helped shape this complex music genre, including the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Garth Brooks, among others.
Each one of these individuals has their own views about country music. For example, as per Harlan Howard, “Country music is three chords and the truth.” According to Merle Haggard, “Country songs are the dreams of the working man” — to which Waylon Jennings adds: “Country music isn’t a guitar, it isn’t a banjo, it isn’t a melody, it isn’t a lyric. It’s a feeling.” As the episodes progress, we get a better understanding of the multiple meanings that this category of music holds for different people.
Country Music Plot: What is it about?
‘Country Music’ gives a never-seen-before look into the evolution of one of the most unique American art forms. It traces the metamorphosis of country songs from ballads, blues and hymns performances on modest platforms, to its transformation into a global phenomenon. The music-themed title chronicles its journey across the 20th century to contemporary times. Over the course of its eight episodes, this 16-hour mega-film reveals archived footage, photographs, and features interviews with country stars to tell an amazing story.
We learn about the earliest days of country music, from the southern “Appalachia’s songs of struggle, heartbreak and faith to the rollicking Western swing of Texas, California’s honky-tonks and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.” An educative, entertaining, and intimate show, ‘Country Music’ dives deep into the lives of dedicated artists who ended up creating such an authentic, fascinating art form, that still continues to be a subject of intrigue among experts.
That tale starts by taking us back to 1927 in Tennessee when the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers were recording at the iconic Bristol Sessions. We get to see how Merle Haggard, who was an inmate at San Quentin State Prison, saw Johnny Cash’s performance and instantly decided what he wanted to do with his life. Rosanne Cash is also featured on the series and is seen lending her insights to the story. Additionally, we meet Marty Stuart, who was inspired by the famous singer Connie Smith and started playing virtuoso mandolin at the age of 13.
The show also highlights how so many country hits were influenced by African-American musicians, such as Rufus “Tee Tot” Payne, Arnold Schultz, and Gus Cannon, among others. By embracing diversity and also emphasizing on the role of racism in the music’s history, ‘Country Music’ manages to add even more realism to its narrative.
Duncan, Burns and Dunfey dedicated eight years of extensive research while interviewing over 100 people and traveling across the nation in order to make this documentary. Hence, each minute of the show is packed with rich information. As the episodes unfold, we get detailed answers to many puzzling questions, such as: ‘Where did country music actually come from? What are its roots? And what does it actually mean?
According to Burns, when asked about the real definition of country music, after all his experiences, he said: “At the heart of every great country music song is a story.” These songs are a rendition of regular events and human emotions such as love and loss, about challenging times, and a journey toward redemption. He added, “As an art form, country music is also forever revisiting its history, sharing and updating old classics and celebrating its roots, which are, in many ways, foundational to our country itself.”
Country Music Season 1 Release Date: When will it premiere?
‘Country Music’ season 1 premieres on PBS on Sunday, September 15, 2019. Its entire run for the first season consists of eight, two-hour-long episodes. The first four parts air from September 15 to 18, 2019, followed by the next four installments from September 22 to 25, 2019.
Country Music Trailer:
Below is the official, extended trailer for ‘Country Music’ season 1. If you wish to check out additional clips, preview videos, trailers, or photo galleries, you can visit the show’s official site.
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