Johnny Cash at his home in California, 1960
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Johnny Cash at his home in California, 1960

From the Civil War to the Dust Bowl and from baseball to jazz, Ken Burns documentaries have covered a range of critical events in American history and culture. Now, country music is getting the Ken Burns treatment. 

He and long-time collaborators and producers Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey spent eight years researching and making an eight-part, 16-hour documentary called Country Music, which will air on PBS stations like GPB in September. GPB is a presenting partner for a preview April 1 at the Atlanta History Center and on Wednesday, April 10, at Savannah's Jepson Center.

On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott speaks with Dayton Duncan.

On Second Thought spoke with producer and writer of the documentary Dayton Duncan to explore the origins and evolution of a genre that rose from the ground up, mixing traditions of European immigrants, African-American blues, and the hard-won stories of the "common man." We hear the tales behind the songs, recounting the rebels, the ramblers and the innovators who impacted the genre throughout the 20th century.

 

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The Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, c. 1960
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The Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, c. 1960
Bill Monroe on the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, c. 1958
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Bill Monroe on the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, c. 1958
The Original Carter Family, from left: AP, Maybelle and Sara Carter c. 1930
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The Original Carter Family, from left: AP, Maybelle and Sara Carter c. 1930