Echo In The Canyon. Former music executive, producer and manager Andrew Slater teamed up with Wallflowers frontman Jakob Dylan to produce this new documentary about a pivotal moment in pop music history. It looks back at how, in the mid 60s, artists such as Brian Wilson, The Byrds, The Mamas and Papas, Buffalo Springfield and others formed a musical community in Laurel Canyon that wound up transforming the L.A. – and global – music scene forever. The doc also features one of the last filmed interviews with Tom Petty, who, surrounded by vintage guitars waxes poetic about the artists who played a crucial role in his artistic development. In addition to Dylan speaking with some of these artists from that era, he also teams up with Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Beck, Cat Power and Norah Jones to re-create some of the iconic hits from that period on stage and in the studio. These performances are outstanding along with stories from Michelle Phillips, Lou Adler, Crosby, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne and others who made the scene sparkle. Loaded with great music, Slater and Dylan have put together a dynamic look back at a movement whose ripple effects are still being felt today. Echo In The Canyon opens in New York this weekend and in select cities starting May 31st. You can also go to www.echointhecanyon.com for more information.
Halston. The latest from director from Federico Tcheng (‘Dior & I’) looks back at the life and career of legendary designed Roy Halston Frowick, widely considered America’s first superstar designer. Using archival footage and interviews with Halston’s family, friends and collaborators, Tcheng shows how a kid from Des Moines, Iowa liberated women’s fashion and went on to be the choice designer for movie stars, models, and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. It also dives into how Halston’s desire to ‘dress all of America’ led to a groundbreaking deal with JC Penney’s – a deal that would begin a long, protracted battle to retain creative control of the company he helped create. Tcheng perfectly captures the 70s in all of its unfettered, ‘look at me now’ glory, with Halston leading the charge that would alter the fashion world forever. It also doesn’t look away from Halston’s struggles to make opulent fashion wear accessible for everyone, his extended boardroom battles, and dealing with an HIV diagnosis. It’s the most comprehensive look at a fashion iconoclast. Halston opens in New York this weekend and in select theaters starting May 31st. You can also go to www.halston.film for more information.
Woodstock: Three Days That Defined A Generation. Nearly 50 years ago, a 3 Day music festival at a dairy farm in upstate New York was slated to host up to 50,000 people. Instead, it drew 400,000, and changed the musical and cultural landscape. PBS’s American Experience Films – using never-before-seen footage – looks back how the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement and the sexual revolution all converged at Woodstock, with organizers overcoming traffic jams, lack of health facilities and 350,000 gate crashers to present a festival that made careers and altered lives. It manages to put the concert in a new light and context, without taking away the enormous impact it had on the counterculture and the country as a whole. A fresh look at one of rock’s seismic moments. Woodstock: Three Days That Defined A Generation opens this weekend. You can also go to www.woodstockdocumentary.com for more information.
Colin Quinn: Red State, Blue State. CNN will take a slightly different slant from its Memorial Day coverage by presenting a one hour version of Colin Quinn’s off-Broadway special. Quinn looks at why the United States has never truly been united, how we’re more tribal than ever and makes a case as to why the U.S. should take a page from the Soviet Union and break up. Combining humor with history, it’s Colin Quinn putting it all out there and, as always, taking no prisoners. Colin Quinn: Red State, Blue State premieres Monday, May 27th at 9pm on CNN. You can also go to www.cnn.com for more information.
We Get By by Mavis Staples. The legendary gospel/soul icon continues her hot streak of releases with her latest album. This time, she teams up with Ben Harper, who wrote the album specifically with her mind. Though many of the songs stay on Staples’ never ending call for justice and equality, there’s also a hushed, meditative tone throughout, feeling more like a late night sitting than an out and out call to hit the streets. Staples will turn 80 this year, but she still has a vocal power, fire and a passion than any of her younger contemporaries. It’s yet another winner from one of the greatest to ever grace the microphone. One of the year’s best. We Get By by Mavis Staples is available through Amazon, Itunes and all major streaming services.
Purse by Elvis Costello & The Imposters. This four song EP was originally released as part of Record Store Day, but now it’s being made available through all major platforms. It features a soul drenched collaboration with Burt Bacharach (‘Everybody’s Playing House’; a slow-burning gospel infused cover of Dylan’s ‘Down In The Flood’; Johnny Cash poetry set to a Laurel Canyon style arrangement (‘If You Love Me’); and ‘Lovers That Never Were’ which he co-wrote with Paul McCartney. The band has never sounded better, with Costello’s vocals in peak form. A perfect compliment to last year’s excellent Look Now and one of the year’s best releases. Purse by Elvis Costello & The Imposters is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major streaming services.