Country Music: The Sons and Daughters of America (1964-1968)

Country Music: The Sons and Daughters of America (1964-1968)

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm
Loretta Lynn and her husband Oliver "Doolittle", 1965.

Credit: Courtesy of Les Leverett photograph, Grand Ole Opry Archives

See how new country artists like Loretta Lynn and Charley Pride reflect a changing America.

Ken Burns' Country Music continues with episode five, The Sons and Daughters of America (1964-1968), airing Friday, January 31, 2020 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV. See how country music reflects a changing America, with Loretta Lynn speaking to women everywhere, Merle Haggard becoming “The Poet of the Common Man” and audiences looking beyond race to embrace Charley Pride.

Country Music, written by Dayton Duncan, who also wrote the illustrated companion book (coming from Alfred A. Knopf on September 10), chronicles the highs and lows of country music’s early days, from southern Appalachia’s songs of struggle, heartbreak and faith to the rollicking Western swing of Texas, California’s honky-tonks and Nashville’s “Grand Ole Opry.” The film follows the evolution of country music over the course of the 20th century as it eventually emerges to become “America’s music.” 

Country Music explores crucial questions –– “What is country music?” and “Where did it come from?”–– while focusing on the biographies of the fascinating trailblazers who created and shaped it — from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more — as well as the times in which they lived. Much like the music itself, the film tells unforgettable stories of hardships and joys shared by everyday people.