Lydia Loveless Doc Comes Home for the Holidays

Hope Madden Hope Madden Lydia Loveless Doc Comes Home for the Holidays
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Who is Lydia Loveless? Ohio’s answer to indie punk alt country? Lucinda Williams meets Patti Smith? None of the above?

Gorman Bechard’s documentary seeks to shed some light on the query. The longtime documentarian (who also directed 1987’s Psychos in Love, so, thank you) has a knack for raw intimacy that translates well to Loveless’s sound and fury.

The title serves a dual purpose. On the surface, it’s an invitation to the larger world to discover this remarkable talent. But thematically the doc uses this question, repeated consistently throughout conversations, to uncover the kind of personal truths Loveless’s own self-searching lyrics attempt to unveil.

Hardly a Behind the Music-style vision of the meteoric rise and tragic fall that earmarks so many rock docs, Gorman’s film documents an artist in the making. We’re privy to the fascinatingly workaday world of a touring rock and roll band.

Yes, we spend a bit of time on the childhood that fostered the talent, the early days in the music industry alongside family, and we’re introduced to each bandmate. But the most interesting moments are those spent talking with Loveless about the mundane realities of her job: the personal and financial violation of piracy, contending with mindlessly sexist journalists, and simply the business realities of a touring indie band.

Live footage showcases the bold vocals, strong musicianship and fascinating disarray of her performances, while quieter moments uncover a fascinating mixture of heartbreak, chaos, tenderness and self-reflection.

Bechard’s film varies wildly from other rock docs because it does not look back with an established band, but forward with an artist committed to craft more than to success. With few moments of exception (a brief animated bit adds little and a sidetrack into recent personal tragedy feels forced), the rough-hewn portrait suits the subject.

Who Is Lydia Loveless? is available on DVD via Amazon Friday, November 24. Order your copy HERE.

Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF and listen to her movie podcasts THE SCREENING ROOM and FRIGHT CLUB.

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