"Celebrating the Magic of the Music"
What You Need To Know:
The concert footage is spectacular and a wonder to behold. Dylan is an engaging, in-depth interviewer whose own musical career inspires fascinating and funny revelations from his interview subjects. ECHO IN THE CANYON has a strong Romantic worldview with pagan elements as the stars sing some songs and discuss their younger hedonistic lives. However, the movie’s focus is mostly on the creative process and the magic of the music.
ECHO IN THE CANYON is a documentary about the famed folk-rock scene of the Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles in the late 1960s and the influence that the music of bands like The Byrds, Beach Boys, and the Mamas and the Papas had on future generations of rock musicians. ECHO IN THE CANYON has a strong Romantic worldview with pagan elements as the stars sing some songs and discuss their younger hedonistic lives, with discretion, but the movie’s focus is mostly on the creative process and the magic of the music.
The documentary is the brainchild of former Capitol Records CEO Andrew Slater and rock singer Jakob Dylan, the son of Bob Dylan who was a star in the 1990s himself as leader of the band The Wallflowers. Dylan engages numerous figures from the Laurel Canyon music scene’s 1960s heyday including Jackson Browne, the members of The Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Mamas and the Papas, and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, as they recount what inspired their music and perform some of their greatest tunes.
Between the many interviews, Dylan is seen leading an assortment of old and younger star musicians as they gather to rehearse and sometimes record cover versions of the classic rock songs. However, they are mainly building up to staging an epic Los Angeles concert featuring the songs, and the resulting performance footage is often a wonder to behold.
The interviews are mostly profanity-free and tasteful despite the occasional discussions of promiscuous affairs and illegal drug usage. The focus mostly remains on the creative process and spirit, resulting in a movie that discusses adult subject matter but can be enjoyed by mature teenagers as well as adults.
The concert footage is spectacular and inspires a terrific soundtrack album of the same name. Dylan is an engaging and in-depth interviewer whose own musical career inspires fascinating and funny revelations from his interview subjects. Due to some foul language and the discussion of illicit sex and drugs, ECHO IN THE CANYON merits extreme caution. That said, the general feel of the movie is pleasantly nostalgic, with the focus squarely placed on the magic of the music.