Why do we even like music? 

Arguably the most abstract of the arts, surely the most evanescent, music offers nothing to see, hold or touch. Painting and sculpture can be apprehended at a glance, the printed word cherished in physical form for centuries. Music exists, to the extent heard music exists at all, only in the mind and always in the present, an organized, sequential thought. 

Beyond the surface and undeniable appeal of having our emotions strummed, what does music do for us - or to us? Marvin Minsky, cognitive scientist and philosopher of artificial intelligence, answers with a detailed analogy to sight (and, via Edward Fredkin, a less appetizing comparison to rodent learning). “Music, too, immerses us in seemingly stable worlds!,” Minsky writes. “How can this be, when there is so little of it present at each moment? I will try to explain this by (1) arguing that hearing music is like viewing scenery and (2) by asserting that when we hear good music our minds react in very much the same way they do when we see things.”

So, after thousands of years of non-stop human music-making, the mind’s eye turns out to be music’s canvas, and mapping our interior geography its use. This issue of Smoke Music projects music as image, whether on the silver screen in Steve Dollar’s survey of this year’s bounty of music documentaries, including an interview with Oscar-winner Morgan Neville; director Drew DiNicola’s portfolio of visual inspiration for his documentary of musical promise and legend, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me; the on-set memories of Jonathan Kane as his father Art Kane shot an iconic Life magazine cover featuring Jefferson Airplane at the apex of their youthful beauty and rock attitude; and my consideration of the concrete emotions illuminated by the abstraction of acoustic music, in this case the surprisingly related compositions of Ralph Vaughan Williams and guitarist Nathan Salsburg.

Dim the lights. Rock on.

- Bob Moses

40 Years from Stardom

Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night (1964) turned The Beatles into cinematic icons. But it wasn’t until the following year – when a documentary filmmaker named DA Pennebaker picked up a 16mm Bolex to trail a 23-year-old Bob Dylan on a sometime-chaotic tour of England – that anyone had acted on the notion that a pop musician could be the focal point of a non-fiction film. Dylan was indelibly captured as a petulant jerk in the act of inventing “Bob Dylan,” toying with feverishly starstruck teenage girls and mocking the square, buttoned-down Fleet Street scribes, still coming to grips with the aftershock of Beatlemania. At one point, Dylan declares himself a better singer than Caruso because he can hold his breath three times as long. The film was a radical blueprint: The first rockumentary.

Fifty years later, the rock-doc is another sheet of cultural wallpaper. Although the Maysles Brothers (Albert and David) soon delivered their own masterpiece – deconstructing the Rolling Stones myth before Mick Jagger’s very eyes in Gimme Shelter (1970) – the budding genre would become synonymous with a kind of court painting for the post-MTV/reality-show era. “Films made about rock stars are made for rock stars,” says Morgan Neville, the director of 20 Feet from Stardom, the 2013 Best Documentary Oscar© winner [trailer]. That air of prefabricated hagiography weighs on most contemporary examples of the genre like a roadie’s hangover. And yet, that’s also the negative example against which so many revelatory music-themed films reacted in 2013. The title of Neville’s soul-stirring enterprise about the back-up singers behind the biggest acts in pop history – the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Sting – makes the case, pointing to where the real drama lies.

The underdog theme was a cultural trope this past year, yin to the yang of Big Wheel commentaries on wretched excess that ran the gamut from The Great Gatsby to Spring Breakers. The folksinger who is the prickly Sisyphus of the Coen Brothers’s melancholy ode to failure, Inside Llewyn Davis, really was the idiot brother of corrupt King Midas figures like Jordan Belson in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Although drawn from the well-known example of Dave Van Ronk, the “Mayor of Greenwich Village” who midwifed the artistic emergence of Dylan and many other striving strummers of the early ‘60s, the luckless Llewyn is portrayed as such a minor character on the scene it’s hard to imagine anyone making a documentary about him. But he is, in some regards, a template.

Sometimes the most compelling stories are hiding in plain sight.

Neville, who has directed and/or produced more than two dozen projects on legendary figures such as Ray Charles, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and James Brown, knows his way around cultural totems. But he was flummoxed when his producer pitched him the idea for Stardom.

“He said, ‘Backup singers. There’s something interesting there.’


“‘I have no idea.’”

