• Network: PBS
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 15, 2019
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20

Critic Reviews

  1. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Sep 16, 2019
    100
    Enthralling. ... Burns' typically masterful assembly of photography, music and personal commentary is matched by Dayton Duncan's lyrical script (read by Peter Coyote). [16-29 Sep 2019, p.24]
  2. Reviewed by: Aaron Barnhart
    Sep 16, 2019
    100
    A beautifully crafted account of country music’s origins and numerous personality changes and facelifts. It is entertaining and arguably has the best soundtrack of any Burns film (and I loved Jazz). Country Music is also full of provocations that should, at some point or another, unsettle everyone watching.
  3. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Sep 13, 2019
    100
    Whatever your thoughts about country music, expect to be immensely entertained, educated and even edified throughout this master course in pickin’, grinnin’ -- and so very much more.
  4. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Sep 21, 2019
    90
    You don't have to like country music at all—in fact, you can despise it—to be swept away by these gloriously eccentric yarns.
  5. Reviewed by: Bruce Miller
    Sep 9, 2019
    90
    Ken Burns’ stellar documentary. ... “Country Music” isn’t definitive, but it comes pretty darn close, particularly when it uses those unforgettable songs as evidence. ... Absorbing every step of the way, “Country Music” is like a class reunion you don’t want to leave. You learn something about the people you thought you knew and you come to appreciate them for the faults you never thought you could excuse.
  6. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Sep 16, 2019
    80
    Country Music endeavors to go full Baskin-Robbins and give viewers as many flavors as possible. ... Yet the overall effect of watching how an outsider art became a major part of our everyday sonic landscape, and the way it let a thousand different flowers bloom from the rocky soil of its origins, is overwhelming.
  7. Reviewed by: Melanie McFarland
    Sep 16, 2019
    80
    Compared to Burns’ past works, this is not the fathoms-deep dive into the music’s history which devoted fans may be wanting. On the other hand, this may make “Country Music” more accessible to viewers like me who have little historical or emotional connection to this sector of popular culture. Sometimes the way into the museum is to skim the catalogue.
  8. Reviewed by: David Cantwell
    Sep 16, 2019
    80
    What the documentary gets right overwhelms the caveats. Burns’s chief takeaway from his immersion in the genre is spot on: country music is not, and has never been, static.
  9. 80
    This is, all things considered, one hell of a show. Even the stoniest resolve tends to crumble whenever Burns’s sensibility intersects with screenwriter Dayton Duncan’s tumbling Faulknerian sentences and narrator Peter Coyote’s matter-of-fact delivery of them (which dries them out and makes them paradoxically even more affecting). The three of them together are as crackling an ensemble as the bands they profile.
  10. Reviewed by: Kristi Turnquist
    Sep 12, 2019
    80
    If “Jazz” was a combination of arts education and appreciation, “Country Music” is the Burns equivalent of a jukebox musical. The wonderful songs just keep coming. ... “Country Music” is at its best when it pauses to revel in the brilliance of greats like Johnny Cash, Parton and Hank Williams.
  11. Reviewed by: James Sullivan
    Sep 12, 2019
    80
    A robust aural  portrait of the origins and various detours of the music itself. ... Whether your idea of country music is “Redneck Woman” or “Stand by Your Man,” this latest achievement from Ken Burns and company will cut through.
  12. Reviewed by: Allison Shoemaker
    Sep 12, 2019
    80
    “Country Music” has many strengths, but it is the obvious love and respect the filmmakers feel for the music and those who bring it into the world that most distinguishes the series.
  13. Reviewed by: Jon Caramanica
    Sep 12, 2019
    80
    “Country Music” moves with the signature even-keel tempo of other Burns documentaries, which makes the handful of disruptive moments — some lighthearted, some sad — all the more striking. ... “Country Music” makes it plain that the story of the genre is merely a pocket version of the story of the American musical experiment writ large.
  14. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Sep 12, 2019
    80
    Series writer Dayton Duncan balances the obligatory bios and the juicy gossip, the landmark moments and quite a few tangential but necessary subjects—including country radio, Nudie suits, Martin guitars and the comedian Minnie Pearl. He strives to maintain the storyline while still giving time to the outliers— Eddy Arnold, for instance, who couldn’t be ignored but doesn’t quite fit, either. ... But it’s the stories that seal the deal.
  15. Reviewed by: Steve Greene
    Sep 13, 2019
    75
    For its running time, Burns effectively steers this wagon across country music’s diverging timelines. It’s only in retrospect that “Country Music” raises questions beyond the answers its historical sweep can offer.
  16. Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    Sep 16, 2019
    70
    The era-by-era approach can lead to a bit of a by-the-numbers feel, as Burns and Duncan make a mighty effort to touch every base in every decade. This also robs the film of the grand overall cohesion that holds together such epic efforts as “The Civil War” and “The Roosevelts.” Because of this, “Country Music” often feels like eight two-hour films rather than one intricately interwoven effort. But each of the segments is intriguing in its own way.
  17. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Sep 16, 2019
    70
    I appreciated loving the parts I wasn't expecting to and often tempered my disappointment in it not getting to the "alt-country" artists I most wanted to see by realizing that Country Music is simply not that kind of niche (or definitive) documentary. It's mostly a brave effort to place it in context with an impressive timeline.
  18. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 15, 2019
    70
    That's not to say Country Music hits any real false notes. But compared to the best of the Burns-PBS collaborations, it drones on in a way that isn't equal to the high expectations and fanfare associated with Burns' epic made-for-public-TV ballads.
  19. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 12, 2019
    70
    Burns’s resolute, objective path through country’s history is somewhat hindered by a lack of analysis. For all its gorgeous sounds, rare footage and tearful reminiscences, “Country Music” needs a deeper probe, one that would pursue both psychological and sociological angles. Filled to bursting with mutual praise and admiration for the artistry and entrepreneurial prowess of Nashville, it could use a few more critics and even a contrarian or two. ... Where "Country Music" works best, of course, is on the emotional level.
  20. Reviewed by: Caroline Framke
    Sep 11, 2019
    60
    It did its homework and respects the subject matter; it’s a true archival feat. But its overwhelmingly nostalgic lens may ultimately make the series more for preexisting country fans than curious newcomers wanting to understand its history and appeal. For as much time as “Country Music” has to tie these threads together, it leaves an awful lot of unstitched material on the table.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Sep 17, 2019
    8
    Well executed, with a well-rounded case of figures of country music to chime in. That being said, Ketch Secor is kind of a weeny who comesWell executed, with a well-rounded case of figures of country music to chime in. That being said, Ketch Secor is kind of a weeny who comes across as supremely cheesy. Get him off the screen please.
    Also, modern country almost all sucks, I know it, you know it, go to sleep.
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 21, 2019
    10
    How is this not a perfect 10 with anyone who watches it? If you do not like country music don't watch it and you have no right to write aHow is this not a perfect 10 with anyone who watches it? If you do not like country music don't watch it and you have no right to write a review. Perfectly edited documentary by probably the best as Ken Burns and company does this type like no one else. And Peter Coyote narration adds the perfect touch. I started watching thinking I would skim through it and found myself immediately enthralled. Full Review »