SPEAKING WITH KEN BURNS
Updated: Feb 19
I spoke in depth with filmmaker Ken Burns a few weeks ago about his forthcoming eight-part documentary, Ken Burns: Country Music, which premieres Sunday, Sept. 15 on PBS stations nationwide. Writing for American Way, the American Airlines magazine (look for it in your airplane seat pockets; the full magazine spread is even nicer and more complete than the online version), I spoke with Burns by phone for nearly an hour over the July 4th holiday. He was at his lake house in New Hampshire, where he rambled lovingly about the documentary and country music’s deep cultural meaning for, well, our country.
He spoke of the African-American influence in country music, the powerful women that have become country legends, and how this uniquely American story should do much to bring us together at a time when we really need it. (Story continues below photograph.)
I’ll be writing posting more about the documentary soon. In the meantime, check out the magazine interview here. Also, check out my in-depth report from the filming of Country Music: The Concert, earlier this year, which was a great preview of the film. The concert will be shown by many PBS stations on Sept. 8, a week before the documentary. The show was narrated by Burns himself, with inspired performances by many artists from the film--Rosanne Cash, Rhiannon Giddens, Dwight Yoakum, Marty Stuart, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show, Ricky Skaggs, and many others.
More to come, and thanks for reading!
(Also, thanks to editors Bill Kearney and Fred Gonzalez at American Way, and to Ken Burns and his team, who are terrific to work with.)