From its early years in the 1920s, when it was termed "hillbilly music," to the rise of bluegrass and rockabilly, the series also looks at how Nashville, Tenn., became the epicenter of the country music industry. Highlighting the connection between country music artists and their fans, the series concludes in the mid-1990s when a young Garth Brooks helps bring country music to a whole new level.
The Rub (Beginnings -- 1933)
"Hillbilly music" reaches new listeners through phonographs and radio, launching the careers of country music's first big stars -- the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers.
Hard Times (1933-1945)
Nashville, Tenn., becomes the center of the country music industry as it grows in popularity during the Great Depression and World War II.
Hillbilly Shakespeare (1945-1953)
The country stars of post-war America, including Hank Williams, whose songs are inspired by his troubled and tragically short life.
I Can't Stop Loving You (1953-1963)
A visit to Memphis, Tenn., during the age of rockabilly with Sun Studios artists Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley; Ray Charles crosses over racial borders by recording a country album; Patsy Cline rises to stardom with a smooth new sound.
The Sons and Daughters of America (1964-1968)
Country music artists like Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and Charley Pride reflect a changing America as they appeal to wide audiences.
Will the Circle Be Unbroken? (1968-1972)
Country music draws artists to Nashville, Tenn., as the war in Vietnam wages on; Kris Kristofferson sets a lyrical standard; Bob Dylan and The Byrds, among others, come to Nashville, Tenn., to record.
Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way? (1973-1983)
Mainstream crossovers and a new "Outlaw" sound are prevalent in country music during the years 1973-1983.
Don't Get Above Your Raisin' (1984-1996)
As the genre takes off, country music artists such as George Strait, Randy Travis and the Judds work to keep country music true to its roots; the rise of Garth Brooks and the return of Johnny Cash.