This special attempts to explain to the uninitiated the history of country music, using clips, walking tours and re-creations of country classics by contemporary performers.
The likes of Clint Black, Kathy Mattea, Barbara Mandrell and Hank Williams Jr. segue in, out and around a whirlwind of activity.
Though the biggest current star of all–Garth Brooks–is missing, show manages enough star power to keep audience waiting to see who turns up next, moving things along at a pace that never lags.
Country music itself, though, is the real star of the show, as the special traces such topics as bluegrass, country rock and western swing.
Highlights include a super session featuring Chet Atkins picking at RCA’s Studio B with the cream of the city’s instrumental talents, Bela Fleck, Mark O’Connor, Jerry Douglas and Edgar Meyer; Garrison Keillor on a walking tour of Ryman Auditorium, where the Grand Ole Opry was originally held; and songwriter Don Schlitz getting a moment in the sun for the unsung heroes, as he performs his song “The Gambler,” to be joined by Kenny Rogers, who made the song a hit.