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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media — comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Contact John at

My Episode Guide To Ken Burns' 8-Night 'Country Music'

Courtesy PBS
PBS promotional image for Ken Burns' "Country Music" documentary series.

Ken Burns' team has interviewed more than 100 people – including 40 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame – for the eight-night Country Music documentary airing Sept. 15-19 and Sept. 22-25.

It's an impressive list: Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Marty Stuart, Rosanne Cash, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Kathy Mattea, Dierks Bentley, Ricky Skaggs, Holly Williams, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, Brenda Lee, and Naomi and Wynonna Judd. You get the idea.

Burns and long-time collaborators Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey use more than 3,200 photographs, plus plenty of archival footage or interviews with the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and many others.

Country Music airs on PBS 8 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday Sept. 15-18 and Sept. 22-25. Each episode will air twice every night. Here are listings distributed by WCET-TV:

Sunday, Sept. 15: The Rub (Beginnings-1933) "Hillbilly music" reaches new audiences through phonographs and radio, and launches the careers of country's first big stars, the Carter Family and Jimmie Rogers.

Monday, Sept. 16: Hard Times (1933-1945):  Country music grows in popularity during the Great Depression and World War II with singing cowboys, Texas swing and the Grand Ole Opry.

Tuesday, Sept. 17: The Hillbilly Shakespeare (1945-1953)  Bluegrass spreads in post-war American, and honky-tonk star Hank Williams touches America with songs culled from his troubled and tragically short life.

Wednesday, Sept. 18: I Can't Stop Loving You (1953-1963)  In Memphis' Sun Studios Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley usher in the era of rockabilly, while Ray Charles crosses America's racial divide by recording a country album and Patsy Cline shows a smooth new sound.

Sunday, Sept. 22: The Sons And Daughters Of America (1964-1968): Country music reflects a changing America, with Loretta Lynn speaking to women everywhere, Merle Haggard becoming "the poet of the common man" and audiences looking beyond race to embrace Charley Pride.

Monday, Sept. 23: Will The Circle Be Unbroken? (1968-1972)  Country music responds to a nation divided by the Vietnam War with former Army captain Kris Kristofferson setting a new lyrical standard; Bob Dylan and other artists find a recording home in Nashville.

Tuesday, Sept. 24: Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way (1973-1983) Dolly Parton finds mainstream success; Hank Williams Jr. and Rosanne Cash emerge from their famous fathers' shadows; and Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings launch the "outlaw" movement.

Wednesday, Sept. 25: Don't Get Above Your Raisin' (1984-1996): George Strait, Randy Travis and the Judds help country music stay true to its roots while Garth Brooks becomes a superstar and aging Johnny Cash returns to industry he helped create.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.