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4.6 out of 5 stars
Heartworn Highways
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2003
I am a songwriter based in Nashville and I'm so glad to see that this movie has made it to DVD. These guys, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, etc., are the ones who made me want to become a writer in the first place and it's so great to see them so young and hopeful, like they might be able to do something new and inpired, heartfelt and intelligent. The most moving scenes, for me, are the ones with Townes Van Zandt. He had such a sparkle in eyes back then in '75.
The songs are wonderful and the performances are rough and real, like country music was for a time. Check it out!
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
This is a film that won't get much press, and many will miss. Make no mistake, this is a raw, underground masterpiece. Sound Quality is excellent, and this footage is RARE. I recently read the Steve Earle bio "Hardcore Troubadour" (not a bad read-4 stars) and several times it talks about the jam sessions at Guy Clarks's house. I could only visualize the magic from those mid 70's get togethers. This dvd captures those actual moments. Steve Earle must be under 20 (and hard to recognize). Many other artists also. Guy Clark does a great "Desparadoes Waiting For The Train". One full hour of unreleased music as an extra, is a real treat. This is a sleeper, not to be missed.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
I was stunned by this movie. I learned of it and purchased it in 2003. For various reasons it remains for me the best, most emotional movie I have seen about musicians and their music. The producer chose well: He found the songwriters that shaped country and rock for the next 30 years: Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Steve Young, John Hiatt, Charlie Daniels and a tribute to the late Skinny Dennis, immortalized in Guy Clark's "LA Freeway." I wish David Allen Coe had been left out, but no film is perfect.

The songwriters are shown at their best and worst: a drunken, funny TVZ falls into a rabbit hole and Silent Night is rendered by fine musicians too drunk to remember the lyrics.

This movie was made when I was a poor student and musician with a small circle of talented friends in Tampa at the University of South Florida. The difference is that most of my friends and I got straight jobs [we still tried to make a difference] but these musicians changed the world, just a little.

I married the singer/Business major I met at USF and divorced 30 years later. I still play guitar, write and record at home and dream of making it in music - but mostly I learn songs written by artists like those in this movie and try to understand the magic they have that still captures me.

When TVZ sang 'Waiting around to die' he brought tears to the eyes of his 70+ blacksmith neighbor, while Cindy comforts him. It was magical. TVZ does a "medley of my hit" and sings "Pancho and Lefty," and Rodney Crowell sang "Bluebird Wine," both covered by Emmylou. Steve Young's "Alabama Highways" was wonderful too. It was a look into my past - and the past and future of the intelligent, emotional music I love best.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2004
This film is not a great documentary from a film standpoint but it is from the music standpoint. It captures a group of songwriters who were living in Nashville in 1975 during a period of amazing creativity. Most never became famous except to that small group of music afficionados around the world (my copy is Swedish!) who appreciate a songs lyrics. It is a joy to see a young Townes Van Zandt singing "Pancho and Lefty" and "Waiting Around to Die." Other gems are Guy Clark's "Desparadoes Waiting for a Train" and the underrated Steve Young doing a stirring rendition of "Alabama Highways." Rodney Crowell's work is fun to see and the final scene includes a teen-looking Steve Earle sitting at the feet of his elders. The documentary does capture a time a place and a sense of community. However it never gives us any context. We learn little of the people and the place other than some vignettes that usually work. But I wanted to know more about the songwriter world, the open-mics, etc. However, the music stands up and thank God it was saved. There are some good performances in the extras as well which have been thankfully saved.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2004
This is how true music happens, this is a moment in time, these are musicians who respect/respected each other. Straight from the country, roads, home gatherings and joints to the studio. If an elder is playing you shut up and learn. A lot of today's hot acts should watch this and recondier their attitude. No filler here, just people who live/lived for music. As simple and as hard to find as that. BUY THIS AND YOU'LL BE MOVED.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2004
I thank James Szalapski from the bottom of my heart for having the foresight to make this film when many of the principals were young, handsome, and not particularly well known. I admit that I am not much of a country music fan, and I bought it principally to see Townes Van Zandt sing "Poncho and Lefty" (which appears in the special features) and it didn't disappoint. The footage of him clowning around and later performing "Waitin' 'Round to Die" is also fantastic, though brief. The film is compelling as a whole, with many fine performances, and sensitive camera work which enhances the narrative; but it was worth buying just for the glimpse of Townes Van Zandt's incredibly charismatic persona as a young artist.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2004
if you have any interest in the Teaxs troubadours (Townes and Guy,especially), you should get this. It is truly a gift to see such amazingly honest and well composed songs being played at someone's kitchen table, in someone's living room, or during a crowded Christmas party. It's very authentic music, simply and ably played. I bought it for Townes, but immediately became a Guy Clark fan. The extras are wonderful. I've watched this a dozen times or so, and I still feel good about it. It's really a film about a community of friends who are about genuine songwriting. Though some have more screentime, no-one really dominates and each are receptive to other's music.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 1999
Shows snippits of the 'life and times' in Nashville's singer-songwriter scene in late 1975. Watch it for amazing live performances from legends like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Young, Rodney Crowell. It is well worth the price for the rare footage and performances.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2006
Extraordinary performances by singer songwriters who revolutionized country music beautifully captured at the time it was happening. It's like visiting, living with these folks in Nashville and Austin in the 1970's.

An hour of bonus material that is just as good as the movie!

20 year old Steve Earle does a couple of great songs he never recorded elsewhere!

It's an amazing DVD altogether!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2003
Really incredible, I can't believe this film is not a household name. I was moved to tears by the scene with Townes Van Sant singing Waiting Round to Die. Beautifully shot.
A must have for any music lover
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