Watch Country Music
- 1 Season
Country Music is an eight-part documentary series that originally aired on PBS in 2019. It tells the story of the genreâs origins and development throughout the 20th century. The series is narrated by Peter Coyote and features interviews with many music industry veterans and legends, including Marty Stuart, Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard.
The first episode, "The Rub (Beginnings -1933)," traces the roots of country music from the hills of Appalachia to the recording studios of Bristol, Tennessee. It explores how early musicians like the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers established the genreâs foundation with their distinct styles and subject matter. The episode also explores the impact of radio on the spread of country music and the challenges faced by early performers trying to make a living from their craft.
The second episode, "Hard Times (1933-1945)," delves deeper into the struggles of country musicians during the Great Depression and World War II. It features the stories of artists like Gene Autry and Patsy Montana who found success through their music despite the challenges of the times. The episode also examines the ways in which country music reflected and responded to the major events of the era.
In episode three, "The Hillbilly Shakespeare (1945-1953)," the spotlight turns to the rise of Hank Williams and his influence on country music. The episode explores the ways in which his songs blended traditional country elements with modern themes and imagery. It also examines the role of the Grand Ole Opry in bringing country music to a wider national and international audience.
Episode four, "I Can't Stop Loving You (1953-1963)," chronicles the era of country musicâs first superstars, including Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Patsy Cline. It features interviews with many of the artists and their contemporaries as they reflect on the highs and lows of their careers. The episode also explores the impact of television and the rise of rock and roll on the genre.
In the fifth episode, "The Sons and Daughters of America (1964-1968)," we see how a new generation of performers ushered in a new era of country music. Artists like Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Tammy Wynette brought a fresh sound and perspective to the genre. The episode also touches on the role of politics and social change in the music of the era.
The sixth episode, "Will the Circle Be Unbroken? (1968-1972)," takes a closer look at the genreâs evolution during the turbulent period of the late 1960s and early 1970s. From the rise of outlaw country to the influence of the hippie movement, the episode explores how country music continued to evolve and respond to changing times.
In episode seven, "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way? (1973-1983)," the focus shifts to the emergence of country music as a big business. Nashvilleâs Music Row became a hub for record labels, publishing companies, and talent agencies. The episode also looks at how the genre diversified with the introduction of new styles like country rock and the growing influence of female performers.
Finally, in the eighth and final episode, "Don't Get Above Your Raisin' (1984-1996)," we look at the genreâs ongoing evolution through the 1980s and into the 1990s. Artists like Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, and Dwight Yoakam brought new sounds and themes to country music, challenging traditionalists and blurring the lines between genres. The episode also examines the growing influence of MTV and other media on the genreâs success.
Throughout the series, viewers are treated to rare footage and recordings of some of the genreâs most iconic performances. The interviews with industry insiders and artists provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how country music grew from humble beginnings into one of the worldâs most popular genres. Overall, Country Music is a must-see for fans of the genre and anyone interested in the history of American music.
Country Music is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (11 episodes). The series first aired on September 15, 2019.