Classic documentary: Heartworn Highways – the best music documentary ever made!

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The best music documentary ever made: Heartworn Highways

For it is just that, the best documentary about music I have ever seen! It looks like a home movie, you feel like you get insight into a world long gone and you feel like looking into a world just for the invited.

It is up on YouTube , so catch it before it gets taken down (or better, buy yourself a copy so you can see it as often as you want).

Heartworn Highways is made by James Szalapski whose vision captured some of the founders of the Outlaw Country  and Singer/Songwriter movement in Texas and Tennessee in the last weeks of 1975 and the first weeks of 1976. The film was not released theatrically until 1981.

Highlights for me: The visit to Townes Van Zandt’s caravan and the Christmas party at Guy and Susanna Clark (especially Steve Earle singing Mercenary Song).

Heartworn Highways (full movie):

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November 11: Dave Alvin was born in 1955

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I started writing poetry before I started writing songs. In my checkered college past I was a creative writing major at Long Beach State University, which had a great writing program, and that’s where I learned all the nuts and bolts that helped me out in songwriting. They forced us to write in traditional forms — sonnets, iambic pentameter — just so we could understand that writing wasn’t just splaying free verse all over the page. But then the more songs I wrote using all those poetic forms, the more my poetry become like prose, almost to the point of journalism…
~Dave Alvin (Interview by Jim Catalano)

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November 1: Grateful Dead Released American Beauty in 1970

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Taking notes on vocal harmonies from friends Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Dead used the softer statements of their fourth studio album as a subtle but moving reflection on the turmoil, heaviness, and hope America’s youth was facing as the idealistic ’60s ended. American Beauty was recorded just a few months after its predecessor, both expanding and improving on the bluegrass, folk, and psychedelic country explorations of Workingman’s Dead with some of the band’s most brilliant compositions.
– Fred Thomas (Allmusic)

It took me a while to get into Grateful Dead, but when they hit me, they hit me hard! This is my second favorite of their albums (my number one is Workingman’s Dead) I should say studio albums, because I really love their early 70s live stuff.

American Beauty is the sixth album by the rock band the Grateful Dead. It was recorded between August and September 1970 and originally released in November 1970 by Warner Bros. Records. The album continued the folk rock and country music explored on Workingman’s Dead and prominently features the lyrics of Robert Hunter.

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In 2003, the album was ranked number 258 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

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September 25: Ryan Adams Released Gold in 2001

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All the songs had to work completely and honestly by themselves on acoustic guitar or on piano. If they didn’t, they weren’t worth putting on the record.
~Ryan Adams (about ‘Gold’)

[Gold is] me not buying my own bullshit for two seconds.
~Ryan Adams

New York, New York:

From Wikipedia:

Released September 25, 2001
Recorded The Sound Factory
(Hollywood, California)
Genre Rock, alternative country
Length 70:26
Label Lost Highway
Producer Ethan Johns

 

Gold is the second studio album by Ryan Adams, released September 25, 2001 on Lost Highway Records. The album remains Adams’ best-selling album, certifying gold in the UK and going on to sell 364,000 copies in the U.S. and 812,000 worldwide. Adams noted that “with Gold, I was trying to prove something to myself. I wanted to invent a modern classic.”

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August 16: Happy 78th birthday to Billy Joe Shaver

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‘Cause movin’s in my soul, i guess a gypsy boy got a hold
Of somebody in my family long ago
If some night while half asleep you hear the back door softly squeak
You’ll touch my empty pillow, then you’ll know
That restless wind, is calling me again
– Billy Joe Shaver (from “Restless Wind” (one of his best songs))

“He may be the best songwriter alive today”
– Willie Nelson

«He’s a real writer like Hemingway. He’s timeless»
– Kris Kristofferson

«Billy Joe is unique. One of a kind. They threw away the mold. The best.»
– Robert Duvall

I’m listening to Billy Joe Shaver And i’m reading James Joyce
-Bob Dylan (I Feel a Change Comin’ On)

Restless Wind:

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July 30: Johnny Cash recorded “Folsom Prison Blues” in 1955

Folsom Prison looms large in Johnny Cash’s legacy, providing the setting for perhaps his definitive song and the location for his definitive album, At Folsom Prison. The ideal blend of mythmaking and gritty reality, At Folsom Prison is the moment when Cash turned into the towering Man in Black, a haunted troubadour singing songs of crime, conflicted conscience, and jail.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)

Wikipedia:

Single by Johnny Cash
B-side So Doggone Lonesome
Released December 15, 1955
April 1968 (re-recording)
Format 7″ single
Recorded July 30, 1955Sun StudioMemphis, Tennessee
Genre Rockabilly, country blues, rock and roll
Length 2:50
Label Sun
Songwriter Johnny Cash
Producer Sam Phillips

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