Sunday, June 30, 2013

Movie Review: New Documentary Shows How To Survive In "Musicwood"

The music documentary, “Musicwood” tells the story, through interviews and performances, as to how important the trees are to the world of music, specifically acoustic guitars. The film premiered on June 15 at the Bonnaroo Music Festival and will make its way around the country, being shown at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival and the Newport Folk Festival.

The film was directed by Maxine Trump (Silent Life) and takes you on an adventure to the beautiful northern state of Alaska were some of the greatest guitar makers in the world (Bob Taylor, Chris Martin and Dave Berryman) are on a quest to save the Sitka Spruce trees. Known for their fine even texture and durability, the Sitka Spruce are disappearing at a great rate, due to Native American loggers clearing huge strips of land. This documentary shows how important these trees are, not only for the exquisite instruments it is used for, but also for the survival of the Alaskan rainforest.

The film begins with a little history lesson on how some of these classic guitars are made and how important the right materials are that create some of these outstanding acoustic guitars. Then, it moves on to show how Greenpeace have tried to stop the destruction of this rainforest. Within the story are little breaks of inspiration as musicians such as Yo La Tengo, Turn Brakes and Kaki King give their insight as to why they love these types of guitars and through these breaks we get some outstanding music interludes that are just wonderful to listen to.

As the three guitar makers journey to Alaska, you begin to get a sense of the devastation that is happening to one of the premier areas of the world. But as much as the land is being wiped of its natural resource, the land owners are using this resource as their only form of income. So the highlight of the film becomes the compromise between all groups as to a plan to utilize what is left.

While visually the movie is very moving, you don’t fully appreciate the guitar maker’s journey without the music fulfilling the emotions of the scenery. The soundtrack could definitely stand on its own, but with the visuals of this documentary, you will from this point on appreciate the resources that are put into the creation of these amazing musical instruments.

To find out more about “Musicwood,” please visit

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