Country Music: Don't Get Above Your Raisin (1984-1996)

Country Music: Don't Get Above Your Raisin (1984-1996)

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm
Naomi and Wynonna Judd, c.1984.

Credit: Courtesy of Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum

Learn how country music works to stay true to its roots as the genre skyrockets to new heights.

Ken Burns' Country Music concludes with the final episode, Don't Get Above Your Raisin (1984-1996), airing Friday, February 21 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV. Learn how “New Traditionalists” like George Strait, Randy Travis and the Judds help country music stay true to its roots. Witness both the rise of superstar Garth Brooks and the return of an aging Johnny Cash to the industry he helped create.

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.