Life comes at ya fast. Who would’ve thought we’d all be stuck in the house just as spring is turning the corner. Nothing we can do but make the best of it, and try to make it interesting, right? So instead of encouraging you to go out, I’m asking you to stay in and collectively get a music education together, while enjoying the best of American music from the comfort of our homes!
Here are my picks for great music documentaries to watch from home:
Pro tip: At least check out all the trailers. You may be surprised which genre speaks to you!
1. Brainiac: Transmissions After Zero - [$1.99 RENTAL]
If you’re a true Dayton music fan or are even remotely curious about one of Dayton’s most exciting eras, you have to watch this documentary. This feature length film chronicles the story of Dayton icon Tim Taylor, and how Brainiac leaped from Dayton to the national spotlight, to become one of the most seminal bands from the 1990’s.
Must See for: Alternative / Rock Fans, or anyone interested in Dayton musc history.
More info at the film’s website: https://brainiacfilm.com/
How to Watch: I found it on Amazon Rental for $1.99
2. Muscle Shoals - TUBI [FREE]
Muscle Shoals is the name of a small Alabama town which became the unlikely breeding ground for America’s best music in the 1960’s. FAME Studios evolved into a musical mecca, where artists of all varieties visited to bring out the best in their sound, including Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Wilson Pickett, The Rolling Stones, U2, among many others.
Must See for: R&B/Classic Rock Fans, or anyone interested in recording history.
More info at the film’s website: http://www.muscleshoalsthemovie.com/
How to Watch: I found it free here: https://tubitv.com/movies/507408/
Check back next week for more at-home entertainment suggestions! Until then, stay well my friends.
3. Festival Express - TUBI [FREE]
Festival Express is a personal favorite of mine. One tiny, magical scene where Jerry Garcia confesses to Janis Joplin that he’s loved her since “he first saw her.” This film documents the hangover from Woodstock: an extended train journey across the heart of Canada. It’s a wild ride with the 1960’s most colorful characters.
Must See for: Jam, Improv, Psychedelic / Classic Rock Fans. All Hippies and Weirdos.
How to Watch: I found it free here: https://tubitv.com/movies/257206/festival_express
4. Country Music: A Film By Ken Burns - PBS [some episodes may require membership]
This unexpected staycation is the perfect time to catch up on Ken Burns’ latest documentary mini-series, which details the history of country music. Even if you’re not a country music fan, the story, songs, and unforgettable characters, create a truly American story that’s worth learning about!
Must See for: Country / Bluegrass Fans, and anyone interested in American history.
Watch and get more info on PBS here: https://www.pbs.org/show/country-music/
5. Hip Hop Evolution - NETFLIX [membership]
This multi-season dives deep into the evolution of America’s latest musical invention: Hip Hop. From the 70’s through 00’s, through controversy, censorship, and a deadly coastal competition, this series is a “frank, fascinating history of a music genre and culture shift” says Dana Villamagna from Common Sense Media.
Must See for: Hip-Hop / Rap Fans, and anyone interested in African-American history.
Watch here for Netflix members: https://www.netflix.com/title/80141782
6. Echo in the Canyon - NETFLIX [membership]
There are certain pockets of time and place that contain an inexplicable yet undeniable sense of magic. Echoes in the Canyon is encapsules one such bubble of perfection that had massive ripple effects: the mid-1960s, when Hollywood's Laurel Canyon was a creative nexus for young, innovative musicians like The Beach Birds, Buffalo Springfield, The Yardbirds, The Byrds, The Mamas & The Papas, Tom Petty, and many more!
Must See for: Classic Rock fans and anyone looking for a feel good, date-night flick!
Watch here for Netflix members: https://www.netflix.com/title/81034741
7. Birth of Cool (Miles Davis) — NETFLIX [membership]
I remember the exact moment I fell in love with Miles Davis. I was first listening to his masterpiece, Kind of Blue, and was absolutely hooked. Birth of Cool peels back Davis’ enigmatic image, and explores the inspirations and flaws of one of America’s most prolific and creative musical artists.
Must See for: Jazz fans, or anyone who was touched by Miles Davis’ music.
Watch here for Netflix members: https://www.netflix.com/title/80227122
Your Dayton Music Insider,