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Composer Rollo Raphael unearths music from the world of film and video.


Mythological dream-like documentary film Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus (2003) gives us a front seat in Jim Whites 1970’s Chevy as he takes the viewer on a road trip around America’s gun-toting, god loving, and musically gifted rural South. Before setting off, the singer-songwriter proclaims “you need to ride a car, you can’t turn up in some Land Rover or Lexus and expect poor folks to tell you what’s in their hearts”… Sure enough, White proves this statement true, as each time he pulls the Chevy off the highway we meet a host of fascinating characters. 

Poets, musicians and everyday folks tell their stories and sing their songs in gloriously choreographed set pieces which, while blurring film genre lines, the camera seamlessly transitions into. Within the first 10 minutes we are treated to a performance by The Handsome Family performing their gothic laden Americana on the porch of a fully submerged house poking irretrievably out of Louisiana’s flood plains. Along with performances by Jim White himself feature a plethora of the very best artists in the Americana world, including Johnny Dowd, 16 Horsepower and David Eugene Edwards.

You can smell the diners, feel the rust and taste the late night whiskies in what must be one of the most intimate and surreal yet vivid portraits of the American South this side of the millennium. Jim White puts it well when he states; “Some people say the South is a state of mind. The South is more than a state of mind, it’s an atmosphere.”

Listen to Jim White’s Still Waters as featured in Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus…

Available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.

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