The legend of Nashville’s music community is known world-wide, it’s birthed some iconic artists and songs but with how many of your favourite songs, can you name the songwriter? We all hum their tunes, we know their words by heart, yet few of us actually know their names. Directed by Chusy, featuring artists such as Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Kacey Musgraves, Brad Paisley and more.
This is a film that opens with great quick cuts that almost give you a sneak peak of what’s to come, a very quick telling of the unbelievable songs that these songwriters penned, the ultimate name drops in the world of music. The other thing the film does quite quickly is punch you with nostalgia, with a whole host of visuals detailing the early days of Nashville’s rise to legendary status, it’s hard not to be drawn in. Each time that the documentary introduces you to another songwriter, they don’t just list the titles of their songs under their name, they allow the information to come through naturally, talking about the journey to get to the song and before long you start to realise what it is and it’s a really natural and interesting way to get to the heart of the story, rather than just telling you point blank.
One of the great things about the experience of watching this film is that it’s wall to wall people who are dedicated to music, they’ve spent their entire lives striving to create it and give it to listeners to enjoy, relate to and fall in love with it. There’s an intoxicating or even infectious quality to hearing people so devoted talk about their passion, you can feel the abundance of creativity vibrating from the screen. It’s also fascinating to dive into their process, each person has a different way of writing and a different method of how a song comes to them, whether it be starting with a title or finding it in a dream. There’s simply pure joy that radiates from these artists, resulting from hard work, motivation and a never ending deep appreciation of music. Moving on to talking about working with a partner, it delves into something that’s so intimate and open but takes place between such different people and watching them together, they’re all full of life.
At a certain point, it does feel slightly like it’s a lot of the same despite how interesting the stories are, because even though the style is well suited to the film, it is unfortunately a little repetitive. However, it does add a more youthfulness to the talking head style, with a strong energy and as it nears its end, things take a much more emotional turn, delving into how a song can have a significant meaning and how something that means a lot can turn into a song. Most people will be able to relate to a song or artist having been a support at a difficult time, or different songs that they turn to in different moods, music has unlimited possibilities but when it really hits home, it can be something special and you get a really great example of that in the film’s final chapter.
Nashville has given the world some of the biggest musical hits to have ever graced the soundwaves and It All Begins with a Song gives a peak behind the curtain at the people responsible, as well as a huge reminder that they don’t get the appreciation that they deserve. Documentaries have had a massive resurgence in recent years, they’ve broken a crack into the window of mainstream and we’re getting such a bigger variety and for anyone who thinks docs are stuffy or stale, this is a great example to jump into because it’s full of energy and creativity. It was great to have some more familiar faces mixed in with the artists working their asses off behind the scenes to give the whole picture of a song from start to finish but really, it’s more interesting to hear the stories of the people you probably hadn’t heard of before. It’s captivating, fascinating and has an infectious creative energy, it’s a really positive experience watching so many people who dedicated their lives to what they love.