Three Chords and the Truth

I watched the first couple episodes of the PBS mini-series Country Music: A History by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan and was hooked. I love history. I love music. I love country music. I love Ken Burns’ documentaries. I was watching a free preview of the series and because I am not a PBS subscriber, didn’t get to see the whole thing. As you can guess, when I saw the book by Duncan was available in audio, I had to grab it.

Yes, the visuals of a Ken Burns documentary are an added treat but you know what? After a chapter or two into the 18 hour audiobook, I found I didn’t really miss the visuals. Yes, it would have been nice to have the songs playing as well but that was remedied by grabbing the accompanying playlists on Spotify.

Country Music – A Film by Ken Burns playlist

It took much longer than the 18 hours of the audiobook because I had to stop and listen to some of that music several times. This is one of the best books I have read not only this year but ever… it is that good. Duncan does a great job of bringing you along with the development and changes in country music. I knew most of the information already (even the really old stuff) but I found several gaps in my country music knowledge.

Those gaps were likely during times when I was exploring other genres of music (jazz, classical, rap, pop, hip-hop and others) or artists that never really clicked with me. I took the extra step and when someone like Emmylou Harris (who I never listened to )was heralded for her role in developing country music, I felt she deserved to be heard. Each time Duncan went on about an overlooked artist (like Ricky Scaggs) I paid my respect for their contributions by listening to the songs and albums mentioned. And each time, I was impressed.

If you like history, if you like music (even if not country,) you will like this book. If you like country music to boot – you will love this book.

by Chris Doelle