Skip to main content

'Country Music' Film by Ken Burns

“Good evening country music fans,” said president and CEO of WETA Sharon Percy Rockefeller at the premiere screening of Country Music by filmmaker Ken Burns at George Washington’s Lisner Auditorium. “Tonight we celebrate a new master work from Ken Burns, our great friend and collaborator for more than 30 years. Ken’s fascinating, new eight part film country music is epic. I mean epic in scope full of colorful characters and riveting tales that premiered on Sunday, September 15th PBSstations nationwide. Ken is aptly called America’s storyteller with enormous artistry and integrity. He illuminates our national character and identity while inspiring us to learn more about our shared history and past. WETA is incredibly crowd proud to bring Ken’s films to the American people. Country Musicis our 28th production with Ken.”

“The music is fabulous for millions of Americans,” she added. “The iconic songs are the sound track of life itself this evening. I’m so pleased that we’ll be hearing from country music’s Kathy Mattea. I came to understand that country music in West Virginia and everywhere comes from the heart. It is built on hard work, on hope and on relationships. These words describe Ken’s films as well. Projects like Country Music can only materialize with many, many partners working together over many, many years.The group that supports Ken’s projects is dedicated to educating Americans about their history through documentary films.”

“We at PBS are committed to sharing stories that deepen understanding and encourage conversation,” said PBS COO Jonathan Barzilay, “and nobody, nobody tells those stories better than Ken Burns. He has produced some of the most iconic important films of our time and now he’s done it again with Country Music. This is an epic project drawing on over 100 interviews, over 700 hours of archival footage. The film is not only filled with song, it is also filled with surprises.”

“It has been CPB’s (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) honor and mission to support the work of this great storyteller and historian. They’ve spent most of this past year on a bus touring the United States and attending so many of these public media events from the birthplace of country music and Bristol and Tennessee and Texas, and Oklahoma and the Central Valley of California. And I want to tell you that in each town, they have been so welcome because at a time when there is great divisiveness – through Ken’s films, we are reminded that our greatness is truly tied to our goodness and the amazing power of the mix. Please welcome public media’s all native son, Ken Burns.”


“Hello Toledo,” Burns joked. “Hang on, Washington. Sorry. Sorry. No, we’re so happy to be home. We’re so happy to be back here with you all. It has been my home since 1982. On behalf of Dayton Duncan, the writer and co-producer, and on behalf of Julie Dunfey, co-producer, I’d like to thank you all for attending this screening. You know, you could be at a debate.”