Best and Worst
In its worst incarnation, the music documentary is a cash-in, pandering to hot artists with supposedly all-access footage that’s in reality carefully managed and contains little in the way of insight into their subjects. At its best, it’s an artform, one in which Jean-Luc Godard and Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme have made revelatory films about some of the greatest musicians that ever existed, in which top non-fiction filmmakers have uncovered compelling stories and undersung artists, and where filmmakers have tackled genres and musicians and exposed them to wider audiences.
Why Do We Like Them?
There’s nothing quite like a great music documentary. Some offer fly-on-the-wall looks at our favorite artists, while others shine lights on the lesser-known musicians behind some classic hits. The stories behind the music are often just as worth savoring as the songs themselves.
Over the last decade, there has been an explosion of music documentaries finding their way to both the big and small screens. Making one is in many ways not so different from making any other type of documentary, but there is something about music, and the films about it, that offer both unique challenges and rewards.One challenge is as basic as defining what a music documentary is. One might subdivide the genre into two categories. The concert/performance film—for which Michael Wadleigh's Woodstock (1970) is the basic template—may incorporate some interstitial sequences, but it's primarily about watching a performance. On the flip side, for lack of a better term, is the documentary about something musical, be it an artist, genre, era or sub-culture. These films may take the form of a traditional historical documentary or may follow the steps of DA Pennebaker and Richard Leacock's Dont Look Back (1967), which introduced many tropes seen in such films ever since.
5 Of The Best available For Streaming Online.
On a quiet weekend night you’ll often find various members of The Lonely Souls watching a music doc with a small refreshment or ten… here are 5 of the best we have watched recently. In no particular order;
1. The Wrecking Crew
Director: Denny Tedesco
Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, a cadre of studio musicians in Los Angeles made a healthy chunk of change playing—often anonymously—on pretty much every infamous pop song to come out of California at the time. Though they’d later solidify as Phil Spector’s orchestra (behind the man’s era-defining Wall of Sound), the group paired technical mastery with experimental conception of what pop music had evolved into, helping Brian Wilson capture the elusive melodies of Pet Sounds he heard in his head, or ready in a pinch to back up the Mamas & the Papas, the Sinatras, The Monkees and Sonny & Cher. The Wrecking Crew, titled after the derogatory nickname the group was given for their lack of adherence to the methods and traditions of an older guard of studio musicians, is directed by the son of Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco, the story of these underappreciated geniuses rendered in pretty straightforward talking heads interviews and archival footage. Still, Tedesco is thorough, all but ready to admit that the film is the work of a filmmaking amateur who just wanted to give the world something it didn’t really have: the names and personalities of some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. —Dom Sinacola
2. Beware of Mr. Baker
Director: Jay Bulger
This documentary of Ginger Baker, one of greatest drummers of the past century, has pretty much everything one could want. We get seemingly unfettered access to the still-living subject (whose surliness seems undiminished) and his family. We hear interviews with a host of fellow musicians, most of them legends themselves, weighing in on the man and his music. We see copious footage and musical tracks of Baker on and off stage. Plus, there’s clever, but not overwrought, usage of animation and other techniques to accompany transitions and voice-over that would otherwise just call for a Ken Burns-ian succession of stills. As a result, Jay Bulger manages to convey a portrait of the irascible Baker that is both entertaining, unsparing and, yet, sympathetic toward a man whose compulsions have made him both a legend and a pariah. --Michael Burgin
3. Muscle Shoals
Director: Greg “Freddy” Camalier
Freddy Camalier’s masterly Muscle Shoals is about the beginnings and then the heyday of the recording scene in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a tiny town that improbably changed the face of rock’n’roll forever. First-timer Camalier is obviously a natural storyteller, but there’s so much more to the doc than promise—the cinematography is lush and beautiful, the editing is crisp and precise, and it’s in turns heartbreaking, inspiring, wry, thought-provoking, nostalgic and genuinely funny. It’s simply a stunning debut film. It helps that Camalier and his producing partner Stephen Badger are after more than just a lesson in musical history: They delve into the Civil Rights Movement and its effect specifically on Alabama, especially as it relates to a Muscle Shoals music scene that was, shockingly enough, lacking in any racial tension. They return again and again to the ancient Native American legend about the river that flows through the town, and the water spirit who lived there, sang songs and protected the town. Not to mention that the personal life of Fame Records founder Rick Hall, the protagonist of the film, is itself worthy of a Faulkner novel. Muscle Shoals is thrilling, it’s engaging, it’s fascinating, it’s stirring, it’s epic—whether you’re a music lover or not. --Michael Dunaway
4. Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Director: James Keach
The legendary Glen Campbell’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease has been absolutely devastating; just this week, his wife Kim revealed that he is now in Stage 7 of the disease, can no longer play guitar and has lost the ability to speak and comprehend language. Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me is an inspiring, heartbreaking look at the rhinestone cowboy’s 2011 diagnosis and subsequent farewell to fans and final tour as the disease progressed and permanently sidelined him. There’s unimaginable dignity and grace in Campbell as he confronts the inevitable, and through it all, Kim never leaves his side, patiently identifying relatives he can no longer recognize as they watch home movies, cracking jokes and maintaining as positive an attitude as she can in the face of such a tragic disease. Perhaps most remarkable is how long Campbell was able to keep writing and performing, and you’ll need to keep some tissues at the ready when he records his final song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” an absolute gut-punch about Kim and his fight with Alzheimer’s in which he sings, “I’m still here, but yet I’m gone / I don’t play guitar or sing my songs” and “You’re the last face I will recall, and best of all, I’m not gonna miss you.” --Bonnie Stiernberg
5.Keith Richards: Under the Influence
Director: Morgan Neville
A Netflix original as Morgan Neville (who also directed 20 Feet From Stardom) sits down with the legend that is Keef for tales from life on the road with The Rolling Stones and his musical influences. What lays behind the shades clouds of smoke? It's a fascinating question, and one that Keith Richards: Under The Influence, a new documentary on Netflix, seems only vaguely interested in answering. The film's big goosebumps moment comes when Richards is asked to reflect on his reputation as rock's ultimate ruffian. Suddenly he drops the rakish grin he has dutifully paraded for director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom, Johnny Cash's America) and speaks from the heart.