“There was no anything,” Neville continues, speaking from his car while navigating Los Angeles traffic. “There was no mandate. Really it was as simple as ‘I have a hunch that there is something interesting about backup singers.’ It was impossible to research because nothing had ever been done on backup singers. And for me, a dyed-in-the-wool music geek, I found that intriguing. It’s something that is so close to the center of pop culture, and so close to our own musical familiarities, and yet it was so incredibly invisible. I took that as a challenge.”

Plenty more filmmakers shared Neville’s sensibility. If 2013 was a watershed year for documentaries overall, with risk-taking efforts such as Leviathan and The Act of Killing pushing the limits of the form, it likewise proved exceptional for music documentaries. The year’s archetypal music docs sang for the unsung, cast a spotlight on the shadows and went crate-digging for forgotten sides of raw genius. This was the year the rank outsider took center stage: The startling courtroom footage in Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer; the rousing lesson of the Riot Grrrl movement in The Punk Singer (about Bikini Kill and Le Tigre founder Kathleen Hanna); or Muscle Shoals, the rags-to-riches story of Rick Hall, who built the Muscle Shoals studio and turned a rural Alabama town into a rock and soul hotbed.

Hall’s tragic, transcendent story was so fundamental, and the swamp-infused music he produced so essential, that Muscle Shoals compelled watching despite the haphazard filmmaking of its novice directors – and the irrelevant presence of Bono. “The whole story is the story of Job,” says Eamonn Bowles, the head of Magnolia Pictures, which in 2013 distributed Muscle Shoals, as well as Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me and Good Ol’ Freda, about the enduringly loyal secretary to The Beatles. “That’s what makes that film soar. The Biblical intensity of his life.”

It seems almost too obvious to note, but also impossible to ignore, the left-field success of the 2012 release Searching for Sugar Man. Though the movie is heavy-handed – even fraudulent – in its manipulation of facts, the saga of Sixto Rodriguez was irresistible. The Detroit folk-singer faded into obscurity after releasing a pair of haunting albums at the end of the 1960s, but was reborn as a cryptic hero when his songs sparked a cult following in South Africa amid the struggle against apartheid. The film, by Swedish documentarian Malik Bendjelloul, won the Academy Award for best documentary, trumping a pair of contenders set against the Middle East conflict, an expose on rape in the American military and a history of activism in the early days of AIDS crisis.

“I feel like Searching for Sugar Man pushed people to finish their films,” says Matt Grady, whose independent Factory 25 label distributes micro-budget features and documentaries that often highlight pop topics. Recent releases include Jobriath A.D., about the meteoric rise and fall of the boldly gay 1970s glam-rock star, and Better Than Something, which became an unplanned eulogy when its subject, the Memphis punk phenom Jay Reatard, died of drug-related causes in 2010. “It was saying, ‘You know what, people don’t want to watch just political issue films anymore. People are ready to give their attention to music documentaries again.’”

Some of those, like 20 Feet from Stardom, had high production value and a roster of celebrated names dropping anecdotal gems. But some of the most intriguing were scrapbook affairs, made by hardcore fans with a knack for storytelling and the persistence to unearth odd bits of archival material. Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me not only revisits the uncanny and flammable partnership of Alex Chilton and Chris Bell in a heartbreaking story of the great lost Memphis rock band, it resurrects Lester Bangs in some old black-and-white footage, and with him an eternal bell-bottomed essence of the 1970s. The Source Family recounts the legend of a Hollywood Hills psychedelic rock'n'roll vegetarian love cult and its hirsute, polyamorous founder Father Yod, aided by the encyclopedic documentation of Isis Aquarian, the cult's appointed archivist.

Of course, neither of these films were about nobodies. Chilton had a Number One hit when he was 16. Father Yod (aka James Baker) ran a Sunset Strip health food restaurant beloved of Goldie Hawn and John Lennon. But nothing sold a story better than to explicate subjects who had scarcely tasted fame of any sort, whose singular magic was undermined by various demons, from substance abuse and psychological issues to bad management and record-company indifference – or just plain lousy luck. Premature death provides drama as surely as a creative vision that takes decades to be fully revealed through a devoted generation of acolytes.

