I just picked up my first handful of Park City powder and now that I’m on the ground here at the Sundance Film Festival, I wanted to share something I’m really excited about — the premiere of two epic music documentaries that music lovers are going to want to see.
They’re less about any individual artists and more about the visionaries that provided a path to success, whether by creating a perfect sounding room or providing the session musicians that changed R&B and pop as we know it.
First up, “Muscle Shoals”:
Muscle Shoals is a “small town with a big sound”, as they say. A somewhat obscure Alabama town, except for the fact that it produced some monumental recordings: Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman”; Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man” and “Chain of Fools,” The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” and “Brown Sugar”, Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally”, Etta James “Tell Mama”, and Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come”.
Many of those artists are interviewed in this documentary – as well as Bono – with FAME studios founder Rick Hall telling the story of how it all started.
Next “Sound City”:
Dave Grohl makes his directorial debut with “Sound City” and it seems fitting that his first foray into film would be about the studio where Nirvana recorded their debut “Nevermind”. Before that, however, we learn the storied history of the Van Nuys studio – its where Fleetwood Mac as we know it was formed, where Tom Petty produced some of his biggest hits and a young Rick Springfield launched to fame. It’s also a comment on the importance of the human element in music, something that is sadly being lost with the proliferation of digital recording. It’s not preachy at all, it’s a soulful conversation from people who love their craft, like Neil Young. The movie concludes with the resurgence of Sound City’s infamous console, now owned by Dave, and being put to use by some of the iconic musicians who once called the studio home.
We’ll be talking to Rick Hall and Dave Grohl this weekend to find out more so be sure to tune into Anne Litt’s show — broadcasting live from the Acura Studio — from 2-5pm PT.
I was lucky enough to get an early look at these films and I highly suggest you add them to your Netflix list once they are released!