Singer-songwriter & executive producer Jakob Dylan (The Wallflowers) and director & former label man Andrew Slater have crafted a loving homage to one of my favorite era's of music. The physical area of Los Angeles known as Laurel Canyon became the epicenter of folk-rock aka the "California Sound" and was home to some of the best and biggest recording acts of the mid-'60s. The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Mamas & The Papas, Arthur Lee's Love (conspicuously missing from the film), it was quite the scene. In fact, many point to Roger McGuinn and The Byrds for ushering in the genre, though The Beatles (George Harrison) used 12-string guitars on the mid-'60s tunes. Regardless, McGuinn took Bob Dylan's epic folk tale "Mr. Tamborine Man" and with his trusty 3-pickup Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar out front and center there was no looking back. That clean jingle jangle sound would become a cornerstone of folk-rock forever. According to Slater:
"The thread for the film is really more about the echo than it is about the Canyon -- the echo of these artists' ideas, and how their own creativity reverberated between the houses in the Canyon, and ultimately across to England where it changes the course of the Beatles."
Echo in the Canyon contains candid conversations and performances with Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, David Crosby, John Sebastian, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Michelle Phillips, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, and Roger McGuinn as well as contemporary musicians they influenced such as Tom Petty (in his very last film interview), Cat Power, Beck, Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, and Regina Spektor. Framed by an Echo concert that Jakob organized in 2015 with many of the contemporary musicians mentioned above, much of the performance footage from that concert is interspersed throughout the doc. While offering proof of the timeless staying power of those tunes -- though I prefer the originals -- Laurel Canyon's musical heritage continues to reverberate today! You can sort out movie tickets here.