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Ken Burns Country Music

Kristine England

Sep 19, 2019


Ken Burns is back with a new documentary. This time he explores the history of Country Music and its impact on the American musical landscape.  Teaming up once again with award-winning writer/producer Dayton Duncan (who’s worked with Burns on The National Parks: America's Best Idea, The Civil War, Baseball, The West and Jazz), Ken Burns Country Music.

Debuting on PBS on September 15, the eight-part series airs just in time for International Country Music Day, September 16. Though hailed as a chronicle of “a uniquely American art form,” the genre’s reach has spread across the globe with rising popularity throughout Europe as well as far-flung locations like the Phillippines, Thailand, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. Artists from those and other nations come to Nashville to live and work in the city that has been home to the genre for years. In fact, the number of Australian artists has grown from 30 to 110 in the past four years alone.

Country Music Trailer

Country Music will trace the origins of the genre, from minstrel songs, hymns, and the blues, and take a close look as well as the pioneers who brought this music to increasingly larger audiences. From the Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Charlie Pride, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and Jimmie Rodgers to next-generation stars like Roseanne Cash and Garth Brooks, viewers will get some answers to questions like “What is country music and where did it come from?” The experts will also discuss how Nashville became and continues to be a mecca for these musicians

Both established and independent artists are keeping Country’s heritage alive either by staying true to its roots or combining traditional sounds with other forms, like rock, folk, rap, and more.

Indies like Yola, Lillie Mae, and Cat Clyde all craft songs that could be called traditional Country. Jack Grace has moved in and out of the Country and Americana world yet has eschewed convention by adding searing guitars, mariachi horns, elements of jazz, and even bossa nova rhythms.

Country music continues to enjoy great popularity among music fans.  Though physical product sales are down across the industry, streaming demand for Country Music increased in 2018 by a 46 percent increase from 2017, with 50.88 billion streams and no signs of slowing down.

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