2013 Sundance Docs in Focus: MUSCLE SHOALS

muscle shoalsThe first of two love letters to two very different music recording studios wraps up today’s Documentary Premieres profiles: Greg “Freddy” Camalier’s MUSCLE SHOALS

Sundance Program Description:

In a tiny Alabama town with the curious name of Muscle Shoals, something miraculous sprang from the mud of the Tennessee River. A group of unassuming, yet incredibly talented, locals came together and spawned some of the greatest music of all time: “Mustang Sally,” “I Never Loved a Man,” “Wild Horses,” and many more. During the most incendiary periods of racial hostility, white folks and black folks came together to create music that would last for generations and gave birth to the incomparable “Muscle Shoals sound.”

At the heart of the story is Rick Hall; overcoming crushing hardship, he managed to entice talent like Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett to come and record what became their hit albums, backed up by the funkiest white men ever—the homegrown house band, the Swampers. As the word spread about the electrifying musical chemistry in this unexpected place, the likes of Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Staples Singers, the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Simon and Garfunkel magnetically followed suit. Interviewing an incredible roster of musicians, director Greg Camalier unearths a rich history of this unheralded gold mine of American music.

Some Background:
While this is Camalier’s directorial debut, he previously executive produced Sundance alum THE TEN (2007) as well as SKILLS LIKE THIS, which premiered at SXSW. Joining him as producer and executive producer is Stephen Badger, past president of organic seed company Seeds of Change and a board member of his family’s confectionary company Mars, Inc.

Why You Should Watch:
Music doc fans have much to be excited about in Park City later this month, from Camalier’s infectiously enjoyable doc to Day One’s TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM, THE HISTORY OF THE EAGLES PART ONE to SOUND CITY. Like the latter film (profiled tomorrow), Camalier’s focuses on a recording studio, and audiences will want to make sure to see both to get a clear sense of the vital role these settings play in shaping the distinctive music produced at each location. Camalier has found a great storyteller in FAME Studios’ Rick Hall, and the unexpected setting and history of the Muscle Shoals sound will cross over from diehard music fans to draw in wider audiences.

More Info:
View the doc’s trailer. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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