TIME: SCREENING: 6:00 – 7:00 PM; PANEL: 7:00 – 8:00 PM

To watch Illinois Country, the movie, please tune in to WILL TV at 6pm CST.

To watch ‘Making the Cut: Forging a Music Career in 2020″ a panel following Illinois Country, please click and choose which platform you’d like to see it on below:


All PYGMALION 2020 programming is FREE and ALL VIRTUAL — see our Partners page to see the amazing list of organizations that helped make this possible.

Though our programming is free, please consider donating to benefit these organizations.


Illinois Country is a one-hour documentary from Illinois Public Media that tells the story of Illinois’ singular role in the history of country music in the United States.  The film traces the progression of the genre from early gathering halls and small-town hoedowns, to The National Barn Dance in Chicago and Farm Aid in Champaign, and on to today’s Illinois-bred Grammy winners.

We meet Illinois natives such as Gene Autry sidekick Smiley Burnette and singer Jenny Lou Carson – both instrumental in making Illinois the first “capital of country music”.  We travel to southern Illinois for the stories of John Hartford and Uncle Tupelo; and right here in central Illinois, we meet recording pioneer Jerry Milam of Golden Voice Studios and the founders of Bloodshot Records, all of whom made remarkable contributions to the genre – and sometimes changed it in controversial ways.

We take viewers into community hoedowns and local honkytonks for interviews with local “old-time” country music performers including Marvin Lee Flessner and others.  Country music scholars Don Cusic, Dennis Stroughmatt, and Paul Tyler discuss country music’s common roots, shifting identity, and changing sound in the modern era. Finally, we hear from Illinoisans who’ve made the “big time”, including Alison Krauss, David Lee Murphy, Robbie Fulks, Margo Price, Kendell Marvel, and others.

Shot over the course of a year, Illinois Country features an original song written, produced, and recorded exclusively for the documentary by five-time Grammy nominee Graham Edwards (Avril Lavigne, Justin Bieber, Liz Phair) and renowned songwriter/producer John Pennell (Alison Krauss, Alan Jackson, Eva Cassidy).  The song features performers including Mo Pitney, Alison Krauss, Andrea Zonn, Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas. Viewers will follow the making of the song from start to finish as the documentary unfolds.

Illinois Country will air on public television stations throughout Illinois starting this spring alongside the re-release of the eight-part Country Music documentary from filmmaker Ken Burns.

Producer/Director: Sarah Edwards

Executive Producer: Lisa Bralts


Dreaming of a career in the music industry? Just looking to get your music ‘out there’?  Whether you’re a songwriter, engineer, instrumentalist, producer or artist, making a sustainable career in music has never been more challenging. But opportunity abounds.

On September 26 at 7:00 PM, join PYGMALION and Illinois Public Media for a Facebook Live panel discussion featuring luminaries from across the music industry.  We’ll discuss the realities of working in the industry and how the year of COVID-19 has shattered some opportunities and crystallized others as collaboration and resilience become more important than ever before.

Panelists will take your questions and comments live.


Lauren Christy | Five-time Grammy nominated Songwriter/Producer

Mark Rubel | Director of Education, The Blackbird Academy

Andrea Zonn | Fiddler and Background Vocalist, The James Taylor All-Star Band

Rob Miller | Co-founder, Bloodshot Records 

Megan Davies | Youtube/Independent Artist

Aaron ‘A-Train’ Wilson | Independent Regional Musician and Artist 

Sarah Edwards (moderator) | Illinois Public Media