Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wilderness Plots: the dvd

Wilderness Plots DVD

History, sense of place, music, and story all intersect in Wilderness Plots. First, the stories were sparked by fragments of idea and description author and professor Scott Russell Sanders came on while on his way to writing other things. He turned them into short stories, and they became a small book called Wilderness Plots. Seventeen years later, songwriter Tim Grimm came across a copy of Wilderness Plots on a bookstore in Bloomington, Indiana, read several of the stories, and standing there in the bookstore, he knew they were songs. Not just songs for him to write, though -- he thought it’d be a fine thing to bring to the song writing group he’d formed along with four friends several years before.

Grimm was right. For one thing, his song writing friends were Tom Roznowski, Michael White, Krista Detor, and Carrie Newcomer, as varied and variously gifted group as you could wish. For another, the stories were set in the Ohio Valley at the time when that was the frontier, and that was where these writers lived and worked. They also been tossing writing ideas and prompts back and forth with each other on a regular basis over the months and years. This exercise, however, went beyond that, and became an album of music, a stage how, individual songs the musicians recorded on their own albums, and a dvd.

Each part of that creative product is very different from the other. This dvd finds the five songwriters in the round, by themselves on stage at a historic theater in southern Indiana. As they pass songs around, the music is interspersed with interview and commentary that adds insight into the song writing process and to the work of the musicians. They talk about the midwest, history, the creative process, about living where they do, and about the songs themselves. As they share the music, they really share it, taking parts and singing harmonies and adding instruments and appreciation to each others’ songs.

There’s a lot of great music here, and it’s very well supported by the production, shooting, editing, and sound of the show, all of which are done in completely in service to the music. It’s a quiet gem, really, on all levels. If you’re at all interested in song writing, history, Indiana, or the sort on music found here along the Music Road, it’s worth seeking out.

Bonus features include an interview with Sanders, artist bios, complete performances of the songs (so you can see the parts the interviews covered), and additional material

you may also want to see

Music Road: now playing: Carrie Newcomer: One Woman and a Shovel

now playing:: Wilderness Plots: the CD

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