boots.gif

Hey y’all-

So I went and saw the movie about everyone’s favorite pill-poppin’, wine-drinkin’ cowboy the other day (called Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel). Y’all know the Gram Parsons story already–anyone who’s worth their salt does–but yeehaw! is it worth a trip to your local the-a-ter. For those who don’t know, Gram is often credited as the “father of alt country,” and–even though I hate shit like that–it’s not without reason. He was one of the first to show the world that country music wasn’t just a relic waiting to die drunk and sad in the gutter along with the toothless hillbillies who sang it. He took the roots music he grew up with and turned it into a perfect union with the impossibly cool rock star he couldn’t help but become. Throw in a few pounds of addiction to every chemical on the planet, and you’ve got a pretty good picture of the music and legend Gram left behind.

Seeing interviews with his family, friends, former band members and other rockers you may have heard of (e.g. keith richards, steve earle) gave me–I think–a much more real and definitely less enchanted vision of who he was. In the end, he was a brilliant songwriter, a natural born star, a trust-fund baby, a fantastic addict, and not much more.

gram-parsons.jpg

The movie conspicuously glosses over some of the drama in his life (did he get down with Emmylou or not? I guess that part’ll be in the special features on the DVD. I mean, come on. Of course he did.). But lucky for us, he went through enough lusty, crazy, tragic shit to fill 103 minutes with a classic tale of American rock ‘n roll.

My recommendation: Sneak in a bottle of Old Crow or cheap-as-hell red wine and raise one for a great, troubled man.

Highlights:

A video he cut singing (if I recall) “Hot Burrito #1” with some utterly fabulous sunglasses action.

Story of the Flying Burrito Brothers’ cross-country train trip.

Footage of Gram dinking around with the Rolling Stones, and the live footage of him performing with a young Emmylou are pretty heart-breaking.

The story of Grand Theft Parsons. I knew this story before, but seeing it described by the people who pulled it off was endlessly entertaining. And the back-and-forth juxtaposition of the telling of that story with Gram’s family members asking “Are these people fucking insane?” is priceless. Yes, they most clearly are. But their drug-addled hearts were in the right place. None of us would’ve wanted Gram to ping.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?