By The Lonely Souls ~ Follow: Facebook, Spotify, You Tube
Music and dementia
Music accesses different parts of the brain than language, so music can be used to communicate or engage with someone who has been diagnosed with dementia, even if they no longer speak or respond to other people’s words.
Playing soothing music to a person may inspire an emotional reaction in them. Playing music that meant something to them, such as a favourite song, a piece of music from their wedding, or a tune they used to sing to their children, can tap into powerful memories and emotions.
What are the benefits?
Music can be a useful way to change somebody’s mood, especially during personal care. For instance, if a person diagnosed with dementia resists your efforts to help them get dressed, playing soothing music or a favourite song can help lessen any distress.
• Music helps people with dementia express feelings and ideas.
• Music can help the person connect with others around them.
• It can encourage social interaction and promotes activity in groups.
• It can reduce social isolation.
• It can facilitate physical exercise and dance or movement.
Tips for using music
Choose music that the person likes. If you aren’t sure, look to see if they have a record or tape collection. If not, investigate what were the popular musicians and songs from an era in their youth and give it a try. Internet services such as Spotify have lots of music you can listen to for free, through your computer (these also play adverts however, which can be loud, so keep an eye on the screen).
Watch to see how the person reacts
If they seem uncomfortable or distressed, turn it off and desist for a while, before trying some different music at a different time. If they respond positively then use the music to engage with them. Do they tap their fingers? Or hum along? You can try doing so too.
Things to be aware of
Start with gentle, quiet music. But make the music a focal point, so consider putting a record, tape or CD on in front of the person and adjusting the volume as applicable.
Music can awaken negative emotions as well as positive ones, so watch the person closely for any signs of discomfort and turn the music off if you think it is causing undue distress. Expressing sadness may be a normal reaction to a strong memory or association to the music and just sitting with the person during this time may be the best response.
“Everyone has their own sound. Try to express your own ideas. It’s more difficult to do but the rewards are there if you’re good enough to pull it off” – Chet Atkins
Developing your own sound and style isn’t as hard as you might think.
You sound like you. Your voice is your voice right? Everyone uses words and language but we all sound different. Playing in a band is the same. Give five bands the same notes and chords. Get them to play in the same time signature as each other in exactly the same way. None of them will sound the same.
Find what’s right for you. Your sound and style will come from repetition, discipline and enjoyment.
As a band we try to only release quality material that will add value to people lives.
We have been working very hard, building a band for ten years.
We want you to know if you watch a video, stream a song, buy our music, we appreciate it.
The Lonely Souls.
By The Lonely Souls ~ Follow: Facebook, Spotify, You Tube
Bob Dylan has been called many things: legend, icon, troubadour, singer of protest songs, surrealist, Christian rocker, amazing vocalist.Wait. What? Amazing vocalist?
Yep, Dylan’s pipes have been quite divisive over the past 55 years, and he talked about it — somewhat defensively — last week in his speech at the MusiCares event honoring his career.
Critics have always been on my tail since day one. Seems like they’ve always given me special treatment. Some of the music critics say I can’t sing. I croak. Sound like a frog. Why don’t these same critics say similar things about Tom Waits? They say my voice is shot. That I have no voice. Why don’t they say those things about Leonard Cohen? Why do I get special treatment?
Critics say I can’t carry a tune and I talk my way through a song. Really? I’ve never heard that said about Lou Reed. Why does he get to go scot-free? What have I done to deserve this special treatment? Why me lord?
No vocal range? When’s the last time you’ve read that about Dr. John? You’ve never read that about Dr John. Why don’t they say that about him? Slur my words, got no diction. You have to wonder if these critics have ever heard Charley Patton or Son House or Wolf. Talk about slurred words and no diction. Why don’t they say those same things about them. “Why me, Lord?”
Critics say I mangle my melodies, render my songs unrecognizable. Oh, really? Let me tell you something. I was at a boxing match a few years ago seeing Floyd Mayweather fight a Puerto Rican guy. And the Puerto Rican national anthem, somebody sang it and it was beautiful. It was heartfelt and it was moving. After that it was time for our national anthem. And a very popular soul-singing sister was chosen to sing. She sang every note that exists, and some that don’t exist. Talk about mangling a melody. You take a one syllable word and make it last for 15 minutes? She was doing vocal gymnastics like she was a trapeze act. But to me it was not funny.
Where were the critics? Mangling lyrics? Mangling a melody? Mangling a treasured song? No, I get the blame. But I don’t really think I do that. I just think critics say I do.
Sam Cooke said this when told he had a beautiful voice: He said, “Well that’s very kind of you, but voices ought not to be measured by how pretty they are. Instead they matter only if they convince you that they are telling the truth.” Think about that the next time you are listening to a singer.
That being said, plenty of people out there still don’t “believe” Dylan or think he has a tolerable voice. What is it about a voice that turns you on or off? What do you think makes a good singer?
Range? Timbre? Conviction? Let us know....
NB - DIY musician blog article.
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