Country: Portraits of an American Sound

2015 [english]

Action / Documentary / Music

Country: Portraits of an American Sound

2015 [english]

Action / Documentary / Music

7.3

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7.3

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Synopsis

'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..

Uploaded By: FREEMAN

Aug 15, 2021 at 05:54 PM

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grade Movie Reviews

  • Reviewed by HarlowMGM grade 8 / 10

    Country Music as Captured By Photographers

    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.


  • Reviewed by dogengenjo grade 2 / 10

    Incomplete

    This documentary fails to discuss numerous contributors to the Country Western Sound. No Bill Monroe, only a vague mention of Emmylou Harris, with no mention of an essential collaborator, that was Gram Parsons. No mention of the Byrds Sweetheart of the Rodeo, which inspired a generation. No mention of Boy Dylan's expose with Johnny Cash, on Nashville Skyline. There is a bit piece on Rosanne Cash, who speaks of her father, and her own career. This documentary is missing essential members of pioneering sound. No Rodney Crowell, but over emphasis on Keith Urban, who in my opinion is not a true Country Musician, rather a pop star. Pitiful documentary which leaves out too much of our rich history.


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