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Echo in the Canyon

This documentary, driven mostly by Jakob Dylan, explores the roots of the California rock scene of the mid-1960s. At that time, bands were eager to emulate the success of the Beatles, and folk music became much more electric through the music of the Byrds (the band the film points to as the beginning of that scene), Buffalo Springfield, and The Mamas and the Papas. Jakob Dylan created a concert, Echo in the Canyon, that is a kind of love letter to those bands and the interesting people who comprised them that influenced the sounds of him and many other singers in this generation. I really enjoyed the film. The director uses archival footage of the original bands interspersed with covers from the period by a band Jakob Dylan assembled that incudes Beck, and very colorful and interesting interviews with a number of the musicians including Brian Wilson, David Crosby, Neil Young, Michelle Phillips, Tom Petty, and a host of others. I liked the “backseat” approach Dylan takes with his interviews, and the people he assembled to cover the songs bring a wonderful joy to the music. I was too young to know the stories behind the Laurel Canyon scene but not too young to listen to their albums and love their music; thank goodness for films like this to fill in the gaps. Thumbs up for a fun and at times funny film that is a must-see for those who like music documentaries.

About Gary Burkholder

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