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THE HEART OF COUNTRY - HOW NASHVILLE BECAME MUSIC CITY USA

This historical biography of the glittering hub of Country Music reveals the dynamic relationship between commerce and art that has defined Nashville since 1925. It explores the conflicts that have confronted Nashville’s artists and music industry down the years; for example, the creative pressures of 'the Nashville sound'; the devastating impact of Elvis and then Bob Dylan; the rise and fall of the Urban Cowboys and the struggle of several Nashville legends to confront their inner demons.

 

Music City’s Hollywood-style star system has long been a magnet for aspiring performers and songwriters. But Nashville’s true identity is rooted deeper, in its distinctive institutions like the Ryman Auditorium, where the Grand Ole Opry once thrived, in its Southern Baptist churches, and in those downtown bars where the honky-tonk of Hank Williams and Kitty Wells still seems to belong.

 

The story unfolds through the testimony of musicians, producers, broadcasters and rare archive of the country legends. These include Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson and several hit-making contemporary stars - Kacey Musgraves, Brad Paisley and Jason Aldean. This cast reveals the unique power of country music to hold up a mirror to its fans and create what Kristofferson calls the ‘white man’s Soul Music’.

 

Director Jeremy Marre 

BBC TV 90mins 2014