Until This Week...

Posted by Bob Bosse on

Until this week, I have never considered myself a country music fan. That has been a category I have never felt comfortable fitting into. I’ve always considered my musical tastes much cooler than that. I spend my time listening to alternative rock, classic rock, blues, reggae, punk and funk. Pretty much anything but country music. In fact, I generally go out of my way to avoid having to listen to country music.

Well, except for Willy Nelson, heck everybody likes Willie. I don’t have to be a country music fan to appreciate his style and his lyrics. His work appeals to everybody, even non-country music fans like me, right?  

Also, sure, despite the well-known fact that I am have never been a country music fan, somehow, I actually do happen know a few standard country music songs by heart. Patsy Cline’s Crazy, and I Fall to Pieces, we all know those. Hank Williams’ Your Cheatin Heart, Hey Hey Good Lookin, and of course a few songs by Johnny Cash.  I Walk the Line, Folsom Prison Blues, Ring of Fire, and quite a few more, Man that guy had some great songs.  

As a child of the network television generation, I spent my formative years watching hours of sitcoms and variety shows. Hee Haw, the Beverly Hillbillies, and The Glenn Campbell variety show, the Porter Waggoner Show and others. Come to think of it, I still have fond memories of those stars. Conway Twitty, Charlie Pride, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Ray Price, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Flatts and Scruggs were in my living room for years. Now that I think about it, there was an incredible amount of memorable music on TV in those days. 

This week I was forced to reevaluate my relationship with country music after watching the first four episodes of Ken Burns’ Country Music series. I started watching the first night because I am a fan of Ken Burns’ work and was eager to see what his new series looked and felt like. He has taken on some very heavy subjects before, Vietnam, World War II and Civil War stand out, he mostly tackles big subjects. I was eager to see how he would handle what, in my mind, was somewhat lighter topic. I did not anticipate sticking with this one from beginning to end, after all, it’s sixteen hours long, and I have things to do. 

I was mesmerized enough by the first episode to tune in for the second. By the end of the second, I knew I was not going to miss a single minute of the series. I admire it for the art of storytelling. Every single frame is as close to perfection as it gets. The visuals, the research, and the editing are incredible. The end of episode four for example, blew me away with the simple but brilliant editing technique of using the mechanical sound of the jukebox to follow the emotional story of Patsy Cline’s tragic death. This is something only Ken Burns would ever think of doing. I have replayed the sequence several times and am still emotionally blown away each time I see it.  This series is filled with those sorts of moments.

Each episode took me back to that living room of my childhood and put the story of my entertainment during my formative years into a much deeper perspective, showing the rich history of the country music genre, and waking me to the fact that even though I had always dismissed country music, it has actually been a common thread throughout my life.   

Begin your own country music journey by watching episode one of COUNTRY MUSIC by Ken Burns here:

 

subscribe to sdpb email updates food blog link image learning blog link image living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

Related content from SDPB Radio - Art

The Enduring Simplicity (And Complexity) Of Michael Hall

In The Moment ... September 20. 2018 Show 426 Hour 2 Michael Hall writes picture books that delight and endure. He's...

Art That Takes You Home

In The Moment ... July 18, 2018 Show 381 Hour 2 Jon Crane creates "Art that Takes You Home." After a tour at...

Renowned Artists Visit Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute

In The Moment ... June 19, 2018 Show 361 Hour 2 Art can be meditation, expression, activism, and escape. It can also...

Eagle Butte Artists Learn Tips To Flourish

Artists who turn their passion into a business venture can find it a challenge. They need to figure out the details...

Books

The Multiple Hearts Of Laura Geringer Bass

In The Moment ... September 20. 2018 Show 426 Hour 2 When 13 year-old Briana's dad dies suddenly, she is faced with...

Read, Baby, Read: What's America's Best-Loved Novel?

In The Moment ... May 22, 2018 Show 342 Hour 1 What's America's best-loved novel? You get to decide. PBS launches...

Author Kirk Wallace Johnson's "The Feather Thief"

In the Moment ... May 1, 2018 Show 327 Hour 1 The centuries-old art of salmon fishing fly-tying has a dark side. It...

Jane Yolen Celebrates #Yolen365 And Counting

In The Moment ... April 26, 2018 Show 324 Hour 1 In March, author Jane Yolen released her 365th book. That means you...

Music

Matthews Opera House Season Preview

In The Moment ... September 26. 2018 Show 430 Hour 2 The Matthews Opera House subscription concert series begins...

Fun Approach To Music Theory

Andrew Rogers – in home music lessons designed for children and young adults. Uses a unique teaching style that...

The Literary Style of Reina del Cid

Reina del Cid kicks off her summer tour with a stop in Sioux Falls at the Icon Lounge. She joins SDPB's Lori Walsh...

Eric Johnson Returns For Black Hills Playhouse Opener

In The Moment ... May 29, 2018 Show 346 Hour 2 Leave the ordinary behind at this year's Black Hills Playhouse Season...

Theater

Broadway Choreographer Chet Walker

In the Moment ... April 9, 2018 Show 311 Hour 1 The University of South Dakota Theater Department presents "Cabaret"...

Images of the Past: Stage To Screen

In The Moment ... November 27, 2017 Show 227 Hour 2 A new exhibit at the Old Courthouse Museum tells the story of...

Personalities: From Huron High to Broadway

Singer, actor, and teacher Joseph Mahowald graduated from Huron High School in 1977. He went on to study music and...

In The Moment ... Alex Meyer's Scenic Design

In The Moment ... May 10, 2017 Show 090 Hour 2 Alex Meyer. He's a junior art and theater major at Augustana College...