By Kurt Wolff

He’s done in-depth examinations on all sorts of American traditions, including baseball, jazz, national parks, the Dust Bowl and of course the Civil War. So it’s little surprise to learn that acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns is now setting his sights on country music.

According to a report published in Billboard, Burns is planning to focus on country in an upcoming series. However, it won’t be happening this year…or even the next. According to PBS, the series isn’t set to hit airwaves until 2018. Before Burns unveils his exploration of country he’s got a few more projects to attend to first, including PBS specials on the Roosevelts, Jackie Robinson, Vietnam and the Gettysburg Address (the latter is scheduled to air this spring).

Don’t expect Burns to focus, though, on today’s top stars like Taylor Swift and Luke Bryan — instead, he’s likely to aim at uncovering and exploring the early threads of the genre and how they developed. Commercial country music dates back to the early 1920s and recordings by such artists as Eck Robertson, Henry Whitter, Ernest Stoneman and Fiddlin’ John Carson; the music’s folk roots, though, are even older and in some cases reach back centuries.

Artists mentioned in relation to Burns’ upcoming project include the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.



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