By Beth Reinker, MSLS, Manager, Collection Development Adult Materials
This September, filmmaker Ken Burns will bring audiences Country Music, a new eight-part documentary series airing on PBS. Here at Ingram, country music is especially near and dear to our hearts because our headquarters offices are in La Vergne, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville.
Before I moved to Nashville, I thought I knew country music. I grew up in West Virginia, and I’m literally a coal miner’s daughter. Country music was the soundtrack of much of my childhood, even though I hated it during my teenage years. I come from a family where “Your Cheatin’ Heart” was actually played at a funeral (names withheld to protect the guilty). Still, I have to admit that there is something very special about sitting in the Ryman Auditorium for the first time, knowing that so many of the musicians who created the music of my childhood had played there.
With multiple native Nashvillians on our staff, there are some incredible stories about meeting country music stars. Wils Smithwick, Collection Development Administrator for our Travel and Continuations standing order programs, has one of my favorite stories. When Wils was a child, his uncle worked for the Grand Ole Opry. One day, Wils and his uncle stopped at a house on an errand. That’s when Wils learned that he was at Dolly Parton’s house, and he was invited to swim in her pool.
Many of us are excited to see how an incredible storyteller like Ken Burns tells the story of the music that made Nashville famous. In honor of this new documentary, we pulled together some books to complement
Of course, you should begin with Country Music: An Illustrated History, the official tie-in to the new documentary. This book is filled with pictures and stories that build on what you will see on the screen.
For more depth, I recommend Country Music USA: 50thAnniversary Edition by Bill C. Malone and Tracey E.W. Laird. Malone is a country music historian, and he contributed to the new documentary. This updated edition of his well-respected title brings readers on the journey of country music from its roots to the present.
The Country Music Hall of Fame has compiled The Encyclopedia of Country Music. This isn’t just a reference title. It’s clearly written with fans in mind, and it even lists representative recordings to help bring these artists’ stories to life.
If Country Music piques your interest in all things country music and Nashville, you can check it out yourself when PLA comes to Nashville February 25-29, 2020. We’re planning to paint the town Ingram blue, and we’d love to see you there!