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Country Music By Ken Burns – BBC4

Hank Williams Country Music By Ken Burns
(Image credit: BBC/PBS/Les Leverett Collections)

This week’s Country Music by Ken Burns on BBC4 looks at post-war country and the life and music of the Hillbilly Shakespeare Hank Williams

‘I don’t write them, I just hang on to the pen and God sends them through,’ Hank Williams allegedly said when asked how he wrote such beautiful songs. This first episode in a double-bill of BBC4’s Country Music By Ken Burns celebrates the music of the man also known as the Hillbilly Shakespeare, because his songs resonated with people in a way country music had never done before.

A heavy drinking habit and a turbulent marriage gave Hank plenty of material for his songs, but didn’t make for a very stable or happy home life.

Chet Atkins and the Carters Country Music By Ken Burns

Chet Atkins and the Carter Family, as seen on BBC4’s Country Music By Ken Burns

Featuring interviews with musicians, historians, friends and Hank’s son and granddaughter, this is a comprehensive insight into one of the greats of country music.

For full listings, see our TV Guide.

TV Times rating: ***