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Stars Gather To Celebrate Country Music This Sunday

A finale of the concert hosted by Ken Burns, featuring clips from the series and performances by Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Asleep at the Wheel, Holly Williams and Dwight Yoakam, among others. Courtesy of Erika Goldring.

The premiere of Ken Burns’ long-awaited Country Music is right around the corner. The eight-part, 16-hour documentary is a detailed look at the history and evolution of this uniquely American art form. While Country Music premieres on Sunday, September 15, you can get a sneak-peek at clips from the film, as well as a crash-course in the genre from some of the musicians interviewed for the film as they perform iconic songs on one of country’s most hallowed stages.

Country Music: Live at the Ryman, airing this Sunday at 8 p.m., was filmed live in front of a packed audience at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. The concert highlights country music’s complex history and stylistic diversity with a toe-tapping tour of everything from bluegrass to honky-tonk.

Ken Burns hosts Country Music: Live at the Ryman. Courtesy of Erika Goldring.

Hosted by Ken Burns and featuring performances and appearances by artists Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash, Rhiannon Giddens, Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam and more, Live at the Ryman is an epic exploration of country’s tangled roots as well as the personal stories behind some of its most beloved songs. Highlights include Vince Gill’s cover of Dolly Parton’s classic “I Will Always Love You,” and Holly Williams singing her grandfather Hank Williams Sr.’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

"All of the talented artists who performed at the Ryman also appear in our film, as commentators or as characters or as both," said Country Music writer and producer Dayton Duncan. "But on this night, they sang and played the music they love, brought the crowd to tears and to their feet, and in one concert took us all on an unforgettable journey across time, one song at a time."

“In country music, we found a love for storytelling that translates everyday experiences into universal truths that we can all identify with,” said Ken Burns. “We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to bring film excerpts of Country Music to those areas that gave birth to this most American of art forms. Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music, is a character itself in our film, and hosting this concert there was a dream come true for us. We are thrilled to now share this special evening with PBS viewers across the country.”

Country Music: Live at the Ryman premieres Sunday, September 8 at 8 p.m. Take a look at a preview and the show’s setlist below and visit gpb.org/country for more news, blogs, videos and events leading up to the premiere of Ken Burns’ Country Music on Sunday, September 15 at 8 p.m.

Set List:

“Ruby, Are You Mad at Your Man” – Rhiannon Giddens and Ketch Secor

“In the Jailhouse Now” – Ketch Secor

“Tumbling Tumbleweeds” – Riders in the Sky

“New San Antonio Rose” – Asleep at the Wheel

“Uncle Pen” – Marty Stuart and Ricky Skaggs

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” – Holly Williams

“Orange Blossom Special” – Marty Stuart

“Crazy” – Rhiannon Giddens

“Hungry Eyes” – Dwight Yoakam

“Streets of Bakersfield” – Dwight Yoakam and Dierks Bentley

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” – Kathy Mattea

“Sunday Morning Coming Down” – Larry Gatlin

“Pancho & Lefty” – Rodney Crowell

“Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” – Dierks Bentley

“I Will Always Love You” – Vince Gill

“Don’t Get Above Your Raisin'” – Ricky Skaggs

“I Still Miss Someone” – Rosanne Cash

“Will the Circle Be Unbroken” – Full Cast