Pictured from left to right are 'Country Music' producer and writer Dayton Duncan, producer Julie Dunfey and director Ken Burns.

Pictured from left to right are 'Country Music' producer and writer Dayton Duncan, producer Julie Dunfey and director Ken Burns.

Evan Barlow/

It's not often you hear the term "celebrity documentarian" thrown around. Unless you're Michael Moore, or maybe Super Size Me's controversial director Morgan Spurlock — both of whom often appear as major characters in their own films — only a few documentary filmmakers are well known by their names, let alone recognizable by face to the casual moviegoer.

Ken Burns is one of these few. Having earned his reputation as a maker of must-see films, Burns is a celebrity documentarian in the truest sense; his name alone lends projects an immediate must-see factor. His latest project for PBS, Country Music, is an eight-part, 16-hour series that, according to a press release, "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."

And, not to brag, but plenty of Lone Star icons will show up in the film as well as its mammoth five-disc soundtrack, which intends to showcase the complete timeline of country music history. The nearly 100 tunes in the collection include ones by Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Ray Price, Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings and Bob Wills.

The documentary "follows the evolution of country music over the course of the 20th century as it eventually emerges to become 'America's music,'" according to the release. It's set to premiere on North Texas' KERA on Sept. 15. And before then, KERA will host a special screening of selected clips from the film, with producer and writer Dayton Duncan in attendance, as well as producer Julie Dunfey.

Duncan and Dunfey are longtime Burns collaborators, having worked on previous award-winning documentaries of his such as The Civil War and The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Following the screening, which will take place at SMU's McFarlin Memorial Auditorium, the two producers will take part in a panel discussion led by Krys Boyd, host of KERA's Think.

Details

Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns, on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. Tickets available now at kera.org/countrymusic

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