To go by this trailer for Andrew Slater’s Echo in The Canyon, there’s a night-and-day difference between (a) what seems like a generic boomer nostalgia doc that explores and celebrates the ’60s Laurel Canyon musician community (Jackson Browne, Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, Eric Clapton, Beck, Michelle Phillips, David Crosby, Cat Power, Lou Adler, Stephen Stills) that influenced everyone and everything back in the day, and (b) a rich, double-down, grade-A, personal-confession doc like A.J. Eaton and Cameron Crowe‘s David Crosby: Remember My Name.
Echo in the Canyon opens on 5.24 at Arclight’s Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles. Jakob Dylan, the Wallflowers crooner and son of Bob Dylan, handles the narration and interviewing. Right away the question is “why him? what’s the connection?”
From my Sundance review of the Eaton-Crowe doc: “Triple grade-A doc…the antithesis of a kiss-ass, ‘what a great artist’ tribute, but at the same time a profoundly moving warts-and-all reflection piece…hugely emotional, meditative, BALDLY PAINFULLY NAKEDLY HONEST…God! There’s a special spiritual current that seeps out when an old guy admits to each and every failing of his life without the slightest attempt to rationalize or minimize…’I was a shit, I was an asshole, how is it that I’m still alive?,’ etc. Straight, no chaser.
“And this isn’t because I’m partial to boomer nostalgia flicks or because so many are being shown here, or because I grew up with the Byrds (12-string twangly-jangly), Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash and that whole long lyrical–frazzled history. It’s about the tough stuff and the hard rain…about addiction and rage and all but destroying your life, and then coming back semi-clean and semi-restored, but without any sentimentality or gooey bullshit.”