Nearly every item in that formula gets checked off in A Band Called Death [trailer], released by the often-eccentric distributor Drafthouse Films. The film resurrected the stranger-than-fiction story of an African-American proto-punk band barely heard outside of the Detroit bedroom where the trio of brothers practiced. Decades later, record collectors celebrated the discovery of a rare 45-rpm single that the band once released [there was also a full-length re-release of their album on Light in the Attic Records], which sparked a reunion made bittersweet by the absence of its founding visionary. A troubled soul, David Hackney died in 2000, but not without predicting that Death’s music would one day receive national attention. Everyone who watches the movie thereby becomes an agent of prophecy.

Lionized by Dr. John as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced,”James Booker enjoyed a critically acclaimed recording career in the 1970s before death cut short his promise in 1983. He comes rollicking back to life in Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker [trailer]. Long on archival legwork and anecdotal extravagance, the documentary recaptures its subject through a series of spirited Rashomon-like encounters with those who knew him, loved him, were infuriated by him, and danced to his protean whirl of Bach and boogie-woogie. A festival favorite, the film remains undistributed.

“If people know the name James Booker, the two things they will know about him is that he is a total monster piano player and that he's complete unknown,” says Lily Keber, a young Southern filmmaker who moved to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and took up bartending to support herself, serving clientele in some of the city’s liveliest dive bars. It was at Vaughan’s in the Bywater that she first heard of Booker, a near-mythic figure known by various names but who called himself “The Black Liberace.”

"When they talk about Irma or Mac or Harry you're supposed to understand they were talking about Irma Thomas or Dr. John or Harry Connick Jr. Booker would be another one of those,’” she says. “I’d hear all these stories about him and have no idea who he was and it didn't make sense. Obviously, the stories you hear about Booker are pretty bizarre. It was hard to believe those bizarre stories were about the same guy who was making the music I heard come out of the jukebox. The fun thing about Booker is there are things that still don't make sense. His mystery was such a draw."

We know that secret histories are prevalent among cultural outsiders and, in popular music, those outsiders are often African-American. While narrowing down his options in preparation for shooting 20 Feet from Stardom, Neville realized after interviewing some 50 backup singers that the subject was going to be “The revelation of the African-American voices finding their way into the studio and onto the vinyl and how subsequent generations played off the idea of the black gospel sound that they brought with them. That’s the one story, the archetype of what Lou Reed sang about [“... and the colored girls go Doo do doo do doo do do doo.”]We’re going to make a film about black women, and this could be depressing. Or this could be really inspirational.”

The latter option held true, in part says Neville, because he saw himself in the stories he was filming.

“I identified with the backup singers when I was making it,” he says. “I’ve been making documentaries for 20 years, telling other peoples’ stories.” The filmmaker recalls conversations he had with his subjects – human dynamos like Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer and Tata Vega – and how, for them, craft offers its own reward. “It’s been this thing that has consistently struck me as I’ve shown the film around the country: how people see themselves in the experience.”

Picturing Big Star: Visual Inspiration

Though film tells visual stories, documentary offers filmmakers a special challenge: how to surround their research and text, the point-and-shoot testimony of witnesses and participants, with kinetic, graphic evocations of time, place, and feeling. Music documentaries add an additional layer of meaning in visual references to what may be well-known periods or genres, or sketching in the details surrounding unknown or rediscovered music. 

Below, Drew DeNicola, co-director of Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, [trailer] shares some of the cinematic and visual influences on the film's concept and design. (Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is available on Netflix, Amazon and in the iTunes store.) Big Star's music came from twin, tragic inspirations that evolved out of the music mainstream and in the glare of critical acclaim. Drew's film builds the Big Star story with music, story, and image: these are among his inspirations. First, a rough draft of the credit sequence that sets the visual tone (and it includes a clip of Lester Bangs!).

Other film inspirations:

All You Need is Love (1967), [trailerdirected by Tony Palmer

All You Need is Love is perhaps the most extensive series ever produced on popular music. It ran for three years on BBC and covered everything from Liberace to Frank Zappa, spanning so many practitioners, their stories and their times and drawing amazing conclusions about American 20th Century music – all the while finding ways of cleverly refusing to let anyone have the final word on it. That included Lester Bangs who rails against the sorry state of music in the mid-70's – some of what we used in the film to explain the corporate rock machine Big Star was up against.

