After an eight-year exploration, Ken Burns announced his 16-hour Country Music documentary will premiere on PBS on Sept. 15.
Ken and his team spent eight years researching and producing the film, as well as conducting interviews with more than 100 people, including 40 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Interviewees include Marty Stuart, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, and Naomi and Wynonna Judd, as well as studio musicians, record producers and others. The film uses more than 3,200 photographs and more than two hours of archival footage, including rare and never-before-seen photos and footage of Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Cash and more.
In honor of the fall release, Ryman Auditorium will host an all-star concert on March 27 that features performances by Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, Vince Gill, Brenda Lee, Kathy Mattea, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Asleep at the Wheel, Holly Williams and Dwight Yoakam. Tickets to Country Music: Live at the Ryman, a Concert Celebrating the Film by Ken Burns will go on sale on Feb. 8 at 10 am CT. The concert will be recorded for broadcast on PBS at a later date. In addition to the live performances, the event will be hosted by Ken Burns and will include select clips from the film.
“In country music we found a love for storytelling that translates everyday experiences into universal truths that we can all identify with,” said Ken Burns. “We’re very excited to share this film with the country, in towns large and small, from one coast to the other. But we are most excited to share it in those areas that gave birth to this most American of art forms. Bringing our film to Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music, and a character itself in our film, is a dream for us.”
photo by Jason Simanek