Movie Details

This Land Was Made for You & Me follows the development of American roots music from the 1930s to the 1950s. During the '30s, a number of folklorists began collecting traditional music in field recordings. John and Alan Lomax "discovered" African-American folksinger Huddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, at Angola Penitentiary in 1933. Leadbelly's vast repertoire of original material convinced many that American traditions existed separately from European ones. Other folksingers began writing material from their own experiences. Woody Guthrie wrote about the Dust Bowl, labor unrest, and migrant workers as he traveled throughout Depression-era America. After WWII, new roots genres grew rapidly. Ernest Tubb spread the gospel of honky tonk, while the meteoric career of Hank Williams wrote a new chapter on how to "live fast and die young." Mountain music also evolved after the war when Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs married high-lonesome vocals to speedy banjo picking to create bluegrass. This Land Was Made for You & Me includes footage of Woody Guthrie, Lefty Frizzell, and a rare color clip of a Leadbelly performance. There are also interviews with Merle Haggard, Sam Phillips, and Kitty Wells. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi