British filmmakers Tim Plester and Rob Currie retrace the steps made in 1959 by Alan Lomax, the American ethnomusicologist who charted folk music in the South of the United States. This road movie and music documentary amalgamation traverses the back roads of the South, places often ignored by mainstream culture. Lomax, fresh from voluntary exile, set out on a mission to determine and document traditional American music’s roots. Accompanied by English folk singer Shirley Collins, the then-lovers set out to document the American folk experience. 60 years later, Plester and Curry search for echoes and traces of the fundamental recordings Lomax made on his travels with Collins.

Though their focus is the music, the film checks in on landscapes, communities, towns, and cultures that have or haven’t changed since ‘59. The documentary is clearly inspired by negative stereotypes that exist in the rest of the States and in Europe, with Plester and Curry hoping to see if these stereotypes have any truth to them whilst treading the path of Lomax and Collins. Unfortunately, in pursuit of this cross-examination of southern America and Americana, the film is too short to make any revelatory assertions to satisfy those with deeper curiosities about the South. However, the film should still appeal to those with a taste for American folk music and it does provide a surface-level glance at Trump-era America in places that feel forgotten.

Presenting a definite sense of a rich and vivid life on offer in the southern states, the film only scratches the surface of the often mocked southerners that Plester and Curry encounter. Whilst the music has a certain charm in its soft and nostalgic working-class sounds, it also captures a denial of a cruel, intolerant past.



CAST: Tim Plester, Rob Curry

DIRECTOR: Tim Plester, Rob Curry

SYNOPSIS: Revisiting the routes and roads trodden in 1959 by Alan Lomax and Shirley Collins, two British documentary makers search for echoes of American folk music in the South.