Ken Burns traces the history of COUNTRY MUSIC in a new 8 part documentary series exploring the uniquely American art form. From its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues and hymns performed in small settings, to its worldwide popularity, Burns highlights how country music evolved over the course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music.
The series, premiering on WITF TV September 15 at 8pm, answers questions like “What is country music?” and “Where did it come from? “. From the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more, the series explores stories as well as the times in which they lived. Much like the music itself, the film tells unforgettable stories of hardships and joys shared by everyday people.
Through a mix of events and localized multi-media storytelling, the WITF Music project will extend the reach and impact of COUNTRY MUSIC. We'll highlight its roots in Pennsylvania, featuring untold stories of people in our region who played an important role in the creation of this uniquely American form of musical storytelling. Plus, we’ll explore how the genre is thriving and inspiring a new generation of musicians and fans.
Hosted by country radio station I-105’s Casey Allyn and Tim Michaels. Featuring a look at the new Ken Burns series COUNTRY MUSIC plus performances by Country & Bluegrass artists like Colebrook Road, Ben Gallaher, Jess Zimmerman Band and Jeff Mamett . . . with insights into their songwriting process and reflections on the classic country artists who’ve inspired them. Additional artists to be added to the line up soon.
$12 General Admission, $75 VIP Package.
Purchase tickets at AMTshows.com
WITF swings by “America’s First Fair” for 3 days of the 10 day festival. Stop by our tent on September 6 before the Brad Paisley concert, September 12 ahead of the Travis Tritt & Charlie Daniels Band event or September 13 before the Brantley Gilbert show to learn more about WITF Country Music project and the Ken Burns COUNTRY MUSIC series. Tickets at yorkfair.org.
Join WITF at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival August 16 & 17. The “Old Trailer” Main Stage at Gettysburg has hosted performances by a veritable “who’s who” of Bluegrass since the festival began in 1979. The Father of Bluegrass himself, Bill Monroe even performed on the stage several times. Throughout the festival, WITF will host preview screenings of the new COUNTRY MUSIC documentary. Come check us out! Tickets to the festival are available at gettysburgbluegrass.tix.com.
The Susquehanna Folk Festival at Roundtop Mountain Resort in Lewisberry runs July 26 through 28. Visit WITF at the festival on Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28. The festival showcases a variety of acoustic music styles including bluegrass, old-time, blues, and swing. The weekend will be jam-packed with concerts, dancing, jamming, an artisan marketplace, food and lots of hands-on activities. Plus, visitors can catch the first public preview screening of the COUNTRY MUSIC series, local WITF Music TV and radio specials, and more. Tickets are available at susquehannafolkfestival.org/tickets. Screenings will be held Sat/Sun at 12p, 2p, 4p & 6p in the air conditioned Alpine Room, adjacent to the Patio Tent behind the lodge. Some screenings will also feature talk-back sessions with festival performers.
One of the festival’s headline performers is GRAMMY Award Winner, Dom Flemons. Known as “The American Songster”, his repertoire of music covers over 100 years of American folklore, ballads, and tunes. In 2018, Flemons released an album titled “Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys” on GRAMMY Award-winning record label Smithsonian Folkways and received a GRAMMY Nomination for “Best Folk Album” at the 61st GRAMMY Awards.Read a Q&A with Flemons as he shares more about his love of country music, its history and heritage.
This new WITF original television special explores the roots of country music in PA with untold regional stories of the state’s role in the creation of a uniquely American form. Learn about the work of George Korson collecting the songs and stories of Pennsylvania coal miners. Uncover the role Nazareth, PA based Martin Guitar played in providing instruments for some of the most iconic country artists of all time. Plus, explore how the genre is thriving and inspiring a new generation of musicians and fans. Hear from regional musicians including: Colebrook Road, Ben Gallaher, Stephanie Grace, and Al Shade.
“A big umbrella is the best way to put it,” says Stephanie Grace with a nod. “Country music is a big umbrella that covers so many genres … You get that guy who loves classic rock and country music’s got a little rock to it, and you get that teenage girl that loves the pop music and country’s got a little of that too. So there’s a little something for everyone.”
Local bluegrass group Colebrook Road has steadily made their way from small shows to big stages to record label recording studios.
In 2018 they played at the well-known Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in New York at one of the side stages. Afterwards as they were winding down, they got called on to play another set on the main stage.
"I like driving my commute," says Heath Hardin. He and Claudia Harrison make up the Lancaster-based duo, Olds and the Absolution. "I'm on roads where I'm the only one for miles and I get to watch farmers rising early and working the fields and stuff like that. And that to me is...pacifying in a way. I'm very affected by that landscape. The Pennyslvania landscape is just absolutely gorgeous. And it has a certain feel to it, like all of those Andrew Wyeth paintings. It's that feeling of the fall colors."
Vinegar Creek Constituency first surfaced briefly as a one-off performance 2005. After positive feedback they repeated the performance a year later, and from there the band became a fixture in the local music scene. The current lineup consists of bassist Mike Vitale, violinist Pierre "Pete" de Vitry, Mark Rast on the banjo, Jeff Bryson playing mandolin and singing, and vocalist and guitarist Leo DiSanto.
WITF Music features Colebrook Road, Ben Gallaher, Olds & Absolution, The Vinegar Creek Constituency and more.