Step back in time and journey through the compelling history of a truly American art form during Country Music, a new eight-part, 16-hour film directed by Ken Burns, and produced alongside his long-time collaborators Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey. The series airs Sunday, September 15 through Wednesday, September 18, and Sunday, September 22 through Wednesday, September 25 at 7 p.m. each evening on statewide Iowa Public Television.

The documentary chronicles country music’s early days, from southern Appalachia’s songs of struggle, heartbreak and faith to the rollicking Western swing of Texas, California’s honky-tonks and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry show. The film follows the evolution of country music over the course of the 20th century as it eventually emerges to become “America’s music.”

Country Music explores crucial questions while focusing on the biographies of the fascinating trailblazers who created and shaped it – from the Carter Family, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash to Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks and many more – as well as the times in which they lived. Much like the music itself, the film tells unforgettable stories of hardships and joys shared by everyday people.

A national campaign exploring the history and music through screenings and discussions is taking place across the country leading up to the film’s premiere, and IPTV is hosting several events as part of this effort. Screenings will take place in Mason City on August 27, Iowa City on September 3, Adel on September 10 and Davenport on September 12. Register for free tickets to any of these events by visiting Iptv.org/events.

In advance of the premiere, PBS will debut a two-hour special, Country Music: Live at the Ryman, A Concert Celebrating the Film by Ken Burns, on Sunday, September 8 at 7 p.m. Hosted by Burns, the show features performances and appearances by celebrated musicians Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash, Rhiannon Giddens, Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam and more.

(Courtesy: IPTV)