Country Music: Will the Circle Be Unbroken (1968-1972)

Country Music: Will the Circle Be Unbroken (1968-1972)

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm
Tammy Wynette and George Jones with producer Billy Sherrill, 1971.

Credit: Courtesy of Nashville Public Library, Special Collections

Learn what draws artists like Bob Dylan to Nashville as the Vietnam War rages.

Our encore of Ken Burns' Country Music continues with episode six, Will the Circle Be Unbroken (1968-1972), airing Friday, February 7 at 9 p.m. and again on Saturday, February 8 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV. Learn how country music responds to a nation divided by the Vietnam War, as Army captain turned songwriter Kris Kristofferson sets a new lyrical standard, and artists like Bob Dylan and the Byrds find a recording home in Nashville.

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.