Thanks to fans old and new for supporting me and my film, Beautiful Thing, and thanks for supporting Larry Keel!
I made Larry Keel Beautiful Thing because I was entranced by the man and the music. I set out to make an honest documentary about Larry- the music, the road, the struggle and the beauty that emerged every time he plays.
I followed Larry from 2002 through 2003, from Virginia to Asheville to New Orleans to San Francisco, all through Georgia and the Carolinas. At the time he was consistently filling good venues on the east coast and through the south, but as the film shows, having a difficult time taking his precise acoustic performances and non-traditional style outside of known venues.
The film documents a transitional period in Larry's career, and I came to believe the transition was a result of the struggle I was able to capture a piece of. While I followed him, Larry grew out of an acoustic-only philosophy and as we wrapped filming on the year-in-the-life, he was just beginning to embrace "plugging-in."
The film was released in 2004 at Merlefest. We are still the first and (I think) only film to play Merlefest, which is a huge honor. That was five years ago, which is hard to believe. But the film was meant to be a window into Larry's life and career, something that would serve as a document as much as a film.
Imagine if someone could have followed John Hartford around for a year early in his career. It's not a direct parallel, but I think the point is that as Larry's music evolves, so will the meaning of the film, I hope. As younger generations discover Larry- through his albums or downloaded live shows- I hope the film will serve as a reference point. It's fascinating to me to see the roots of legend, not just the legend.
Over the next few months I'll be uploading all kinds of unused performance footage and hopefully some behind the scenes stuff. Check my Beautiful Thing blog for updates.
I feel truly lucky to have been able to witness Larry's life on the road, behind the scenes, at home and at every great venue along the way. The struggle was profound, but most importantly, the music was always beautiful.
You can buy the film on DVD and for digital download here: on Amazon.com and of course here: Homegrownmusic.net