Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel

June 22, 2006

A Film By Gandulf Hennig

Guitarist/singer/songwriter Gram Parsons attained legendary status in the late ’60s as the country-music visionary who pushed the Byrds into making their revolutionary Sweetheart of the Rodeo album. Parsons went on to further pursue “country rock” with the Flying Burrito Brothers, and he later brought Emmylou Harris to national attention with his own band, the Fallen Angels. However, despite these accomplishments relatively little is known about Parsons himself, who died

at age 26 in 1973. Now, this superb DVD directed by Gandulf Henning tells the story of Parson’s life through the words of those who knew him, including family members, bandmates (including Chris Hillman, Emmylou Harris, James Burton, and Bernie Leadon), ex-manager Phil Kaufman, former wife Gretchen Parsons Carpenter, and close friend Keith Richards. Their tales of Parsons’ personal and professional triumphs and tragedies provide rare insight into his tumultuous life, and viewers are also treated to a treasure of music, photos, and footage of live performances that document Parsons’ career highs and lows with the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, as well as his solo projects. What emerges is a portrait of a talented but troubled artist who served primarily as a catalyst in the merging of country and rock. For what it’s worth, without Gram Parsons, there probably wouldn’t have been an Eagles. (Rhino Home Video).

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