Hear Music/Concord Music Group is pleased to present the release of a captivating new feature-length documentary film, Troubadours - Carole King - James Taylor - The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter. Directed by multiple-Grammy® nominee Morgan Neville (Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, Muddy Waters Can't Be Satisfied, Johnny Cash's America, the Emmy-winning Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues) and produced by the Oscar-nominated Eddie Schmidt ("The Film Is Not Yet Rated" and "Twist of Faith"), Troubadours is a first-hand account of the genesis and blossoming of the 1970s singer-songwriter movement, centering on the historic collaboration between James Taylor and Carole King and the Troubadour, the famed West Hollywood venue that nurtured the community of gifted young artists and soon-to-be critical and commercial sensations. Troubadours - Carole King - James Taylor - The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter will make its world premiere in the U.S. Documentary competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The special 2-Disc DVD/CD package will be released on March 1st, 2011 and features the full 90-minute Troubadours documentary on DVD along with a 10-track bonus audio disc of choice '70s-era classics such as Carole King's "It's Too Late", James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James", Elton John's "Take Me To The Pilot", Bonnie Raitt's "Love Has No Pride", Linda Ronstadt's "Desperado", Warren Zevon's "Poor Poor Pitiful Me", Tom Wait's "Ol ‘55" and Little Feat's "Dixie Chicken" among others. Troubadours national broadcast premiere will be Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings) as part of the 25th anniversary season of the extraordinary American Masters series. Encore presentations will air on PBS stations as part of special programming throughout March. Watch the trailer and more at pbs.org/americanmasters.
The narrative begins in the'60s, with Carole King and Gerry Goffin writing their now-iconic songs in Manhattan's 1650 Broadway hit factory, and James Taylor concurrently emerging as a folksinger/songwriter. The locale then shifts westward to L.A.'s Laurel Canyon, the breeding ground for the burgeoning singer-songwriter community, and to Doug Weston's Troubadour, where the King/Taylor partnership begins to blossom and a close-knit crew of future legends-including Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, Eagles and Elton John-performs on the small stage and holds court in the Troubadour bar, the epicenter of the action.
The story is told through archival footage, much of it never before seen, intercut with the vivid recollections and incisive reflections of a wide-ranging cast of characters. Along with Carole and James, contributors include fellow writer/artists David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Chris Darrow, Kris Kristofferson, J.D. Souther and Elton John; Taylor's former manager and producer, music impresario Peter Asher; the one-time head of Ode Records and producer of Carole King's Tapestry,Lou Adler; musicians Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, Craig Doerge and Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar (Taylor's childhood friend and King's bandmate in The City); songwriters Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and (King collaborator) Toni Stern; rock critics Robert Hilburn (who covered the scene as Los Angeles Times' pop music critic), Barney Hoskyns (author of the So Cal music histories Waiting for the Sun and Hotel California) and Robert Christgau; Troubadour denizens Cheech & Chong and Steve Martin; photographer/musician Henry Diltz; and King's daughter Sherry Goffin Kondor.
Touching on the scene's birth, King says early in the film, "When we sprang out of the box there was just all this generational turbulence, cultural turbulence, and there was a hunger for the intimacy, the personal thing that we did."
Browne provides a further explanation for the singer-songwriter phenomenon: "Maybe what it was is that people who wrote their own songs were in ascendance. The authenticity of somebody telling their own story was what people were interested in."
Taylor and King first performed together at the Troubadour in November 1970. Thirty-seven years later, in November 2007, the two longtime friends and sometime musical partners, joined by members of their renowned original band featuring guitarist Kortchmar, bassist Sklar and drummer Kunkel, returned to the Troubadour for a three-night, six-show run to celebrate thevenue's 50th anniversary. Those historic shows, documented in Hear Music/Concord Music Group's RIAA gold-certified Live at the Troubadour and broadcast on PBS, now serve as the connecting thread of the documentary Troubadours, which makes extensive use of striking footage shot for the earlier package by Emmy-winning video director Martyn Atkins. Neville's film beautifully captures the vital early days, the poignant homecoming and the subsequent "Troubadour Reunion" world tour, forming a comprehensive and unforgettable portrait of L.A.'s singer-songwriter golden age.