“I Am The Blues” film series screening kicks off River City Roots with a bang
Cheers, laughter, toe tapping and frequent applause filled the Crystal Theater in Downtown Missoula Thursday night during the Big Sky Film Series screening of I AM THE BLUES, a film that fulfilled its promise to awaken the blues in all of us. In partnership with River City Roots Festival, Missoulians hoping to get the party started a day before the downtown music fest enjoyed a melodic journey through the swamps of the Louisiana Bayou, the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta and Moonshine soaked BBQs in the North Mississippi Hill Country. The film visits the last original blues devils, many in their 80s, still living in the American deep south and touring the Chitlin’ Circuit, a chorus of character filled faces, voices and stories from the champions of a changing and fading artform.
Returning to Missoula a decade after attending the Big Sky Docmentary Film Festival in 2006 with his film CHAIRMAN GEORGE, Canadian director Daniel Cross joined for a Q & A following the film to share stories from four years of filming the legendary musicians. Capturing over 400 hours of footage and racking up the miles between the musicians' hometowns across three states, Cross said none of them appeared in the film for the fame - they've been performing their whole lives and their form of the blues will pass when they do.
"They are the last blues players that grew up picking cotton," remarked Cross. "There are young people playing the blues, and though they're inspired by the tradition, their experience is different. Like you heard in the film, we all have our reasons for the blues, and the new crop of blues players are a reflection of a different time."
A reminder of the power of music to bring joy and longevity, I AM THE BLUES perfectly set the stage for a music filled weekend at River City Roots Fest. Find more inspiration at www.iamthebluesmovie.com.