Middlebury Filmmaker to Show
Documentary About Iowa Singer/Songwriter Greg Brown on Nov.
Event is Free and Open to the
“When I was a kid, we had
prayer meetings every Wednesday night, Friday night,
Sunday morning, and Sunday night.
Our church was all white and the black Baptist
church was about two blocks down
the street. The windows were open on those hot
summer nights and it seemed almost
like a dialogue. Wed sing a song and then,
coming from down the street,
Id hear the Baptists singing it.”
Tunes,” a documentary about singer/songwriter Greg Brown, will be
shown Sunday, Nov. 12 at 3 p.m. in Middlebury Colleges Twilight
Auditorium, on College Street (Route 125 near Municipal Building).
The screening, which lasts 60 minutes, is free and open to the
public. Jeffrey Ruoff, the producer/director, will be present for a
discussion afterwards. This screening has been scheduled in
anticipation of Greg Browns sold out live performances at the
After Dark Music Series in Middlebury on Nov. 12 and 13.
“Hacklebarney Tunes” tells the story
of a singer/songwriter from southern Iowa whose grandparents were
folk musicians from Appalachia. The son of an itinerant preacher,
Greg Brown grew up in small towns across the Midwest. In the early
1980s, he performed weekly on
National Public Radio with Garrison
Keillor on “A Prairie Home Companion.” As Keillor states in the film,
“Greg has this Midwestern fundamentalist background that we spent a
lot of time discussing, usually as we sat on my porch drinking
whiskey and smoking unfiltered cigarettes.”
Today, despite an international
reputation, Brown still lives in Iowa City, performing at local
taverns and maintaining strong ties to his community. His music is
eclectic in nature, but deeply rooted in traditional American styles
of country, blues, folk, and gospel.
“Hacklebarney Tunes” has a strong
regional flavor, featuring musicians and critics from Iowa and
Minnesota. In addition to live concert performances and informal jam
sessions, we see a religious service at the rural fundamentalist
church Brown attended as a child, go fishing with Greg, and visit
Earlville, the town of 700 where his formative teenage years were
spent. Music critics from the Utne Reader and other publications
place his art in the context of American musical styles. Numerous
songs are featured from Browns eclectic work, including “Canned
Goods” and “Laughing River,” as well as such classics as “Pretty Boy
Floyd” and “Lost Highway.”
“Hacklebarney Tunes” was
independently produced with grants from the Jerome Foundation, the
National Endowment for the Arts, the Iowa Humanities Board, the Iowa
Arts Council, and KTCA-TV in St. Paul. Jeffrey Ruoff is a film
historian, documentary filmmaker, and member of the film/video
department at Middlebury College. For more information about the
screening, please contact Ruoff at 802-443-3244.
Graphics Available: A
black and white photo of Jeffrey Ruoff and a color graphic with the
films title are both available via e-mail. For images, contact
Sarah Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Producer/director Jeffrey Ruoff
is available to speak in advance with critics
about the film. VHS preview copies of
the film are available for review.
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