NASHVILLE, TN – Country music stars and Music Row notables joined an elite group of photographers last night at the 2015 Nashville Film Festival for the world premiere of Country: Portraits of an American Sound. Produced and directed by Steven Kochones for the Annenberg Space for Photography, the full-length documentary is a vivid exploration of Country music through the lens of the photographers who have documented its rise from innocent beginnings to a thriving industry and a national identity.
In attendance were country artists Terri Clark, Holly Williams, Dean Alexander and Danielle Peck, Manuel (“The Rhinestone Rembrandt”), Steven Kochones, Joe Russo (producer), Les Leverett (Grand Ole Opry’s official photographer for 30 years), David McClister (photographer and music video director), Raeanne Rubenstein (celebrity photographer), Don Cusic (music historian and author), Bob Mitchell (Bakersfield music executive and historian), Shannon Perich (Curator in the Photographic History Collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History), Peter Cooper (The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum), Bobby Braddock (songwriter, Country Music Hall of Fame® inductee), Troy Tomlinson (Sony/ATV Nashville CEO/president) and David Ross (NEKST publisher), among others.
The camaraderie was instantly apparent as guests shared their favorite Country music stories and posed for photos with one another at the pre-premiere reception. The group then walked Nashville Film Festival’s red carpet and joined a packed theater where for 90 minutes they were captivated by the never seen before photographs, footage and new interviews with people from the Country music world such as artists Terri Clark, Holly Williams, The Band Perry, Ronnie Milsap, Manuel and seminal musical artist, Charley Pride. Additional in-depth interviews include: Larry Gatlin, Marty Stuart, Brenda Lee, Lorrie Morgan, Connie Smith and Bill Anderson.
Lyle Lovett, Keith Urban, Rosanne Cash, Roy Clark, The Band Perry, Charley Pride and Kenny Rogers are among the artists whose stories are captured by acclaimed photographers: Les Leverett, Leigh Wiener, Henry Horenstein, Henry Diltz, Raeanne Rubenstein, David McClister and Michael Wilson. From the Carter Family to Taylor Swift and The Band Perry, the film spans over 80 years of County music history – uncovering the ideals, struggles and triumphs of the artists who have built an American sound. The Annenberg Space for Photography’s first full-length film also features music by Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Hank Williams and more.
The house reacted with enthusiastic applause and cheers and remained for the Q & A moderated by Peter Cooper. Panelists included Steven Kochones and photographers Henry Horenstein, David McClister, Raeanne Rubenstein, Michael Wilson and Les Leverett.