Ken Burns to direct “Country Music” doc series for PBS

Ken Burns (pictured) is directing a doc series about the history and ongoing influence of country music on American life for PBS that will air in 2018.
January 21, 2014

Ken Burns (pictured) is a directing a documentary series about country music that will air on PBS in 2018.

Burns will direct and produce Country Music with his producing partner Dayton Duncan, who will also serve as writer. His company, Florentine Films, will coproduce the project with pubcaster WETA Washington DC.

The series will look at regional variations of the musical genre across the United States, from the Southern Appalachia and Nashville to Texas and California.

It will also trace the the origins and history of country music, the rise of bluegrass and rockabilly, and profile the lives of key artists, including Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Loretta Lynn and Garth Brooks.

“For over a century, country music has been a pivotal force in American culture, expressing the hopes, joys, fears and hardships of everyday people in songs lyrical, poignant and honest,” said PBS president Paula A. Kerger in a statement. “It is fitting that we have two of America’s master storytellers, Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, tell the story on film of an art form that for generations has told America’s story in song.”

Country Music is the latest addition to the documentarian’s packed slate of projects for the U.S. pubcaster.

His film The Address, about the Gettysburg Address, will air on PBS this spring; the 14-hour doc series The Roosevelts: An Intimate History is due to air this fall; The Emperor of All Maladies, a Burns-executive produced doc series about cancer based on a book by Siddhartha Mukherjee, will air in 2015; his doc about baseball player Jackie Robinson is also due next year; and the doc Vietnam will air in 2016.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.