For the Love of Country Music

Has anyone been keeping up with Ken Burn’s “Country Music” history? From the Tennessean:

“Country artists and the classic songs they wrote and recorded are at the heart of “Country Music.” More than 100 interviews were conducted for the project, many of them with prominent country musicians, songwriters and industry figures. The list includes Marty Stuart, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Dwight Yoakam, Kris Kristofferson, and Naomi and Wynonna Judd.”

From Ken Burns himself:

“Country music is just the perfect subject,” Burns says. “Because as (songwriter) Harlan Howard said, ‘It’s three chords and the truth.’ It does not have the sophistication and elegance of jazz, but what it has is essential human emotions and stories told, basically, that everybody experiences. When someone says, ‘I’m not a fan of country music,’ we just say, ‘OK, just watch.’ ”

Now, as a child of rock and roll, and then the British invasion, I wasn’t really a fan of country music either. However, there were (and are) songs that just stay in your heart forever. Listening to “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” makes me cry every time.

I found that I was riveted to this latest from Ken Burns; there’s something about the music that not only tells stories, but touches our hearts as well. The folks from “Hee Haw” were also noted; expecially Minnie Pearl, remembered for her big smile and welcome to the audience: “How-DEEEE!” And the audience just loved to “How-DEEEE!” right back to her. She famously wore a straw hat with a $1.98 price tag dangling on it.

Her real name was Sarah Ophelia Colley. It is interesting to note that she was quite educated, and loved Shakespeare.  She also published books, including a cookbook. She appeared on Hee Haw from 1969 to 1991. People loved her, and many admirers sent her letters. She answered each and every one.

Country music is unique, and comes from the heart and soul of the musician. Just this from the last verse of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken:”

“Will the circle be unbroken

By and by, Lord, by and by

There’s a better home a-waiting

In the sky, Lord, in the sky.”

Honestly, I wasn’t much of a fan of country music, but watching and listening to the Ken Burns documentary of country music, it opened my heart and soul. Do yourself a favor and watch this latest from Ken Burns.


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