'Country Music' by Ken Burns Chronicles the Evolution of a Truly American Music

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Step back in time and journey through the compelling history of a truly American art form when Country Music, a new documentary series directed by Ken Burns, premieres on KQED 9 beginning Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Over eight two-hour episodes, the series chronicles country music’s early days, from southern Appalachia’s songs of struggle, heartbreak and faith to the rollicking western swing of Texas, California’s honky-tonks and Nashville’s “Grand Ole Opry.” The film series follows the evolution of country music over the course of the 20th century as it eventually emerges to become “America’s music.” 

Produced by Burns and his long-time collaborators Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey, the series asks: What is country music? And where did it come from? Focusing on the biographies of the fascinating trailblazers who created and shaped it—from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more—the series tells unforgettable stories of hardships and joys shared by everyday people and the times in which they lived. 

Although the Bay Area is not the first region most music fans think of when they think of country music, the area has made its own quirky contributions to the genre. Over the next few months through the premiere of Country Music, KQED will share profiles and several of the stories that highlight the Northern California’s unique intersection with this American art form.

Country Music premieres Sunday, Sept. 15 through Wednesday, Sept. 18, and Sunday, Sept. 22 through Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 8pm on KQED 9 and will be available for streaming on the PBS Video App and online at video.kqed.org.