by BriteHeart | 3.28.19
Over the course of six years, filmmaker Ken Burns conducted 101 interviews for his sprawling, 16-hour "Country Music" documentary.
Soon, all of that work will be in the hands of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Burns announced Wednesday he will be donating all of the interview footage and transcripts from the project — a massive trove of insight and stories from more than 40 members of the Hall of Fame — to the museum.
"The stories contained in our film don't belong to us, of course," Burns said during a press conference at the museum's Ford Theater. They don't belong solely to the people who shared them with us, either. They belong to our country."
Burns was joined Wednesday by a group that included Mayor David Briley, musicians Kathy Mattea, Rhiannon Giddens, Ketch Secor, Ricky Skaggs, Holly Williams and Marty Stuart, museum officials and other executives.
Ken Burns announced he will be donating all of the interview footage and transcripts from the "Country Music" documentary to the Country Music Hall of Fame at a press conference Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at the museum's Ford Theater, (Photo: Larry McCormack/The Tennessean)
The donated footage totals more than 175 hours, and includes interviews with 41 members of the Hall of Fame. Burns noted Wednesday that 20 of their subjects have died since work on the project began.
During their remarks, several artists/participants in attendance confessed to being longtime fans of Burns' work, and shared hopes that "Country Music" would elevate the genre's global stature and battle stigmas and misconceptions.
Giddens, who co-founded the acclaimed string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, said she began her adult life "still feeling like I didn't have the right to like country music."
"I didn't know that it's a history of America, the music that becomes country music. The music of my family, the black and the white, and the working class. We always forget class. The music of America comes out of the edges, where different cultures are living together...This beautiful documentary has made an attempt to start to talk about some of that."
Nashville was the latest stop on a promotional bus tour Burns and his filmmaking partners have taken across Tennessee this week. It was set to continue with a Wednesday night concert at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium, with Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill and Dwight Yoakam among its dozen-plus performers.
The eight-part, 16-hour "Country Music" is the latest ambitious documentary project from Burns, famed for his explorations into "The Civil War," "Baseball" and "Jazz."
"Country Music" premieres on PBS on September 15.
It will air its first four parts nightly Sunday, September 15 through Wednesday, September 18 at 7 p.m. CT. Parts 5 through 8 will follow on Sunday, September 22 through Wednesday, September 25.
Written by BriteHeart
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