Noted filmmaker Ken Burns traces the history of Country Music — along with the history of America — in his new sixteen-hour documentary that premieres Sunday on PBS.

For Nashville-based rocker Sheryl Crow, it’s a connection that’s easy to see.

“I think the journey of country artists and the journey of American musicians at large paints an incredible picture of who we were at our best and who we were at our worst, and how we overcame a lot,” she says. 

“With regard to country music and blues…I think there is an overlap there — and mountain music — you can really get a clear picture of what it means to overcome,” Crow adds. “And we need more of that.”

Burns’ thoughtful evaluation of events profiles how music brought the U.S. together during some of its most troubled times. Sheryl believes that’s a message that’s more important now than ever.

“Oh my goodness!” she reacts. “Listen, I am a tried and true proponent of introducing young people to our history.”

Sheryl goes on: “I think at this moment, we need to understand who we were before now, and how far we’ve gotten away from it, and what it means to fight for the things you believe in.  And what it means to hear each other, and what it means to disagree and still live together peacefully and respectfully.”

Sheryl’s new collaborative album, Threads, weaves together contributions from country artists like Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton, Vince Gill, and Willie Nelson alongside other greats like Stevie Nicks, Sting, James Taylor and Mavis Staples.

The first installment of Country Music, titled “The Rub” (Beginnings – 1933), premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on PBS, with “Hard Times” (1933-1945) following on Monday. The series continues on subsequent nights before wrapping up on September 25.

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