Grammy winning Country music artist and renowned songwriter, Jeannie Seely, was on hand to introduce documentary segments and a performance honoring Loretta Lynn by Kathy Mattea at the “Country Music: Live at the Ryman, a Concert Celebrating the Film by Ken Burns.” on March 27.
The Ryman Auditorium was bursting with talent with performances by Bill Anderson, Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, Vince Gill, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Asleep at the Wheel, Holly Williams and Dwight Yoakam and more celebrating and to kick off Ken Burns’s COUNTRY MUSIC which will premieres Sunday, Sept. 15 on PBS. In addition to live performances, the event also highlighted select clips from the film produced by Opry Entertainment and Florentine Films.
“This was absolutely fabulous! The incredible performances and well written scripts documenting the legacy of country music. I’m so proud to be a part of this history making event,” said Jeannie Seely. “Thank you Ken Burns and your wonderful team!”
“In country music, we found a love for storytelling that translates everyday experiences into universal truths that we can all identify with,” said Ken Burns. “We’re very excited to share this film with the country, in towns large and small, from one coast to the other. But we are most excited to share it in those areas that gave birth to this most American of art forms. Bringing our film to Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music, and a character itself in our film, is a dream for us.”
COUNTRY MUSIC was directed by Ken Burns and produced by Burns, Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey who spent eight years researching and producing the film, conducting interviews with more than 100 people, including 40 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame (17 of those interviewed have since passed on). Among those storytellers are historian Bill Malone and a wide range of country artists such as Jeannie Seely, Marty Stuart, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, and Naomi and Wynonna Judd, as well as studio musicians, record producers and others. The film uses more than 3,200 photographs and over two hours of archival footage, including rare and never-before-seen photos and footage of Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Cash and others.
About Jeannie Seely:
Grammy winning Country music legend Jeannie Seely has achieved chart topping songs as a solo artist, as a duet partner, and as a songwriter. From her 1966 Top 10 Billboard album The Seely Style to her current self–produced album, “Written In Song,” a CD project with 14 tracks all co-written or self-penned by Seely. Jeannie’s recordings have spanned six decades and provided enjoyment to country music fans all around the world. Many of the songs were recorded by Hall of Fame members. Jeannie earned a Grammy for her recording of “Don’t Touch Me” in 1967. Seely is a weekly on-air host on SiriusXM “Willie’s Roadhouse,” where she shares personal memories and fun stories about the songs she spins. 2018 Seely was honored to receive recognition and a star on the famed Music City Walk of Fame and recognized for ranking #2 in Billboard’s Top TV Songs Chart for January 2018 for her song “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand),” written in 1964 and recorded by Irma Thomas. The song is the trailer theme song for new “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” many acclaimed music artists recorded their own versions, including Seal and Boyz II Men and it has been featured in numerous episodes of the science fiction anthology Netflix television series “Black Mirror.”
Early in her career, Jeannie’s deeply moving vocals earned her the nickname of “Miss Country Soul”– a title that’s still used today. Jeannie’s biggest dream came true when she was inducted as a member of the world-famous Grand Ole Opry, becoming the first Pennsylvania native to do so. A country music legend and trailblazer, her perseverance over many years earned Seely the honor of being the first female to regularly host segments of the weekly Opry and is credited for changing the image of Opry by being the first to wear a mini-skirt on the Opry stage. Jeannie works tirelessly behind the scenes in the music industry on behalf of fellow artists and musicians. Known for her quick wit and humor, she documented some of her “sayings” in her book, Pieces Of A Puzzled Mind, which is a unique collection of witticisms. Jeannie Seely has also starred in several major stage productions. In his 2003 book “Finding Her Voice: Women In Country Music,” music critic Robert K. Oermann wrote, “With her chin-out, tough/tender, heart-of-gold manner, Jeannie Seely remains one of country’s most completely modern female personalities,” and that statement still holds true. Keep up with all things Jeannie Seely atwww.jeannieseely.com.
About COUNTRY MUSIC:
COUNTRY MUSIC will chronicle the history of a uniquely American art form, rising from the experiences of remarkable people in distinctive regions of our nation. From southern Appalachia’s songs of struggle, heartbreak and faith to the rollicking western swing of Texas, from California honky-tonks to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, we will follow the evolution of country music over the course of the twentieth century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music.
It will be directed and produced by Ken Burns; written and produced by Dayton Duncan; and produced by Julie Dunfey — Emmy-award winning creators of PBS’s most-acclaimed and most-watched documentaries for more than a quarter century, including The Civil War, Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, The Dust Bowl, and many more.
COUNTRY MUSIC will be a sweeping, multi-episode series, exploring the questions, “What is country music?” “Where did it come from?” while focusing on the biographies of the fascinating characters who created it—from the Carter family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills, to Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more—as well as the times in which they lived. And like the music itself, COUNTRY MUSIC will tell unforgettable stories—stories of the hardships and joys shared by everyday people. We will trace its origins in minstrel music, ballads, hymns and the blues, and its early years, when it was called hillbilly music and played across the airwaves on radio station barn dances. We will see how Hollywood B movies instituted the fad of singing cowboys like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, and watch how the rise of juke joints after World War II changed the musical style by bringing electric guitars and pedal steel guitars to the forefront. We will follow the rise of bluegrass music with Bill Monroe, and we will note how one of country music’s offspring — rockabilly — mutated into rock and roll in Memphis. And we’ll see how Nashville slowly became not just the mecca of country music, but “Music City USA.” All the while, we will note the constant tug of war between the desire to make country music as mainstream as possible and the periodic reflexes to bring it back to its roots. For more information, visit kenburns.com/films/country-music/.