Club 47 was an iconic Cambridge, Mass., folk music center, and it’s gotten the documentary treatment with “For the Love of the Music: The Club 47 Folk Music Revival.” Directed by Todd Kwait and Rob Stegman and narrated by actor Peter Coyote, the film traces the club’s influence and inspiration on a host of folk music artists from 1958 to 1968.
Featuring interviews with Joan Baez, Taj Mahal, Maria Muldaur, Jim Rooney and Peter Rowan-as well as a handful of other folk luminaries-“For the Love of the Music” also reveals unreleased photos and recordings of Bob Dylan, Baez and Eric Von Schmidt. The still-performing musicians who called Club 47 home come together in the film with a number of modern folk artists to perform a selection of their own songs.
The soundtrack to the documentary features artists such as Hayley Reardon, Tom Rush and Tim Eriksen, who all perform songs that would have been heard on any given night at Club 47 in its prime. Due out April 1 via Kingswood Records, these songs can be heard throughout the film-though some are simply “inspired by” Club 47 and the artists who frequented it. The DVD and Blu-ray will also be available that day.
For their duet together, producer/guitarist Jim Rooney and bluegrass musician Peter Rowan tackle the traditional folk song “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues.” Originally written by Cliff Hess in 1924 and performed as “Blue Ridge Blues” by George Reneau and Gene Austin, the song chronicles the gradual despair of a man who has moved away from his home in “Caroline” and sees the Blue Ridge Mountains as his salvation. The beautiful simplicity of the song lies in the way in which Rooney’s and Rowan’s raw, honest voices roll so casually over their gracefully picked and plucked guitars. It’s a simple song made powerful by the honesty and emotional rawness of the lyrics-not to mention the weight of 90 years of musical history that lay across its shoulders.
Stream “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues” below.