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Hubert Sumlin

[B4MD review, continued]

One of the unforgettable things that Branford Marsalis says is "Today, Ray Charles would not get a shot. Stevie Wonder would not get a shot. They're blind." Erykah Badu is over the top, and is reputed to have been deeply changed herself by going into these topics deeply in what turned out to be a four-hour interview for her. (If we're very lucky, we may land an interview with her for this issue.)
The filmmakers take you into the studio and show the lay listener how a vocal track that's flat as a pancake is "fixed" by software called Autotune. It's as common as a refrigerator in a studio today. They stage an experiment where they take a 17 year old model who can't sing and make a video with her, and show us just how it's done, the manufacturing of a "star." The song they use is composed on the spot, on camera, by Steve Poltz of The Rugburns; he serendipitously co-wrote the Jewell mega-hit "You Were Meant For Me," and thought it was a throw-away song.


For filmakers that were without music connections, the people that Shapter and Rasmussen got next to, and who let them inside, is unbelievable. Superstars, as well as many cult icons like Calexico, Doyle Bramhall, Guy Forsyth, Widespread Panic, and North Mississippi Allstars all had compelling things to say. There was beautiful concert footage of Calexico, and some great Dave Matthews live film. Bonnie Raitt was a real ambassador of integrity. Questslove's rap on Sunday as band day was very moving, direct sound advice about how to keep a band together.

Justin Goldberg (curiously absent from the "What Is Indie?" movie), the founder of Indie 911, was very lucid and interesting. Elvis Costello had some good things to say. Journalists like Tom Moon and especially Jon Pareles added some remarkable insights.

Andrew Shapter talking with David Hidalgo