PENSACOLA, Fla., July 31, 2019 ― WSRE invites the public to advance screenings of Ken Burns’ new documentary, “Country Music,” coming to PBS stations this fall.
A 45-minute screener of the 16-hour film series will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 in the WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio at Pensacola State College. Guests are encouraged to arrive early and stay late for bluegrass music performed by The Gator Boys starting at 6 p.m. and a panel discussion and audience Q&A following the film.
For those on the east end of WSRE’s coverage area, a second screening of “Country Music” will be shown at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8 at the new Suds N Cinema theater in Fort Walton Beach.
Immediately following the Pensacola screening at the WSRE Amos Studio, there will be a panel discussion and audience Q&A with area experts and country music insiders. J. Terryl Bechtol, better known as “Grand Ole Opry” comedian T. Bubba Bechtol, will lead the panel discussion. Panel guests include Nashville songwriter and record producer Rusty Budde, Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival Director Reneda Cross, Ricky Lee Phelps of the Kentucky Headhunters and award-winning songwriter Mark Sherrill.
The documentary, directed by Burns and produced by Burns and his long-time collaborators Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey, chronicles 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 emerges to become “America’s music.”
Written by Duncan, “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.
The film to be shown at the advance screening events includes episode excerpts from the larger film series and features Kathy Mattea, Holly Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Charley Pride, Harold Bradley, Carlene Carter, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Garth Brooks, Rodney Crowell, Ketch Secor, Marty Stuart, Brenda Lee, Jimmy Dickens, Willie Nelson, Ray Walker, Trisha Yearwood, Elvis Costello, Jack White, Loretta Lynn, Rosanne Cash, Reba McEntire, Jeannie Seely, Billy Sherrill, Bobby Braddock, Eddie Stubbs, Hazel Smith, Vince Gill and Dierks Bentley.
Admission is free. Due to limited seating, registration at wsre.org/CountryMusic is requested.