Watch Billy Mize and The Bakersfield Sound
- 1 hr 38 min
Billy Mize and The Bakersfield Sound is a charming documentary about the life and music career of Billy Mize, a country music singer and guitarist who played a pivotal role in developing the unique sound of Bakersfield, California in the 1950s and 1960s. The film explores not only Mize's life and legacy, but also the rich history of the Bakersfield Sound, which was a rebellion against the polished and slick Nashville sound that dominated the country music industry at the time.
The film is centered on Mize, a charismatic and talented musician who got his start on television in the 1950s as the host of the popular variety show Cousin Herb's Trading Post. Mize's easygoing manner and natural musical ability soon made him a sought after performer on the Bakersfield scene, where he played with such legendary musicians as Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. The film includes interviews with many of Mize's contemporaries and collaborators, including Willie Nelson, Ray Price, and Rose Maddox.
Through their memories and anecdotes, we learn about what made the Bakersfield Sound unique. Unlike the highly produced and orchestrated sound of Nashville, the Bakersfield Sound was all about simplicity and rawness. The musicians of Bakersfield played with a ferocity and intensity that had not been seen before in country music, and they favored a stripped-down sound that emphasized the twang of the guitar and the emotion of the lyrics. It was a style that was perfectly suited to the working-class sensibilities of the people in the Central Valley of California, who identified with songs about hardship, heartbreak, and the simple pleasures of life.
The film also delves into Mize's personal life, including his struggles with health problems and the tragic loss of his son in a car accident. Through it all, Mize remained a consummate performer, always striving to bring joy and inspiration to his audience through his music. The film shows us footage of Mize playing in venues both large and small, from the Grand Ole Opry to local honky-tonks, and his passion for his craft is evident in every note he plays.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Billy Mize and The Bakersfield Sound is the way it captures the spirit of a particular time and place in American music history. The film shows us the Bakersfield music scene as it was in the 1950s and 1960s, with all of its rough edges and colorful characters. It takes us on a journey through the development of a musical style that would have a profound influence on the country music of today. And it does it all with warmth, humor, and a deep reverence for the power of music to bring people together.
Overall, Billy Mize and The Bakersfield Sound is a delightful and insightful documentary that will appeal to anyone who loves country music or is interested in the cultural history of America. With its combination of fascinating interviews, rare archival footage, and beautiful musical performances, it offers a rich and rewarding experience for viewers of all ages. Whether you're a longtime fan of Billy Mize or simply curious about the Bakersfield Sound, this film is a must-see.
Billy Mize and The Bakersfield Sound is a 2014 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 38 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.9.