My story is all too familiar. These past few weeks have been typical for this time of year — complete mayhem. I suppose some things never change! Nonstop photo editing. Panicking over my lack of gift purchases. Feeling unhealthy because I ate too much over Thanksgiving but am too busy to work out. Fretting over the fact I haven’t done our Christmas cards. Horrific stomach viruses and Croup gone very wrong (see: ER visit). Good times, my friends. All that whining aside, sometimes, nay most times, something good will come out of something bad. Such is the case here…
As I’ve been dealing with a very sick toddler that only wants to be held and nursed 24/7, I’ve been subjected to what I call “forced relaxation.” Seeing as I barely sit down during the day, this is not my forté. So I had to find something to numb the pain of not getting those photos edited and all those gifts purchased. Enter that black box on my wall. Truthfully, I don’t watch a lot of television. I have a tendency to binge watch all my favorite shows, so I had to search around for something new this past week.
Thankfully, I discovered a docu-series on HBO called Sonic Highways. Produced by Dave Grohl, the show follows his band, the Foo Fighters, to 8 musically-renowned cities where they record a song for their latest album in a well-known recording studio. Dave calls it “a love letter to the history of American music.”
“You hear about different cultures around the world trying to preserve their history. Native Americans hand down stories from generation to generation. And you have museums all over the world preserving art and culture. I honestly believe we should be doing the same thing just with music. That’s what this place is all about.” — Dave Grohl
Isn’t that so true? Music is just as important in defining a culture as art or food, but it doesn’t always seem quite as tangible. Dave does an amazing job of bringing awareness to the way a city has been shaped by it’s musical scene. He draws out all of the best musicians, producers and record labels to hear their stories and evolution as artists. And just as importantly, he focuses on the places in which the music was performed in these 8 musical hubs and how the environment has influenced their music. Each episode unfolds a weaving of American Music History, the same cultural melting pot of different roots that have melded the relationship of people, place and time to create inspiration for generations. It’s truly fascinating.
While this series technically commemorates the Foo Fighters 20th Anniversary (How is this possible? I remember when the first album came out like it was yesterday! It’s one of my all time favorites…) and showcases them recording a new album, it truly doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of the band or not. It’s simply a history lesson that all Americans need to learn. But for fans, it’s really interesting to see their creative process. I love that they’re trying to do something different and challenging on this record. I had previewed the new album prior to watching this documentary and wasn’t totally sold on it. But after seeing all that was behind each song and how the lyrics relate to these cities and people, I started to get it.
These are the stories of our country and our people. They transcend race and religion, roots and time. And isn’t that what art is all about? I hope you’ll check it out. It’s truly worth watching.