Inspiration for the animation sequences

Rock Dreams (1973) by Guy Peelleart

The illustrations didn't affect me at first because that style – lush color over black and white images – has since been emulated a lot and didn't seem all that striking to me. It was only later that I realized the artist, Guy Peellaert had done some pretty iconic album covers including the one for Bowie’s Diamond Dogs. It was actually when I happened to read a bit of the text by Nik Cohn that accompanied the illustrations I started to understand that work better. Cohn and Peellaert were attempting to create a mythology for the rock and roll era they had just lived through.

I see Big Star as the first "revisionist rock band." It's key that the Big Star boys were a little too young to have been part of the British Invasion. They all remember The Beatles on Ed Sullivan as a great awakening. The ethos of the band was an attempt to summon up that energy of that period that they missed.

So the writing in Rock Dreams explained the mentality of the rock fans of 1973 to me and the visual style was referenced in many of our animations like the Big Star grocery store.

Inspiration for the poster

The original idea was to do a Rock Dreams treatment for the poster. Magnolia hired Chris Bilheimer to do the design and he suggested having a neon star fabricated and photographed. The idea was floated to maybe have William Eggleston take the photo but he declined. We all agreed that the star should be unlit. I wanted to put the star in a junk shop or roadside flea market and make it look like some dusty old forgotten relic. The compromise was to have it unlit but in a recording studio to at least give some idea of what this film is about to the uninitiated.

Poster Inspiration: The Story in One Image

Acoustic Expressionism

Just to voice an early preference as I presumably won’t be available to discuss the matter, I’d like “The Lark Ascending” by Ralph Vaughan Williams played at my funeral. And not just as mood-setter or recessional. Yes, The Lark has relaxed into comfort-food familiarity on radio and listeners' polls but perhaps the familiarity, like the ghost of a half-remembered hymn, makes its emotional palette even more unsettling. If I get a vote, Williams’s “pastoral romance for orchestra” suffices for the eulogy. The pentatonic melody that echoes from solo violin to orchestra recalls British folk songs and modes, melodies buried deep within me and instinct-close to the surface. In the violin’s ascent and fluid movements (cadenzas written without bar lines, an invitation to rumination and expression), I see a soul’s wandering over the life spent, in agitation then calm, driven by triumphs and regrets. There are impressions of life below, partings and celebrations, ceremonially swelling chords, and then, alone, the attachments to earth and body fading, straining for one last glimpse below, life vanishes in a near-silent exhalation.

But that’s just me.

Vaughan Williams pictured no such thing, and I imagine my imagery would provoke mild annoyance. Though credited (or burdened) with reviving musical Englishness and describing its pastoral glory, RVW rejected programmatic inferences where none were intended. When he refashioned folk song, or Tudor and Elizabethan music, he did it explicitly and to great effect. Where he sets verse, Housman, Shakespeare or Whitman, he does it plainly. Given that he borrows the title and wrote several lines from George Meredith’s poem “The Lark Ascending” on the autograph manuscript, you’re welcome to hear the violin’s flight as mimetic, an aural transcription as lark and melody swoop and circle. But I’ve never heard a skylark darting over a Sussex valley, so I’ll cling to my vision, and the dread and comfort it brings me.

As it evolved, shadows deepened over RVW’s landscape for his Lark. The first draft, for violin and piano, came in 1914, perhaps an exercise on the way to making The Lark his first concerto, or a pause in his investigations of Tudor and Baroque music. His friend and fellow composer George Butterworth recorded that RVW was working on a Purcell lecture when he began The Lark. RVW returned to The Lark in 1920, revising and orchestrating the duet version with the violinist Marie Hall, to whom it is dedicated. The dates are significant. The Lark was begun just before WWI by a composer finding his voice, and establishing his reputation as a collector and restorer of English tradition. It was revised after the war by an entirely different man, and the pastoral scene he conjured may lie far from Surrey’s hills. RVW volunteered at the age of 41 for service at the front, as a private in the medical corps. Surviving France and Salonika, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the artillery, where he suffered illness and shattered hearing. He left friends and comrades in France’s fields, including Butterworth. When RVW was able to pick up his pen again, how could the orchestral colors he added to a mirage of pastoral Albion be anything but blood-soaked and grief-stricken? 

