By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
As a kid, teen, or even college student, I was never all that into “Roots Music.” I would later discover this genre and fall in love with it through a film. That film is Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz. Now for those unfamiliar with the movie, The Last Waltz is a concert/documentary film about the Rock and Roll/Roots group known as The Band. This legendary group was definitely heavy into folk, country, blues, bluegrass. Their phenomenal musicianship and singing really sold me on the genre.
So when I was recently offered a coverage opportunity to review a new documentary series following a Roots Music duo, it was an offer I couldn’t pass up. It Was The Music follows musical duo and married couple Teresa Williams and Larry Campbell. Though not exactly household names, both artists can boast performing with some bigger named musicians like Bob Dylan, Levon Helm (of The Band), and many others. Larry, a multi-instrumentalist, has worked with some heavy hitters in music. Teresa, a talented singer and guitarist, doesn’t quite have the same resume, but still performs beautifully and puts her heart and soul into all of her work.
Director Mark Moskowitz has made a soulful series that is not only a portrait of a married couple of musical artists, but is also a bit of a history lesson when it comes to the influence of Roots music on Rock ‘n Roll. Moskowitz intercuts live performances by Teresa and Larry with intimate glimpses into their personal life and the various challenges and struggles they face on a daily basis. It Was The Music is a lovely journey of music, artistry, passion, love, and life. While some of the personal footage is usually compelling and often moving, the musical performances offer pure exaltation.
The series starts off a little slowly, but once it gets sure-footing after a few episodes, it takes off in some genuinely beautiful ways. In addition to the footage of Larry and Teresa, the series also features performances and interviews with other artists such as Roseanne Cash, Jackson Browne, Shawn Colvin, Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Lucinda Williams, and more. It Was The Music is a ten part series which began last Sunday, December 13, 2020 on Fans (https://fans.live). New episodes will debut every Sunday through February 7 (excluding January 3, followed by two episodes available on January 10). This is great musical series that I highly recommend, especially for fans of roots music. Huge fans of The Last Waltz will most definitely dig this show.