You won’t be disappointed if you grant it to see artists with Oklahoma connections. This club includes Bob Wills, Gene Autry, Roger Miller, Jean Shepard, Garth Brooks, Hank Thompson, Gill (his career improved after a bitter experience for KISS), Reba McEntire, Wanda Jackson, Roy Clark, Trisha Yearwood and Woody Guthrie (Marty Stuart said country music made a big mistake by not claiming the folk artist as one of their own).
Merle Haggard was neither born nor raised in Oklahoma, but the “Okie of Muskogee” artist is an Oklahoman by extension because his parents were “Okies” who emigrated to California. Country Music filmmakers interviewed Haggard before his death in 2016.
Dayton Duncan, screenwriter and producer of the project, participated in a phone interview with Tulsa World before the debut. Duncan, Burns and producer Julie Dunfey spent eight years researching and producing the film, interviewing more than 100 people (including 40 at the Country Music Hall of Fame).
Duncan said he traveled to Tulsa during his initial research and was shown around the city and taken to Cain’s Ballroom by Jim Halsey, whose Tulsa-based company was once the largest music agency country to the world. Halsey, speaking recently at the Rotary Club of Tulsa, said this about the documentary: “It’s a story about America, even more than country music. “