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Rolling Stone: See Vince Gill’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ From Ken Burns ‘Country Music’ Concert

Country Music: Live at the Ryman, A Concert Celebrating the Film by Ken Burns’ will air on PBS on September 8th

One week ahead of the premiere of Country Music, the eight-part historical documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns, PBS will air Country Music: Live at the Ryman, A Concert Celebrating the Film by Ken Burns, an all-star celebration of the genre featuring performances by Vince GillDierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash, Rhiannon Giddens, Kathy Mattea, Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam and more. Hosted by the filmmaker, the concert touched on the many styles that have defined and propelled country music through the years, from old-time mountain melodies and bluegrass to outlaw country and the Nashville Sound. [READ MORE]

Tennessean: Ken Burns unveils guitars signed by country music legends at Belmont ahead of upcoming documentary

Oscar-nominated documentarian Ken Burns joined Belmont University President Bob Fisher Wednesday in unveiling two guitars signed by many of the country music artists who were interviewed for Burns’ upcoming eight-part film, “Country Music,” at the school’s Gallery of Iconic Guitars.

The two Martin D-28 guitars, signed by 76 out of 101 musicians featured in “Country Music,” joined Belmont’s GIG collection and include signatures from Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire and others. Among these artists, 37 are Country Music Hall of Famers, and 15 have passed away since signing the instruments.

“We are so completely, utterly grateful to our association with Belmont University,” Burns said at the event. “We went early to them. We asked for their financial support. They said yes … It has turned in to a great partnership.” [READ MORE]

Billboard: How Ken Burns’ New Documentary Will ‘Redefine What People Think of As Country Music’

Ken Burns reaches into his front-right jeans pocket to retrieve a small, burnished silver heart, then a coin awarded to learning-disabled students who memorize The Gettysburg Address. Next he pulls out a button from the uniform of a soldier who landed at Normandy on D-Day and, finally, a Minié ball fired from a musket at Gettysburg.

The Emmy Award-winning documentarian travels every day with these four mementos, gifts from fans of his more than 30 films. They represent a tiny fraction of the tokens he has received — reminders of the impact his documentaries, from 1981’s Brooklyn Bridge to 2017’s The Vietnam War, have had on generations of viewers. “The hardest part is [carrying] the abutment to the Brooklyn Bridge,” jokes Dayton Duncan, his longtime collaborator.

For nearly four decades, Burns has been telling the story of America one topic at a time. For the past eight years, he has focused on country music, resulting in — simply and definitively named, like so many of his films — Country Music, a sprawling 16-and-a-half-hour, eight-part, $30 million budget film airing on PBS’ 350 member stations starting Sept. 15. Burns’ team interviewed over 100 people, including Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire, Rhiannon Giddens and, in one of his last sit-downs, Merle Haggard. (Nearly 20 of Burns’ subjects have since died, making his plan to donate 175 hours of interviews and transcripts to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum all the more resonant.) [READ MORE]

The Washington Post: How maximum security inmates took on Cambridge in a debate about nuclear weapons — and won

“The three students from the University of Cambridge, wearing black suits and clutching sheaves of papers, stepped onto the wooden auditorium stage under the warm yellow lights. As members of a storied debate team, they had competed the world over but never in a place like this — a stripped-down hall in a maximum-security prison in Upstate New York that looms among the Catskill Mountains like a medieval castle.” [READ MORE]

Rolling Stone: Vince Gill Stuns at Ken Burns’ All-Star ‘Country Music’ Concert

Vince Gill was having some trouble with the teleprompter during the taping of Ken Burns’ all-star “Country Music: Live at the Ryman” concert in Nashville on Wednesday night.

“That’s why I didn’t go to college — I suck at reading,” he joked with characteristic self-deprecating humor after flubbing one of his lines. The show was taped for broadcast on PBS stations at a later date.

Fortunately, the Oklahoma native was in peak form doing everything else during an evening that celebrated a type of music that routinely reconnects with its roots and, as Burns put it, “has never been one style.” Throughout an evening that interspersed brief clips of Burns’ upcoming eight-part historical documentary Country Music — premiering September 15th on PBS — with live performances of songs discussed in the documentary, Gill frequently sat in the background with his Telecaster, guiding a band of session pros through tunes that touched on many different styles and eras of country sounds. [READ MORE]