In 2014, filmmaker Martin Shore unleashed Take Me to the River, his documentary centering on the music of Memphis, Tennessee and the legendary Stax Records studio. Now, with Take Me to the River: New Orleans, Shore examines the culture and music of the Big Easy.
Take Me to the River: New Orleans follows legendary local performers as they mentor a younger generation of musicians. The film kicks off to a fun start as we see the great Irma Thomas and George Porter Jr. (The Meters, The Funky Meters) record with 2021 Grammy winner Ledisi. It really is adorable to see how star struck Ledisi is with her idol Thomas.
Shore also captures an exciting and ultimately poignant set with the four Neville Brothers, which turned out to be the last session for both Art and Charles before their passings.
The most sobering section of the documentary focuses on Hurricane Katrina, and how it fractured the music community in New Orleans. Many musicians were displaced during the storm and never came back.
The Katrina section is food for thought, but this is an upbeat and hopeful documentary. We see and hear the infectious joy of creating music, a new generation being introduced to great music, and we get brief histories of the Mardi Gras Indians and Brass Bands. It's all high energy and a hell of a lot of fun.
Featured in the film are Dr. John, G-Eazy, Snoop Dogg, William Bell, Galactic, Mannie Fresh, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Christian Scott, Donald Harrison, Big Freedia, Ani DiFranco, PJ Morton, Rebirth Brass Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Soul Rebels, Voice of the Wetlands, The Givers, Dumpstaphunk, Cheeky Blakk, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Big Sam, Terence Higgins, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Dee-1, Davell Crawford, and many others.
Take Me to the River: New Orleans opens exclusively at The Broad Theater on April 22.