On September 15th, 2019, PBS will premiere the first episode of documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’ Country Music, a detailed exploration of the genre which has been in the works for the past eight years.
Directed by Burns and produced by the acclaimed filmmaker with his long-time collaborators Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey, Country Music premieres Sunday, September 15th through Wednesday, September 18th, and Sunday, September 22nd, through Wednesday, September 25th at 8 p.m. ET on PBS stations. Episodes will be available for streaming as well. The documentary follows Burns’ 2017 exploration of the Vietnam War.
In advance of the upcoming series, on Wednesday, March 27th, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium will be the site of a concert hosted by Burns and featuring a cast of country greats. The wide-ranging list of performers includes 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. For 31 years, from 1943 to 1974, the Ryman served as the home of the Grand Ole Opry and for more than 125 years has presented acts encompassing all musical genres and other forms of entertainment.
“Country Music: Live at the Ryman,” which will be recorded for broadcast on PBS at a later date, will also feature select clips from the upcoming film. Consisting of rare, archival photos and video footage, more than 100 people were interviewed for the forthcoming film, including 40 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Details of a companion soundtrack, book and national tour will be announced soon.
“In country music we found a love for storytelling that translates everyday experiences into universal truths that we can all identify with,” Burns says in a statement. “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.”
Tickets for “Country Music: Live at the Ryman, a Concert Celebrating the Film by Ken Burns” will go on sale Friday, February 8th at 10 a.m.