Country Music is an eight-part, sixteen-hour documentary that chronicles the history of a uniquely American art form, rising from the experiences of everyday people in distinctive regions of our nation. From southern Appalachia’s songs of struggle, heartbreak and faith to the rollicking western swing of Texas, from California honky tonks to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, we follow the evolution of country music over the course of the twentieth century, as it eventually emerged to become “America’s music.” Like our award-winning film Jazz, this multiepisode series focuses on the biographies of the fascinating characters who created this American musical genre—from the Carter family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills and Bill Monroe to Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more—as well as the times in which they lived. Throughout, we continually explore larger historical and cultural questions: “What is country music?” “Where did it come from?” “What is its relationship with other genres of popular music?” “How did it both reflect and influence American culture in the twentieth century?” And like the music itself, Country Music tells unforgettable stories—stories of the hardships and joys shared by ordinary people. The film is scheduled for PBS broadcast in 2019.
Directed by Ken Burns, written by Dayton Duncan, and produced by Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan, and Julie Dunfey.