Once freed from the demands of clergy and kings, music had to be about something. Between the republican ferment of the 19th century and the impending atomization of central Europe after WWI, that something was increasingly the expression of national identity. Following Wagner, composers such as Debussy, Mahler, Strauss and Ravel made musical language explicitly emotive and descriptive (RVW studied briefly with Ravel). Music’s singular power to conjure emotion from pure abstraction needed context, whether a painterly impression of place, borrowed narrative from story or verse, or remembrance of more stirring, romantic times. RVW applied the new emotional expression to old songs to create a place that never was, and yet is utterly, forever English. 

RVW’s enduring contribution may be equally as collector and composer. He revived the reputation of England’s musical heritage; edited the English Hymnal, to which he contributed popular hymns of his own; edited the Oxford Book of Carols; and preserved folk songs known only to oral tradition and in danger of vanishing. His work and its musical language came as much from the field as the piano. Beginning around the turn of the century, RVW set out across the countryside, often with his friends Gustav Holst and the preservationist Cecil Sharp, recording songs and carols on wax cylinders. Finds such as “Bushes and Briars” and “The Captain’s Apprentice” leave traces throughout RVW’s long career. RVW became the standard-bearer of the First Folk Revival, in his composing and leadership of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. “My advice to young composers,” he wrote, “is learn your own language first, find out your own traditions, discover what you want to do.” The three friends in England followed Dvorak’s footsteps in Bohemia, and Bartok and Kodaly in Hungary, mining the countryside for veins of national character buried under a century of urban industrialization.  

I can picture Nathan Salsburg happily striding the English countryside with RVW, Holst and Sharp. Nathan also documents and presents traditional songs and recordings as archivist for the Alan Lomax Archive. He’s a writer recently nominated for a Grammy for the notes to his collection Work Hard, Pray Hard, Play Hard (Tompkins Square). He’s a friend and collaborator with a flock of artists who are students of tradition, busy creating personal versions of the folk revival, and a producer of remarkable releases for Lomax’s Global Jukebox, as well as the Work Hard set, and a tribute to the songs of E.C. Ball. And he recently released his second solo album of acoustic guitar music, Hard For to Win and Can’t Be Won (No Quarter). 

Though Nathan has a magpie’s instinct for collecting and a borderless musical curiosity, his own music finds inspiration in specific geography. His records are grounded in British folk tradition and its echoes in the songs of the Appalachian hills near his Louisville home. Nathan has described more direct influence from English, Scottish, and Irish guitarists of the Second Folk Revival, including Nic Jones, Bert Jansch, Archie Fisher, and Dick Gaughan. Affirmed (No Quarter), Nathan’s first  solo recording, brought critical comparisons to John Fahey, the guiding light of American guitar explorers, and himself a revealing writer, producer, label owner, and collector. The parallels are there in the knowing use of traditional forms as framework, the open tunings and blues inflections, meditative repetitions and leaping rags. With four of Affirmed’s songs named for and inspired by famous thoroughbreds, including two honoring the tragic filly Eight Belles, it was irresistible to picture springtime Kentucky in the album’s high-stepping rhythms and fairground melodies. 

Hard for to Win travels to a wintry place. Slower and more contemplative, the songs unfold in chapters, introspective stories that, freed from specific reference, are both musically and emotionally challenging. At a more stately pace, Nathan’s accomplished fingerpicking gives melodies such as “First Field Path” a sonorous grace that wouldn’t be out of place in RVW’s hymnal. And the recording itself amplifies the impression with a deep resonance distinct from the brighter Affirmed. Nathan often joins contrasting movements in one song, and on Hard For to Win that practice is extended, as if the songs are restless things that need a frequent change of scenery to paint the full picture. The entire record seems to resist settling down. “ ‘Dog at Bay’ was a composite of three separate parts that I wrote while in Portland,” Nathan told me, describing a winter spent in Maine, “and that I felt loosely reflected the walks dog and I would have along the Casco Bay. The title was also a way of memorializing an experience that was fleeting. I'm far from Maine now, but when I play the song, that time's recalled to me in a very intense, almost physical way. Most of my songs are like this, actually. They're nearly all about place: emotional places, historical places, musical places.”

