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).
Tom Waits is one of the most original musicians of the last five decades. Renowned for his gravelly voice and dazzling mix of musical styles, he’s also one of modern music’s most enigmatic and influential artists.
His songs have been covered by Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart and Norah Jones, among many others. But Waits has always pursued his own creative vision, with little concern for musical fashion.
In a long career of restless reinvention, from the barfly poet of his early albums to the junkyard ringmaster of Swordfishtrombones, his songs chronicle lives from the margins of American society – drifters, dreamers, hobos and hoodlums – and his music draws on a rich mix of influences, including the blues, jazz, Weimar cabaret and film noir.
Using rare archive, audio recordings and interviews, this film is a bewitching after-hours trip through the surreal, moonlit world of Waits’ music – a portrait of a pioneering musician and his unique, alternative American songbook.
Executive Producer Richard Bright
Director James Maycock
Production Manager Fiona Crawford
Production Coordinator Fiona Dorman
Editor Bradley Richards
Camera Operator Luke Finn
Interviewed Guest: Terry Gilliam, Lucinda Williams, Ian Rankin, Ed Harcourt, Ralph Carney, Bones Howe, Ute Lemper, Nitin Sawhney, Guy Garvey and Jim Sclavunos
“the guy that I always miss. . . . He had so much soul. And he knew all the styles.
I think he’d still be around, if he stayed with me.”
– Bob Dylan (2009)
In celebration Of Michael Bloomfield’s 67th birthday anniversary, mikebloomfieldamericanmusic.com offered a video biography of the legendary guitarist, detailing his remarkable career with images, interview clips and music. Created by filmmakers Nick Lerman and Alex Wernquest, and by site-manager David Dann, this three-part narrative begins with Bloomfield as a young, up-and-coming guitarist recording for John Hammond Sr., playing with Bob Dylan and joining the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. It then follows Michael as he creates the Electric Flag and performs to standing ovations at Monterey, records “Super Session” with Al Kooper and then pursues a career playing music on his own terms. Included are excerpts from previously unheard Bloomfield recordings as well as rare and seldom-seen photos of the guitarist.
“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being…When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups…I want to speak to their souls.”
All a musician can do is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in communion with the natural laws.
John Coltrane Quartet – Impressions (video)
“The most important thing I know I learned from Woody Guthrie”
~Bob Dylan (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan liner notes)
Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and folk musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children’s songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar. His best-known song is “This Land Is Your Land.” Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress.Such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, Jeff Tweedy and Tom Paxton have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence.