Illinois Country

Illinois Country logo
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.

Learn more about Illinois natives such as Gene Autry's sidekick Smiley Burnette and singer Jenny Lou Carson who were both instrumental in making Illinois the first "capital of country music." We travel to southern Illinois to hear the stories of John Hartford and Uncle Tupelo; and right here in central Illinois, we learn more about the recording pioneer Jerry Milam of Golden Voice Studios and the founders of Bloodshot Records - all of whom made remarkable contributions to the genre, sometimes changing it in controversial ways.

READ MORE on Illinois Country

Margo Price being interviewed by Sarah Edwards

Voices of Illinois Country logo

Filmmaker Sarah Edwards, Producer DJ Roach, and videographer Isaac Musgrave filmed nearly 25 interviews over the course of the year bringing Illinois Country to life. In this special series, we've culled great performances, fascinating (and sometimes funny!) stories, great interviews, behind the scenes content and cool tidbits you won't see in the one hour film.

Voices of Illinois Country title screen for Tasji Bachman

Voices of Illinois Country title screen for Paul Tyler

Voices of Illinois Country title screen for Chris Vallillo

Voices of Illinois Country title screen for Dennis Stroughmatt

Voices of Illinois Country title screen for Mark Rubel

Voices of Illinois Country title screen for Deep Hollow

Illinois Country Live


Illinois Country tee shirts

Support Illinois Country with an ongoing donation of $10 (or a one-time gift of $120) and we'll send you one of our exclusive Illinois Country shirts. Go here to make your gift.

Illinois Country is supported in part by:


Rose Bowl Urbana Illinois
Thomas Mamer Attorneys at Law
Pell windows and doors of champaign