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Sneak preview of Ken Burns' newest documentary to be screened in Stillwater

Country Music

American filmmaker Ken Burns, known for documentaries including "Baseball" and "The Civil War," will have a sneak preview of his newest film premiered in Oklahoma. 

Screenings will take place in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Stillwater. Oklahoma State will host the Stillwater premier, which will be held in the OSU Student Union Theater.

Stillwater's screening will take place on Aug. 25 at 2:00 p.m. The Red Dirt Rangers, an Oklahoma-based country music band, will perform 30 minutes prior to the screening of the film. Those interested can RSVP for free at kosu.org.

The documentary, titled "Country Music," is an eight-part, 16-hour series that explores the history of a uniquely American art form. From its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues and hymns performed in small settings, to its worldwide popularity, the documentary details how country music evolved over the course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music, or at least a part of America's music.

"Country Music" explores questions such as “What is country music?” And “Where did it come from?" The series explores the biographies of the fascinating characters who created and shaped it. From the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks, and more, the documentary will explore stories as well as the times in which they lived. Much like the music itself, the series tells stories of hardships and joys shared by everyday people.

"Country Music" traces the music’s origins and its early years when it was referred to as hillbilly music and played across the airwaves on radio station barn dances. The series will follow 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. It continues by following the rise of bluegrass music with Bill Monroe and how one of country music’s offspring—rockabilly—mutated in to rock and roll in Memphis. And, it will explore how Nashville slowly became not just the mecca of country music, but “Music City USA."

Prominent Oklahoma natives including Vince Gill and Garth Brooks will be featured within the documentary. 

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