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Country: Portraits of an American Sound (2015)

TV-14 | | Documentary, Music | 22 April 2015 (USA)
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'Country: Portraits of an American Sound' is a documentary film that explores the history and culture of country music through the lens of photography, which has portrayed the ideals, ... See full summary »


Steven Kochones
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Credited cast:
Bill Anderson ... Himself
Garth Brooks ... Himself
Rosanne Cash ... Herself
Roy Clark ... Himself
Terri Clark Terri Clark ... Herself
Peter Cooper Peter Cooper ... Himself
Manuel Cuevas Manuel Cuevas ... Himself
Don Cusic Don Cusic ... Himself
Tim Davis Tim Davis ... Himself
Henry Diltz ... Himself
Larry Gatlin ... Himself
Merle Haggard ... Himself
Jim Halsey Jim Halsey ... Himself
Henry Horenstein Henry Horenstein ... Himself
Brenda Lee ... Herself


'Country: Portraits of an American Sound' is a documentary film that explores the history and culture of country music through the lens of photography, which has portrayed the ideals, lifestyle and personalities of country music artists for over 80 years. The film features imagery and commentary from Grand Ole Opry photographer Les Leverett, the late celebrity photographer Leigh Wiener, documentary photographer Henry Horenstein, iconic music photographers Henry Diltz and Raeanne Rubenstein, and contemporary photographers David McClister and Michael Wilson. Over a dozen country music artists also appear, including Rosanne Cash, Roy Clark, Merle Haggard, Lyle Lovett, Charley Pride, LeAnn Rimes, Kenny Rogers, Tanya Tucker, The Band Perry and Keith Urban. The film weaves iconic images, historical footage and over 25 country music hits into a dynamic look at this uniquely American sound.

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Documentary | Music




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Release Date:

22 April 2015 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Nashville, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Arclight Productions See more »
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User Reviews

Country Music as Captured By Photographers
9 December 2017 | by HarlowMGMSee all my reviews

This well-made documentary on country music is not so much about the history of the music but rather how the genre was publicized and perceived, particularly in still photography with comments from several of the photographers themselves on their work and careers in the industry as well as comments from a couple dozen country singers commenting on their own careers, their images, and country music including Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers, Charley Pride, Connie Smith, Garth Brooks, and Tanya Tucker.

The editing of this film is excellent, flowing well from photo to photo and cutting back and forth from the interviews. There is some commentary though from some of the "experts" and "historians" that is inaccurate. One person describes Dolly Parton in her early career as "in Porter Wagoner's band and (who) occasionally made records" - she was his "girl singer" but she was a full-fledged country star herself from the beginning and regularly recorded popular solo records from day one. Another completely misunderstands Ray Charles' early work recording "country and western", these albums were not aimed or sold to the country audience but to the traditional pop market just like dozens of other such albums of country covers from pop stars ranging from Bing Crosby to Connie Francis to The Supremes albeit Charles' were overwhelmingly the most successful of these albums. Perhaps worse of all because she should know better is Rosanne Cash (infamous among many in the industry for being a bit of a snob against mainstream country music) who insists her father Johnny Cash was more into blues than country in his formative years, complete BS proved false by her own mother's memoir which quotes Cash's letters to her from his Army stint in which he frequently comments on liking and buying current country records and usually hard country acts like Hank Snow.

The film doesn't work so well when it tries at the end to tie modern-day "country" acts like Keith Urban and The Band Perry into the storyline. Current country music is country in name only and most people who like the old stuff can't stand the new stuff and vice versa. Fortunately this segment is fairly brief. This film is very made and should be of interest both fans of the genre and students of popular culture.

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