Amazon Music announced today the release of For Love & Country, a new Amazon Music Original feature-length documentary, which proclaims country music has always been Black music. For Love & Country observes country music’s complicated past and how the music industry itself helped to enshrine a skewed version of the genre, its artists, and fans. Directed by Joshua Kissi, For Love & Country examines country music through the personal stories of a new generation of Black artists claiming space in Nashville—and helping to transform the genre in the process. For Love & Country is out in the Amazon Music app and on Prime Video.
“My hope is for people to watch this beautiful piece of film while having a different appreciation for the genre of country music and the artists who so boldly choose to stand in the light,” said Joshua Kissi.
“Country music has always been the premier genre for telling stories, but so many of them have been silenced, erased, and rewritten,” said BRELAND. “What’s so powerful about this unique time in country music’s history is that we are finally creating space for uncovering those lost stories and reshaping our understanding of what the genre looks like. Being a part of this film was an incredible opportunity in and of itself, made sweeter by the brilliant direction of Joshua Kissi and the relationships I’ve been able to form with the other amazing artists in the film. This is a must-watch, trust me.”
For Love & Country is an exploration of the space between myth and reality of a genre, an industry, and a city. The genre not only owes part of its origin story to Black musicians, but through its history, prominent Black voices have pushed the genre forward with little recognition or fanfare. A new crop of Black artists is seeking to change country’s long-held identity as music by-and-for white audiences. For Love & Country features interviews and performances by Black voices leading this renaissance, including Grammy-nominated Jimmie Allen, Grammy-nominated Blanco Brown, Breakthrough Artist for Amazon Music BRELAND, award-winning songwriter and 2021 Artist to Watch for Amazon Music Shy Carter, Grammy-nominated Mickey Guyton, Grammy-nominated Valerie June, Grammy-nominated Amythyst Kiah, 2022 Artists to Watch for Amazon Music Willie Jones and Reyna Roberts, Grammy-nominated Allison Russell, rising star Brittney Spencer, pianist and singer-songwriter Frankie Staton, and Nashville-based rapper Mike Floss.
“This documentary is so awesome and special to me,” said Shy Carter. “I’m so grateful for everyone who put it together. They have really created something that showcases the talent in country music that may have a harder time getting recognized. It documents the journey of finding a new path and what it’s like for an artist who is doing something that might be considered unorthodox—but is true to them. It’s a beautiful story of pushing through the opposition and becoming everything you believe you can be.”
In celebration of the film, new Amazon Original songs are available on the “For Love & Country” official playlist including “All Tractors Ain’t Green” by Jimmie Allen, “Hard” by Shy Carter,” “Bein’ Green” by Willie Jones, “Black Myself” by Amythyst Kiah, “Another Round” by Reyna Roberts, “Quasheba, Quasheba” by Allison Russell, and “Independence Day” by Brittney Spencer.
“I am excited to be included in the Amazon Music Original feature length documentary, For Love & Country,” said Allison Russell. “The driving message of this film is that country music has always been Black music and it is important to share this with a global audience. Black musicians are a critical part of country music’s history and continued growth, though we may not always be given the proper credit. For Love & Countryhelps amplify our story.”
In addition to artist perspectives, the film features interviews with several local Nashville residents sharing their stories, including journalist and New York Times best-selling author Andrea Williams,Davidson Countycriminal court clerk and former vice mayor Howard Gentry, academic and author Amanda Marie Martínez, and former artist manager and local business owner Camille Alston.
“I needed to participate in this film,” said Blanco Brown. “My purpose is to continue narrating the story and shedding light on sound… No one owns it, music is bigger than all of us!”
“In telling this story, it was imperative for us to amplify the personal narratives of these wonderfully diverse country artists, because in them lie the stories of Black contributions to the genre,” said Raymond Roker, global head of editorial for Amazon Music. “These are also very universal stories of acceptance, being welcomed into spaces we choose to occupy despite how open the door is to us, and how stories and history can become marginalized over time. The title of the film is also a reminder that these artists have all come from a place of love, adoration, and even reverence for country music’s past, its heroes, and contributors across the spectrum.”
For Love & Country is an Amazon Music Original feature-length documentary directed by Joshua Kissi and produced by DPM Projects in association with Pizza Night and division7. Kesshann Cortez and Tara Hallarman served as executive producers of a story by Cody Whitman, with Elamin Abdelmahmoud and Andrea Williams as writers. The film was edited by Daniel Roman and Dillon Hayes, with Michael Fernandezserving as the director of photography. The original score is by BUTTER Music + Sound composer Nat Jenkins. Runtime: 101 minutes.