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Date TimeSeptember 24, 2019
VoiceIn a 16-hour overview of the genre, acclaimed documentarian helps to reframe conversations about inclusivity
Country Music: how the Ken Burns series celebrates the outsider
Documentarian Ken Burns has stated publicly that he was not particularly a fan of country music at the time he started work on Country Music, his 16-hour historical overview of the genre currently airing on PBS. That Burns is far removed from the country music industry, having no real professional or personal ties to the music or its larger infrastructure, ends up being representative of what’s most notable about the documentary as a whole. Historically, country music has viewed perceived outsiders with, at best, skepticism and, in its ugliest moments, with overt hostility. As an outsider himself, Burns approaches the genre from a perspective that gives thoughtful consideration to the experiences of artists whose contributions have been marginalized. Burns’s exploration of the genre concludes in 1996, but the greatest value of his series is in reframing conversations that have dominated discussions of country music in 2019.
Related: Ken Burns on America: 'We're a strange and complicated people'

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