American experiences. Unexpected appearances. Generational healing. Wonders never cease… 

Dolly Parton (left) with documentary writer Dayton Duncan (center) and produce Ken Burns (right).

Courtesy of Katy Haas

Ken Burns’ “Country Music” – 01:18

If PBS had something like a house band, it might be the documentary team led by Ken Burns — the filmmaker so influential, he has a video effect named after him. His latest production, “Country Music,” premieres this Sunday on OPB-TV. It takes on a story so loaded with amazing people — Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn — that more than a hundred interviews went into its making. Burns and his longtime producing partner, Julie Dunfey, talked to April Baer in front of a live audience at Portland’s Revolution Hall about the project, their approach to messy truths, and more. 

Hood River skateboarder Haley Mast.

Hood River skateboarder Haley Mast.

Amelia Bjesse-Puffin

Women Who Skate – 19:35

As long as there have been skateboards, there have been women riding them, going back to this giggle-inducing clip from a 1956 episode of the Mike Douglas show. But while there’s a long history of hard work and artistry, you can’t help but notice that skate parks are still largely male-dominated. Writer Jordan Hernandez and photographer (and skater) Amelia Bjesse-Puffin recently collaborated on a photo essay for Oregon Humanities magazine. They stopped by to talk to Claudia Meza about the women they met, and what they observed of the disparities in skate culture. If you’re ready for more, check out this recent segment on Think Out Loud

A girl runs for the goal during a game of doubleball at Wellness Warrior Camp.

A girl runs for the goal during a game of doubleball at Wellness Warrior Camp.

Bradley W. Parks/OPB

Wellness Warriors Camp – 36:20

Nearly 300 children of indigenous backgrounds from all around the world came together this summer on the powwow grounds in Grande Ronde, Oregon, for the latest edition of Wellness Warrior Camp. OPB’s Bradley Parks and Kaylee Domzalski were there, as well, and told us about the mix of performance, traditional craft, and community-building that happens at the camp.  

Students taking par in Pass the Mic learn from musicians about songwriting, lyrics, and cooperation.

Students taking par in Pass the Mic learn from musicians about songwriting, lyrics, and cooperation.

Donald Orr/OPB

Passing the Mic to Immigrant and Refugee Youth – 43:08

Young immigrants and refugees living in metro Portland face pressures to learn English, keep their grades up and make friends — all compounded by the often-traumatic experiences that brought them here. Faced with balancing multiple responsibilities, the time for artistic and creative endeavors can easily fall by the wayside. But this summer, a group of Portland musicians came together to help give these young students the chance to tell their truth through music education.  

Music Heard On ‘State Of Wonder’

A Spotify playlist to share all the music we feature on our show and anything else that inspires us while we’re making it.