Well, I’ve got another recommendation for y’all this week. This time it’s a little bit different. It’s not a podcast but a mini-series, a documentary mini-series to be exact. Master documentary maker Ken Burns has knocked it out of the park again with his latest creation, Country Music.
I’m sure there are many readers that want to click away right now. They’re rolling their eyes and thinking, “I don’t like country.” You’d be well within your right to click away but I really feel this documentary is really something. It’s an 8 part series that spans the birth of what we call country today all the way up to the present day – a truly American art form. Burns weaves a brilliant story of the melding of the storytelling of mountain people and slaves, to gospel standards and string bands. How people who came to American bringing with them their instruments and culture and formed this new thing. He demonstrates how this new thing continues to grown and morph and split apart and come back together in new ways and how it eventually gave birth to rock and folk and bluegrass.
As native Nashvillian, it’s interesting to see how Nashville factored into the whole situation. It doesn’t happen as much anymore but 20 or so years ago, I’d tell people I was born in Nashville and it was assumed I only liked country music. That used to really annoy me. It’s kind of like the old schtick about how you can talk away you want to about family but don’t let anyone else talk bad about them. I would rabidly respond, Nashville is Music City USA, not Country Music USA. I usually failed to mention it was also called Country Music capital of the World. I had a chip on my shoulder that few outsiders could see what amazing music of all types was coming out of our city.
This documentary made me proud to say I was born in Nashville, the Country Music Capital of the World. And, that I’m a country music fan (as well as many other genres). There have been several times watching the documentary that I was so overcome that it brought me to tears. When they show clips of Opryland with Roy Acuff singing Wallbash Cannonball or when they show Dolly Parton singing I Will Always Love You I am transported to my childhood. I have caught myself singing along more times than I can count. Although, just because I was born in Music City that doesn’t mean I can sing.
The Country Music documentary can be found on PBS but I believe you can also watch it on Amazon. I’m currently watching it on Youtube TV. I’m not going to lie, it’s long. Each of the 8 episodes is two hours long. I’ve been watching it while on the elliptical. It makes those miles pass very quickly.
Photo Credit: This is a screen capture off my phone of how it looks on Youtube TV if you choose to look for it. No copyright infringement intended. I make no money off of this and I’m broke. Don’t sue me.