Of all the instruments that have professed their sonic praise of America, the electric guitar’s hosannas ring the closest. Why is this? Precisely what is it about this instrument that makes it so comfortable to our country’s musicians?
Filmmaker Robert Radler and The Arlook Group bring Turn it Up!: A Celebration of the Electric Guitar to Nashville audiences looking for the answer. Narrated by Kevin Bacon and making quick noshes through interview footage of guitar gods like as Slash, B.B. King, John 5, and Jeff Baxter, those not fluent in the language of music get a translator to its divine language and see how the cosmos speak through the guitar and player, sharing a sacred message with a mass audience. This is a film that constantly changes it up. The quick noshes of depth are great, such as the carnalized body of the electric guitar or the variation of sounds that change from player to player. If you’re intrigued by the subject matter, it can be frustrating to see such great questions asked without longer answers. Lone topics like the history of guitar production, certain models of the electric guitar, and the Gibson/Fender rivalry could pack out their own mini-series. The flip-side of this coin is that there’s always forward motion. Over Two hundred hours and eight years of production produce a pretty wide blast radius to cover enough interests that Turn It Up! speaks to the tourist and the troubadour at different parts of the film.
The documentary is definitely a sales pitch, and not just for the electric guitar. It’s selling you a small piece of the American dream and the means to pursue it.
Turn it Up!: A Celebration of the Electric Guitar will air on Thursday, December 10 at 8p.m. Film will be released on DVD and blueray, January 22. For further information about the documentary, including the opportunity to purchase a copy and see additional interviews and other content, visit the film’s website http://www.loudandlouder.com. The full lineup of NPT’s programming schedule can be found via www.npt.org.