While some successful blues acts sell out arenas and tour around the world, many of the best blues artists remain relatively unknown, playing in small clubs or, in some cases, just in their own yards. Filmmaker Robert Mugge and music scholar Robert Palmer take an enthusiastic look at these lesser-known blues artists, showcasing incredible music from talented players who have never been signed to major labels and generally have not received the recognition they have deserved.
- "As much an act of preservation as investigation, Deep Blues features priceless performance footage, including the first official recording of Junior Kimbrough (the influential bluesman who wouldn't release an album until 1992), an informal session with R.L. Burnside, and a raucous barroom number by Jessie Mae Hemphill. Palmer and Mugge do a remarkable job capturing both the music and the world from which it comes, and in guitarist and diddley-bow player Lonnie Pitchford, they also find evidence of the music's continual regeneration."
- "Loaded with performance and history, "Deep Blues" is deep indeed."
- "Palmer serves as our tour guide ... and we could not want for a better host. His extensive knowledge and insight dwells not just on the facts and details of the music and its creators. Sure, he brims with pure historical information but his real gift is his nearly-anthropological commentary that ties this music into its Delta milieu and its African sources and its American spirit. In this he is aided by filmmaker Mugge, whose camera is invariably pointed in the right place, catching the little things, the inflections and reactions, a sort of filmmaking call and response. "
- "An expert, guided tour of those areas of the Deep South where old-time blues music flourishes, the film visits backwoods juke joints and urban honky-tonks where the music, often performed with antiquated technology, lives on as an everyday expression of people's lives."
- "Robert Mugge's "Deep Blues" is a movie no blues lover, no popular music aficionado, and no devotee of American culture and folkways should miss. It's a genuine document, deep and earthy; a peek into our national soul."
Awards & Recognition
Grand Jury Prize
Sundance Film Festival