The comings and goings on Hard for to Win are mapped in its two vocal songs. “Coll Mackenzie” is an immigration song learned from Scottish musician Archie Fisher, a tale launched by tragedy but with a lovely, surprising renewal across the ocean. “To Welcome the Travelers Home” adds a slide-guitar accent to a combination of traditional songs. The result follows a wanderer to the ultimate destination where friends await. When an instrumentalist sings, you want to pay attention. At a recent performance at Joe’s Pub, Nathan’s confident, warm singing (and storytelling) added dimension and humor to his remarkable playing, including an a cappella rendition of “Little Margaret,” picked up from a 1982 Lomax field recording of Sheila Kay Adams.  

In Hard For to Win’s pensive final track, “What Can’t Be Won,” I hear a melancholy farewell that turns to face the road ahead, fresh hope carried along on a quickening tempo and, in its gathering repetitions, a determination to push onward, until, as the opening lines return, come shadows of reflection and memory. 

But that’s just me.  

Plastic Fantastic Picture

The shoot was in spring 1968, in Long Island City, Queens, just south of where Gantry Park and the Queens West high rises are today. At the time, it was a gypsum plant, a pile of gypsum being the white mound in the background of the picture. Art Kane, my dad, came up with the plexi box idea to make the 'Airplane' fly, and because the plexi cubes were a visual metaphor for cubes of acid. The cost of the cubes was enormous for an editorial shoot in those days but there was no other setup considered. 

He didn't have a relationship with them, but like all the bands in that Life essay (and, in fact, everything Art Kane ever shot), he researched them thoroughly and spent a lot of time listening to their music, absorbing their sound and content to develop his concepts. 

I was at the shoot. I was 11 and came after school. The atmosphere was intense. The band was aloof and remote. Rather stuck up, actually. Or totally stoned. But they didn’t have more than a grunt to offer to a star-struck kid. In some frames, Marty Balin, who I imagine didn't appreciate being relegated to the bottom cube, appears bored and is reading a book, but in other frames the book is gone, taken away by my father, who demanded the total attention of his subjects.

Life loved it, of course, and made it the cover. The band was not consulted for approval, but in those days that didn't happen like it does now. They would have been nothing but thrilled anyway. To be in an Art Kane photograph on the cover of Life Magazine was just about the biggest media exposure there was in 1968.

— Jonathan Kane

A career retrospective of Art Kane's work will be published in October by Reel Art Press. The comprehensive pictorial survey with essays will catalogue Kane's editorial, commercial, fashion and art work with a generous sampling of his music-related subjects.

Smoke Music Editors

Bob Moses

Matt Hendrickson

Guest Editor: Steve Dollar

Steve is a freelance contributor to The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, among other publications. He lives in the Florida Panhandle and New York City.

Design by: Eric Davis / hellomrdavis.com


Drew DiNicola is the director of Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me. Read an interview with Drew and his co-director Olivia Mori here.

Jonathan Kane is a drummer, photographer and archivist for the work of Art Kane

Photo Credits:
Cover animation:
Clarence Carter in Muscle Shoals, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. 
Lisa Fischer in Twenty Feet From Stardom - All stills courtesy of RADiUS-TWC
Ringo Starr, Freda Kelly and George Harrison in Good Ol’ Freda, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures & Freda Kelly
Pussy Riot Member in Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer - Evgeny Gladin/ Courtesy of HBO
David Hackney from A Band Called Death, Jeff Howlett and Mark Covino. Photo by Georgia Pantazopoulos
Bayou Maharajah from the Historic New Orleans Collection

Marvin Minsky via Wikipedia
40 Feet... opener: Darlene Love in Twenty Feet from Stardom via Radius-TWC
A scene from Muscle Shoals, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Death band members and brothers, David Hackney, Bobby Hackney, Sr., and Dennis Hackney from A Band Called Death. Courtesy of Drafthouse Films. 
Aloha Bobby and Rose - screen grab via YouTube.
All original photos and material from Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me courtesy of Drew DiNicola and Olivia Mori.
Jimmy Page image from Rock Dreams.
RVW photo collage by Bob Moses, images via Wikipedia, YouTube.
RVW photo via Wikipedia.
Nathan Salsburg at Joe's by Bob Moses.
Dog/guitar by Nathan Salsburg.
Jefferson Airplane courtesy of Jonathan Kane, c. Art Kane.


Smoke Music

Special thanks to: Jeff Rabb and Thomas Rhiel at Creatavist for the use of the spanking new template. 

Ole Smoky: Terry Hummel, Joe Baker, and Shelley Hall @ Blackboard Co.

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