A sneak peek of Ken Burns’ upcoming documentary film “Country Music” aired to a sold-out Curb Event Center on Wednesday night.
The film — directed and produced by Burns — will officially air on the Public Broadcasting Service Sept. 15. The eight-part, 16-hour film traces the history of country music from its origins to its mainstream popularity during the 1980s.
Hosted by Cody Alan from Country Music Television’s After Midnite, the screening kicked off with a performance from Kathy Mattea. Mattea, a two-time recipient of the Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year award, was featured prominently in the film.
Six excerpts from the film aired, featuring never-before-seen photographs and footage as well as interviews with country music stars such as Ricky Skaggs, Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton.
Following the screening, Burns and fellow producers Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey took the stage for a Q&A session. The producers spoke about the making of the film, from the many musicians and historians they interviewed to the countless stories they collected.
“We had these moments of almost spontaneous combustion where the art and the past and the present merge in this very unusual way,” Burns said.
Reflecting on the many years of making the film, the producers admitted that working on the film has deeply affected them.
“Art tells the tale of us coming together,” Burns said. “That’s an important message of country music.”
This article written by Joe Bendekovic. Photos by Caitlin Alexander and Joe Bendekovic.