Roots of Country - Rockabilly

Back in 1996 a six-hour six-part documentary taking a look at one of America's quintessential music genres - country - went to air.

"America's Music: the Roots of Country" delved headlong into what is a rich subject matter, telling its story through live footage and interviews with the stars themselves.

To a new generation of music fans, it offered an eye-opening introduction to some of the great figures from country's past, such as Jimmie Rodger, Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Loretta Jones and so many more who paved the way for today's big stars.

Writer Robert K. Oerman told the Chicago Sun-Times that the the idea from the beginning was to take the viewer back and forth and in and out of history. He teamed up for this series with producer Tom Neff, a filmaker known for his documentaries of visual artists including Red Grooms and Beatrice Wood.

"One reason country lends itself to this kind of treatment is that, unlike other styles of music, all its historical elements are still living, breathing styles today," Oermann said.

"People still play bluegrass, people still sing folk songs, play rockabilly, Cajun, Western swing - these are not dead things."

Each of the six hours has a theme - including Rockabilly.

"The Roots of Country" was not only made with entertaining viewers in mind, but with the hope of sending a message about the importance of maintaining a living connection to country's past.

Rockabilly Revival - The Roots of Country