WVPB offers up a double-feature preview of two music films

Aug 15, 2019

Country Music: A Film By Ken Burns,
In Tune: A Community of Musicians
focus of free community event

CHARLESTON – West Virginia Public Broadcasting is hosting an evening celebrating both old-time and country music in Charleston.

A limited number of tickets remain for the special event that will include a reception, extended previews of Ken Burns’ upcoming documentary County Music and WVPB’s documentary film In Tune: A Community of Musicians and a panel discussion.

The event will be Thursday, August 22, at 6:30 p.m., at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston. It’s free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

Panelists include Susan Shumaker, a member of the Ken Burns production team from Morgantown, W.Va.; Emily Hilliard, West Virginia State Folklorist; Russ Barbour, producer, In Tune; along with local old-time musicians featured in In Tune, Kim Johnson of Kanawha County, Cody Jordan of Mason County, Bobby Taylor of Roane County and John Morris of Clay County.

WVPB Executive Director Chuck Roberts said the evening is not just for people who think of themselves as music connoisseurs.

“Country music and old-time music have touched all of our lives and these amazing films by PBS’ Ken Burns and our own Russ Barbour are going to show how talented West Virginia musicians contributed to their respective genres throughout history,” Roberts said. “Prepare to be informed and entertained!”  

Country Music is an eight-part, 16-hour documentary focused on the history of country music across the United States up through the 1990s. During the Charleston screening, viewers will get a look at some excerpts from the film featuring artists from West Virginia and their impact on the Mountain State's rich country music heritage.

In Tune takes a look at the popularization of what was called "hillbilly music," which grew out of what became known as old-time music in the first half of the 20th Century. The documentary also explores customs and music culture; the impact of the American Folk Revival; rediscovery of old-time musicians; the arrival of back-to-landers in Appalachia; and the growing popularity of old-time music festivals. 

In Tune will air on WVPB’s statewide network on Sept. 14, at 8 p.m., and the first part of Country Music will air on Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. Both documentaries will be available for streaming on WVPB Passport thereafter.

To learn more about the films and this event, please visit wvpublic.org/intune.

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Another public screening of In Tune: A Community of Musicians will take place at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown on Monday, October 21, at 7 p.m., at the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting is hosting a special screening previewing In Tune: A Community of Musicians and Country Music: A Film By Ken Burns at the Culture Center in Charleston on Thursday, Aug. 22, at 6:30 p.m.

Several West Virginia artists are featured prominently in Country Music: A Film By Ken Burns, an eight-part, 16-hour documentary that begins airing Sept. 15, at 8 p.m. on WVPB television.