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.
The documentary, Country: Portraits of an American Sound, takes viewers on a trip through time with the help of past and present country stars to show the beginnings of a genre that is still popular and ever-evolving.
Whether you're a hard-core fan wanting to learn more, or being introduced to this genre now, there is something here to enjoy. I particularly love the diverse mix of artists included. There are classic performers like Merle Haggard and Brenda Lee, as well as more modern performers like LeAnn Rimes and Keith Urban who discuss their experiences in the genre and their influences.
From the rock and roll era's influence on the genre, to Ray Charles' country album, Charley Pride's journey to becoming a store, the beginnings of the Grand Ole Opry, and the rebels that decided to take control of their music during a time when it wasn't normally done, it's filled with interesting and insightful stories. There's also a pretty funny bit about a misunderstanding while shooting an album cover for Porter Wagner.