Country Music Documentary

Written by Don Reid on September 19th, 2019 Posted in General

I’ve been watching the Ken Burns Country Music Documentary on PBS each night this week. And from what I have been hearing, so has most of America. So far, after four episodes and eight hours of history, it does not disappoint. The visuals – the still photos and film clips – are just as good as the music. They tend to transport us back to eras we never knew and some that have faded with memory.

I got a letter last week from Ken Burns thanking me for my participation and giving me a few facts I thought you might enjoy. One hundred and one (101) interviews were conducted. Forty-one with Hall of Famers and twenty (20) with people who have passed away since the project began back in 2012.  I have no idea how the rest of the series looks but from what I have seen, everyone has done a good job. I was surprised to see myself show up in the interview chair just 20 minutes into the first episode. My part was done four years ago and the first interview they did, Little Jimmy Dickens, was done seven years ago.

Image result for maybelle L-5 guitar

I loved the Carter Family beginnings the first night. It was way before my time, but yet so familiar because of the years we, the Statlers, spent with Mother Maybelle, June, Helen and Anita in the 60s decade on the Johnny Cash tours.  They were rich with stories of A.P. Carter and Sarah and how they gathered songs and the early recording sessions. Sarah used to show up from time to time and visit backstage with everyone. She would enter the room with a flair in her mink coat and staple style of another generation and it was mesmerizing being in the same room with her and Maybelle. It was like watching and listening to country music royalty reminisce. And when that classic, invaluable, precious F- Hole guitar of Maybelle’s popped up on the screen, it gave me a few chills and weak knees. That very guitar that she picked “The Wildwood Flower” on, I sat backstage and played and wrote songs on between shows. She even taught me the famous “You Are My Flower” lick on it and I can still feel the strength and pull of those wire guitar strings. That beautiful old instrument, full of music, memories and miles now sits in the Country Music Hall of Fame. And so does Maybelle. And a thought just hit me. So do I.

Ain’t life funny!

Tune in for more starting this Sunday night. I’m enjoying every minute of them.

DSR    9/19/19