The BEST Episodes of Country Music

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Network: PBS

Explore the history of a uniquely American art form: country music. From its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues and hymns performed in small settings, to its worldwide popularity, learn how country music evolved over the course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music.

The Rub (Beginnings -1933)

#1 - The Rub (Beginnings -1933)

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 15, 2019

See how what was first called “hillbilly music” reaches new audiences through phonographs and radio, and launches the careers of country music's first big stars, the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers.

star 8.44
71 votes
Directors: Ken Burns
Writers: Dayton Duncan
I Can't Stop Loving You (1953 -1963)

#2 - I Can't Stop Loving You (1953 -1963)

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Sep 18, 2019

Travel to Memphis, where Sun Studios artists Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley usher in the era of rockabilly. Ray Charles crosses America's racial divide by recording a country album. Patsy Cline shows off Music City's smooth new Nashville Sound.

star 8.40
47 votes
Directors: Ken Burns
Writers: Dayton Duncan
Will The Circle Be Unbroken? (1968 -1972)

#3 - Will The Circle Be Unbroken? (1968 -1972)

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Sep 23, 2019

Learn how country music responds to a nation divided by the Vietnam War, as Army captain turned songwriter Kris Kristofferson sets a new lyrical standard, and artists like Bob Dylan and the Byrds find a recording home in Nashville.

star 8.39
44 votes
Directors: Ken Burns
Writers:
The Sons and Daughters of America (1964 -1968)

#4 - The Sons and Daughters of America (1964 -1968)

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Sep 22, 2019

See how country music reflects a changing America, with Loretta Lynn speaking to women everywhere, Merle Haggard becoming "The Poet of the Common Man" and audiences looking beyond race to embrace Charley Pride.

star 8.35
48 votes
Directors: Ken Burns
Writers: Dayton Duncan
The Hillbilly Shakespeare (1945 -1953)

#5 - The Hillbilly Shakespeare (1945 -1953)

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Sep 17, 2019

See how the bluegrass sound spreads in post-war America, and meet honky-tonk star Hank Williams, whose songs of surprisingly emotional depth are derived from his troubled and tragically short life.

star 8.34
53 votes
Directors: Ken Burns
Writers: Dayton Duncan
Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way? (1973 -1983)

#6 - Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way? (1973 -1983)

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Sep 24, 2019

Witness a vibrant era in country music, with Dolly Parton finding mainstream success; Hank Williams, Jr. and Rosanne Cash emerging from their famous fathers' shadows; and Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings launching the “Outlaw” movement.

star 8.24
37 votes
Directors: Ken Burns
Writers:
Hard Times (1933 -1945)

#7 - Hard Times (1933 -1945)

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 16, 2019

Watch as Nashville becomes the heart of the country music industry. The genre grows in popularity during the Great Depression and World War II as America falls in love with singing cowboys, Texas Swing and the Grand Ole Opry's Roy Acuff.

star 8.22
49 votes
Directors: Ken Burns
Writers: Dayton Duncan
Don't Get Above Your Raisin' (1984 - 1996)

#8 - Don't Get Above Your Raisin' (1984 - 1996)

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Sep 25, 2019

Neotraditional country artists such as George Strait, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire and the Judds keep country music true to its roots. Plus, the rise of superstar Garth Brooks and the return of Johnny Cash to the industry he helped create.

star 8.14
37 votes
Directors: Ken Burns
Writers: