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The Heart of Country: How Nashville Became Music City USA

A biography of Nashville - the hub of country music - which reveals the dynamic relationship between commerce, art and music that has defined the city since 1925.

This historical biography of the city that is the glittering hub of country music reveals the dynamic relationship between commerce and art, music and the market, that has defined Nashville since 1925. It explores the conflicts and demons that have confronted Nashville's artists and music industry down the years, such as the creative pressures of the 'Nashville Sound', the devastating impact of Elvis and then Bob Dylan, the rise and fall of the urban cowboys and the struggle of several Nashville legends to confront their inner demons.

The story unfolds through the testimony of musicians, producers, broadcasters and rare archive of the country legends. These include Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson and several hit-making contemporary stars - Kasey Musgraves, Brad Paisley and Jason Aldean. This cast reveal the unique power of country music to hold up a mirror to its fans and create a music that has - for decades - touched the hearts of the south and of working people. Kristofferson calls it the 'white man's soul music'.

Also featured are extensive musical performances by Nashville's greatest, from Johnny Cash to Loretta Lynn and George Jones to Garth Brooks. Several of Nashville's younger stars describe their ongoing journey from their hometowns in the south to the streets of this city, from the first studio demos and the sawdust of the Broadway bars to the stadiums and promo videos that now define country stardom.

1 hour, 29 minutes

Last on

Sat 12 Jan 2019 23:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Della Mae

    CRAZY TOWN

  • Jason Aldean

    CRAZY TOWN

  • The Carter Family

    BURY ME BENEATH THE WILLOW

  • Roy Acuff

    WABASH CANNONBALL

  • Johnny Cash

    FOLSOM PRISON BLUES

  • Ernest Tubb

    WALKING THE FLOOR OVER YOU

  • Webb Pierce

    THERE STANDS THE GLASS

  • Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys

    A VOICE FROM ON HIGH

  • Bill Monroe

    BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY

  • Hank Williams

    I SAW THE LIGHT

  • Hank Williams

    LOVE SICK BLUES

  • Hank Williams

    I'M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY

  • Ernest Tubb

    DRIVING NAILS IN MY COFFIN

  • Kitty Wells

    IT WASN'T GOD WHO MADE HONKY TONK ANGELS

  • Elvis Presley

    BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY

  • Elvis Presley

    HEARTBREAK HOTEL

  • Jim Reeves

    GOLDEN MEMORIES AND SILVER TEARS

  • Eddy Arnold

    YESTERDAY'S MEMORIES

  • Willie Nelson

    CRAZY

  • Patsy Cline

    CRAZY

  • Patsy Cline

    WALKIN' AFTER MIDNIGHT

  • Shooter Jennings

    OUTLAW YOU

  • Waylon Jennings

    STOP THE WORLD AND LET ME OFF

  • Waylon Jennings

    NASHVILLE BUM

  • Floyd Cramer

    LAST DATE

  • Loretta Lynn

    TO MAKE A MAN FEEL LIKE A MAN

  • Loretta Lynn

    WHISPERING SEA

  • Charley Pride

    ALL I HAVE TO OFFER YOU IS ME

  • Bob Dylan

    SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES

  • Bob Dylan

    PLEDGING MY TIME

  • Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash

    ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS

  • Johnny Cash

    DADDY SANG BASS

  • Johnny Cash

    LIFE GOES ON

  • Dolly Parton

    WHEN POSSESSION GETS TOO STRONG

  • Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner

    HOLDING ON TO NOTHING

  • George Jones

    THINGS HAVE GONE TO PIECES

  • George Jones & Tammy Wynette

    THE CEREMONY

  • Tammy Wynette

    D-I-V-O-R-C-E

  • George Jones

    DIARY OF MY MIND

  • Willie Nelson

    STAY ALL NIGHT

  • Waylon Jennings

    HONKY TONK HEROES

  • Gilley's Urban Cowboy Band

    ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL

  • Sawyer Brown

    BETTY'S BEING BAD

  • Della Mae

    MUSIC ON MURDER ROW

  • Waylon Jennings

    MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS

  • Steve Earle

    GUITAR TOWN

  • Ricky Skaggs

    HIGHWAY 40 BLUES

  • Ricky Skaggs

    COUNTRY BOY

  • Ricky Skaggs

    WINGS OF A DOVE

  • Garth Brooks

    TEARIN' IT UP AND BURNIN' IT DOWN

  • Garth Brooks

    THE THUNDER ROLLS

  • Pork McElhinny

    THREE MINUTE POSITIVE NOT TOO COUNTRY UP TEMPO LOVE SONG

  • Carrie Underwood

    JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL

  • Kacey Musgraves

    MERRY GO ROUND

  • Brad Paisley

    THIS IS COUNTRY MUSIC

  • Waylon Jennings

    ARE YOU SURE HANK DONE IT THIS WAY

  • 01:18

    Johnny Cash

    Hurt

  • 01:28

    Kacey Musgraves

    Merry Go 'Round

Credits

Role Contributor
Producer Jeremy Marre
Director Jeremy Marre
Executive Producer Mark Cooper

Broadcasts

Featured in...

Country Nights

Country Nights

BBC Four and Radio 2 celebrate all things Country.