Sep 03 2019

Ken Burns Has Gone Country

By: Emily Hingle

It seems like people either love or hate country music these days, but no one can deny that the history of country music is boring. In Ken Burns' fantastic new documentary aptly titled Country Music, viewers are invited to look back all the way to early America when people who came from the world over were trying to keep some joyful semblance from home alive through music. The eight-episode documentary begins with the explanation that country music started on porches and communal spaces after a long day of working on the farm, in churches, at community festivals, and around the local watering holes. It "sprang from the needs of Americans" who were looked down upon and disenfranchised. In particular, the fiddle from Europe, banjo from Africa, and the newly-made American guitar found their ways to each other to create a brand new sound from spirituals, sea shanties, and centuries-old Irish ballads.

Country Music features hours upon hours-worth of interviews with incredible musicians including, but not limited to Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Wynton Marsalis, and Charlie Daniels. They discussed how they were inspired by the likes of Fiddlin' John Carson and his producer Ralph Pier, Jimmie Rodgers and his accompanist Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and June Carter, and so many more musicians.

This informative, educational, and one-of-a-kind documentary is sure to be a PBS classic. Episode 1 "The Rub" (1700s to 1933) premieres on September 15 at 7 PM. The other episodes will premiere as follows:

Episode 2 "Hard Times" (1933-1945) September 16th 7 PM

Episode 3 "The Hillbilly Shakespeare" (1945-1953) September 17th 7 PM

Episode 4 "I Can't Stop Loving You" (1953-1963) September 18th 7 PM

Episode 5 "The Sons and Daughters of America" (1964 - 1968) September 22nd 7 PM

Episode 6 "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" (1968-1972) September 23rd 7 PM

Episode 7 "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?" (1973 - 1983) September 24th 7 PM

Episode 8 "Don't Get Above Your Raisin'" (1984-1996) September 25th 7 PM

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