Country Music: I Can't Stop Loving You (1953-1963)

Country Music: I Can't Stop Loving You (1953-1963)

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm
Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley,and Johnny Cash at the Sun Records studio in Memphis, 1956.

Credit: Courtesy of Sam Phillips Family/Colin Escott

Visit Memphis during the era of rockabilly, and see how Patsy Cline rises to stardom in Nashville.

Ken Burns' Country Music continues with episode four, I Can't Stop Loving You (1953-1963), airing Friday, January 24 at 9 p.m. and again Saturday, January 25 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV. Travel to Memphis, where Sun Studios artists Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley usher in the era of rockabilly. Ray Charles crosses America’s racial divide by recording a country album. Patsy Cline shows off Music City’s smooth new Nashville Sound.

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.