Music documentary

Ken Burns Documentary “Country Music” Donates to Hall of Fame

Ken Burns’ next documentary Country music will begin airing on PBS stations before the end of the year, but some will live forever in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. At a press conference Wednesday in Nashville, Burns showed an excerpt from the documentary and announced that he would donate all transcripts and interviews from the project to the Hall of Fame.

The eight-part documentary, which Burns worked on with regular collaborators Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey, was filmed over an eight-year span and was taken from 175 hours of interviews with over 100 subjects. It was a subject rich in stories and tales that, as Burns noted, had to be heard by people who were not familiar. “They belong to our country,” he said.

Some of the subjects he interviewed in the documentary joined Burns for the presentation, including Kathy Mattea, Holly Williams, Ketch Secor from the Old Crow Medicine Show, Marty Stuart, Ricky Skaggs and Rhiannon Giddens. Stuart referred to his own tenure in country, which began when he joined Lester Flatt’s band as a teenager and has continued to the present day with plenty of stylistic twists along the way. “You find a place where your heart belongs,” he said.

Burns’ stop at the Country Music Hall of Fame came at the end of a whirlwind bus tour of Tennessee’s music towns, including Cookeville and then Bristol, where Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family were first recorded. He followed that up with a stop in Knoxville, near Dolly Parton’s hometown, then crisscrossed statewide to arrive in Memphis on Tuesday, where he visited the launch pad for Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash at Sun Records. and Sam Phillips Recording. The celebration continues in Nashville on Wednesday night with a Ryman Auditorium concert featuring Giddens, Stuart, Skaggs, Secor, Williams, Mattea, Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash and Dwight Yoakam.

The eight parts Country music premieres on PBS September 15.