My Nashville by Bob Harris BBC documentary 2014
‘Whispering’ Bob Harris journeys to America’s country music capital to show why Nashville became Music City USA.
From the beginnings of the Grand Ole Opry on commercial radio, through the threatening onset of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s, up to the modern mainstream hits of Music Row, this is the story of how music has shaped Nashville and why today it’s a place of pilgrimage for musicians from all over the world.
As well as iconic venues on Lower Broadway and the historic hit factories of 16th Avenue, Bob also explores the East Nashville music scene and discovers a rebellious flip-side to the country coin. With exclusive performances from the city’s top talent, Bob Harris explains why country music owes its enduring success to Nashville’s unique nurturing community of songwriters.
Very nice archival footage combined with fresh insights from today’s players. He looks not just at the music but all the stuff that goes on around it, the shops, the posters and the studios of Nashville.
Emmylou Harris, John Fullbright, Ashley Monroe, Jason Isbell, Angel Snow and more
Emmylou Harris, Duane Eddy, Dave Stewart and Rosanne Cash, Kacey Musgraves, Eric Church and more
This celebration of the history and aesthetic of country music tracks the evolution of the genre from the 1920s to the present, exploring country as both folk and pop music – a 20th century soundtrack to the lives of working-class Americans in the South, forever torn between their rural roots and a mostly urban future, between authenticity and showbiz.
Exploring many of the great stars of country from Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams to Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton, director Andy Humphries’s meditation on the power and pull of country blends brilliant archive and contributions from a broad cast that includes Dolly Parton, the Handsome Family, Laura Cantrell, Hank Williams III, Kd lang and many more.
If you have ever wondered about the sound of a train in the distance, the keening of a pedal steel guitar, the lure of rhinestone or the blue Kentucky hills, and if you want to know why twang matters, this is the documentary for you.
The film is a bit harsh when discussing the future of country music, but it is one of the better docus on the genre (the four part BBC series, The Lost Highway is still the benchmark).