Ken Burns has a new film on Public TV and it’s one you shouldn’t miss. Country Music is an eight-part program that traces the history of country music from its birth up to the present. The first of the two hour segments will air on Sunday, September 15th from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Parts 2, 3, and 4 will air on September 16th, 17th, and 18th at the same time. The final four parts will air on September 22nd, 23rd, 24th, and 25th from 8:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Check your local PBS station to make sure that the series will air on the dates and times shown above.
On Sunday night September 8th a two hour program, “Country Music: Live at the Ryman, A Concert Celebrating the Film by Ken Burns,” which was taped at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville some months ago, was aired on PBS. It served as a preview of the upcoming series and featured some great country music entertainers in live performances. It was a fabulous concert which any country music lover would have enjoyed attending. If you have a chance to see a rerun of the show, watch it or record it. In my area, it will be rebroadcast the afternoon that Burns’ film begins. Again, check your local PBS station to see if it is available to you.
The Grand Ole Opry is not the only venue that featured country music live and on the radio. Another was The Louisiana Hayride (it originated in Shreveport, Louisiana and thrived from the late-1940s to the early-1960s) which featured some country music hopefuls who went on to stardom (including The Grand Ole Opry) as a result of their appearances on the Hayride. Those performers included Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Sr., Kitty Wells, and George Jones. Hank Williams, Jr., narrates a 90 minute history of the Hayride, “Cradle of the Stars: The Story of The Louisiana Hayride,” on Public TV here in Louisiana just prior to the beginning of Ken Burns’ new film. Perhaps it’s being offered elsewhere as well.
On Sunday, September 22nd, I’ll host another three hour edition of “Music on the Sunny Side of the Street” on WBRH public radio here in Baton Rouge. During the first hour (which airs from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Central Time) I’ll feature three songs written and sung by someone who appears prominently in Ken Burns’ film. I’ll give you a hint to his identity: He was known as “the hillbilly Shakespeare.” Tune in to find out who the mystery man is. You can hear the program locally at 90.3 FM or over the internet at wbrh.org.
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It’s common for the bad guy in a movie to listen to classical music while doing his dastardly deeds. How did evil and classical music become synonymous? Find out here.
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Most mornings when I get up I fix my coffee and drink it while listening via the internet to classical music from WQXR in New York City. I enjoy the music but even more than that I enjoy the host who is on from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time weekdays. His name is Jeff Spurgeon and he’s upbeat and overflowing with tidbits of knowledge about the music he plays. His selections are a series of short classical pieces which is especially good if you’re rushing around getting ready for work. He mixes music by the greats like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Vivaldi with music written by composers you may never have heard of before. For instance yesterday morning he played music by Johanna Kinkel, Francois-Andre Danican Philidor, and Agathe Backer Grondahl. He even played a concerto by “Anonymous.”
I don’t know where Spurgeon gets so much energy so early in the morning, but I’m glad he’s there. Give him a try.