Country Music: Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way (1973-1983)

Country Music: Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way (1973-1983)

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm
Rosanne and Johnny Cash, 1975.
Credit: Courtesy of Cash Family Photos

Witness a vibrant era in country music, thanks to mainstream crossovers and a new “Outlaw” sound.

Ken Burns' Country Music continues with episode seven, Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way (1973-1983), airing Friday, February 14, 2020 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV. Witness a vibrant era in country music, with Dolly Parton finding mainstream success; Hank Williams, Jr. and Rosanne Cash emerging from their famous fathers’ shadows; and Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings launching the “Outlaw” movement. The episode repeats Saturday, February 15 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

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.