American Masters: Joan Baez: How Sweet The Sound
Airs Wednesday, October 14 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV
Friday, October 9, 2009
In the first comprehensive documentary to chronicle the private life and public career of Joan Baez, this film examines her history as a recording artist and performer as well as her unwavering journey as the conscience of a generation. Following her 2008/2009 world tour, the filmmakers captured Baez in performance and in intimate conversations with individuals whose lives parallel hers. From a reunion with Vaclav Havel in Slovakia to a stop in Sarajevo, Bosnia, to revisit the scene of her trip to the war-torn city, to Nashville, Tennessee, where she joined Steve Earle (collaborator on Baez’ 2008 Grammy-nominated album "Day After Tomorrow"), the film allows viewers an unprecedented level of access to Baez, who is joined in the film by Bob Dylan, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Reverend Jesse Jackson, among others.
Rich archival footage is woven into the story, allowing viewers to experience scenes from her life, including Baez as a teenager performing at the historic Club 47, Martin Luther King Jr. outside a California prison where he offered his support after she was jailed for staging a protest and her controversial visit to North Vietnam during the war. The grit of the film is Baez’ power as a musician, from her tentative teenage years in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, coffee houses to the remarkable 50-year career that followed.
Related: watch Joan Baez perform her rendition of Pete Seeger’s classic “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” for the crowd at Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday Celebration at Madison Square Garden, presented by "GREAT PERFORMANCES."