Exploring the tradition of Musical Storytelling in Pennsylvania

Overview

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.

Preview WITF’s local production & Ken Burns’ COUNTRY MUSIC

Events

Watch

WITF Music Presents:

New TV Special Premieres September 19 at 8pm on WITF TV

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.


WITF Music presents Colebrook Road

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.


WITF Music presents Olds and the Absolution

"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."


WITF Music presents Vinegar Creek Constituency

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.


Listen

WITF Music features Colebrook Road, Ben Gallaher, Olds & Absolution, The Vinegar Creek Constituency and more.


WITF Music: Ben Gallaher


Listen to their stories (and more) on
WITF Music