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Film Reviews Andrew Slater’s Echo in the Canyon presents California’s epic folk-rock scene of 1965-67 with reverance

Members of Canadian-American rock band Buffalo Springfield.

Mirror Films

  • Echo in the Canyon
  • Directed by: Andrew Slater
  • Starring: Jakob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, Michelle Phillips, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne and Regina Spektor
  • Classification: PG; 90 minutes
  • Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

“We were putting good poetry on the radio – pop radio.” That’s David Crosby’s take on the seminal California folk-rock scene of 1965 to ’67, an era explained lovingly and with due reverence in the hashish-scented documentary Echo in the Canyon.

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We get the story from the people who were there – members of the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield predominantly – and those who came later. Interviews are conducted by Bob Dylan’s son Jakob Dylan, who is also featured in the recording studio, rehearsals and a 2015 tribute concert. That’s way too much Jakob Dylan.

David Crosby, left, with Bob Dylan’s son Jakob Dylan.

Mirror Films

The music’s evolution and crisscrossing pollination is explained well – Mr. Tambourine Man inspired Rubber Soul which influenced Pet Sounds which begat Sgt. Pepper’s – but why are we watching the randomly selected couch full of Cat Power, Regina Spektor and a catatonic Beck sift through old LPs?

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In a film about echoes, such Canyon-music descendants as Father John Misty and Devendra Banhart are noticeably absent. As is an interview with Neil Young, whose Buffalo Springfield epic dream song Expecting to Fly marked the end of an era that began with a 12-string yellow Rickenbacker and the line “In the jingle jangle morning, I’ll come followin’ you.”

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