Filmmaker Ken Burns debuts “Country Music” documentary in Bristol

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Ken Burns has a new story to tell.

The man who’s arguably one of the most successful and well-known documentary filmmakers has turned his attention to Country Music.    And starting this September, he’ll tell the story through an eight-part series of how the raw, simple music of rural America evolved into an entertainment industry loved around the world.

From southern Appalachia’s songs of struggle, heartbreak and faith to the rollicking western swing of Texas, from California honky tonks to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, we will follow the evolution of country music over the course of the twentieth century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music, according to Burns’ website.

“Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns”  will trace its origins in minstrel music, ballads, hymns, and the blues, and its early years when it was called hillbilly music played across the airwaves on radio station barn dances.

Burns, celebrated for his previous documentaries including The Civil War and Jazz, is promoting the series with a bus tour across Tennessee making stops at significant places in the history of Country Music.

He told News Channel 11 a stop in Bristol was a must.

Bristol is the beginning of it, Burns said.  This is where it happened, where the Big Bang happened.  This is where the Carter Family comes in the summer of 1927 and a few days later Jimmy Rodgers.

The tour culminates with a concert March 27th at 7pm at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Country Music a Film by Ken Burns will debut September 18th on PBS stations across the country.

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