Ken Burns Country Music Documentary Worth Your Time
Music isn’t my strong suit, although. I attended a performance of the Grand Ole Opry shortly after the new building opened. Much has changed in the 45-years since my visit.
I watched Ken Burns film Country Music. Over 3 days. Like all of his films it’s well researched and gives great flavor to the history of the genre. There are obvious time limits and I understand there are tough decisions in what gets told in any story and what gets left out.
Alan Jackson got a quick mention and there was a picture of Alison Krauss briefly on the screen.
My parents were devoted country music fans. Especially my dad. His tastes ran the gamut from country, classical piano, opera, Teresa Brewer and the Rolling Stones. He would’ve enjoyed the movie but for the lack of any serious discussion of Kitty Wells.
Between women named Carter and the brief arrival of Patsy Cline there was really only two influential women on stage. Sarah Colley (as Minnie Pearl and no relation) was a comedian and not a musician. Kitty Wells was a dominant singer and for a very long time. There were but two brief mentions of her in the show. The last episode ends in the late 1990s and then mentions the deaths of Johnny and June Carter Cash, which happened early in the next decade.
Maybe I was out of the room and pouring a glass of water but I also didn’t hear the names Tim and Faith. Alan Jackson got a quick mention and there was a picture of Alison Krauss briefly on the screen.
A good portion of one episode focused on the Vietnam War and the turbulence of the 1960s. I guess at the expense of some of the names I’ve mentioned above.
Let me tell you, while some country artists raised some political questions at the time, the listeners I knew, my parents, extended family and neighbors weren’t sympathetic to a changing worldview.
Overall, though, I enjoyed the program. Much of the story is carried by Marty Stuart and Vince Gill. They’re marvelous storytellers.