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Hi.

My name is Gary Zidek. Welcome to The Arts Section. Tune into the radio program every Sunday morning on WDCB 90.9 & 90.7 FM or listen to it online here. I'll be showcasing a variety of arts & entertainment, as well as.highlighting some creative ideas.

Ken Burns Puts a Spotlight on COUNTRY MUSIC In New Docu-Series

Ken Burns Puts a Spotlight on COUNTRY MUSIC In New Docu-Series

WDCB’s Gary Zidek talks to WTTW’s head of programming Lisa Tipton about the new PBS docu-series COUNTRY MUSIC.

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“He always does an amazing deep-dive, and just puts so much passion into his documentaries. He tells stories that only Ken Burns can tell.” - WTTW head of programming Lisa Tipton talking about Ken Burns.

Johnny Cash at his home in California, 1960. Photo credit Sony Music

Johnny Cash at his home in California, 1960. Photo credit Sony Music

Over the course of a 30-plus year career, filmmaker Ken Burns has explored the fabric of America by taking a closer look at some of the things that have shaped the country over its remarkable history. Burns has made multi-part documentaries on the Civil War, jazz, baseball, Vietnam and a host of other subjects.  The acclaimed documentarian has a talent for distilling long, sometimes complex histories into accessible narratives. Burns’ new documentary shines a light on another distinctly American topic, country music.

Ken Burns

Ken Burns

The eight-part docu-series, titled COUNTRY MUSIC, tells the genre’s story from it’s origins in the early 1920’s all the way through the mid-90’s. Burns reportedly piled up 175 hours of interview footage, talking to historians, producers, DJs and the musicians themselves. The 16-hour project chronicles the evolution of the music, from southern Appalachia’s songs to the rollicking western swing of Texas, from California honky-tonks to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.

Loretta Lynn signs Martin D-28 guitar

Loretta Lynn signs Martin D-28 guitar

Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Garth Brooks are just some of the country music greats interviewed for the documentary.

Dolly Parton on the Porter Wagoner Show, 1967. Photo: Courtesy of Les Leverett photograph, Grand Ole Opry Archives

Dolly Parton on the Porter Wagoner Show, 1967. Photo: Courtesy of Les Leverett photograph, Grand Ole Opry Archives

While most people associate Chicago with blues and jazz, the city actually has a big role in helping increase the popularity of country music. Chicago was the home of WLS Radio’s National barn Dance, an extremely popular radio program that aired from 1924 to 1968.

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COUNTRY MUSIC premieres September 15 through Wednesday, September 18, and Sunday September 22 through Wednesday, September 25. The series will stream on station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and wttw.com/countrymusic.

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