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For several local musicians, a highlight experience was getting to meet and jam with one of the greatest and most influential country/jazz guitarists of the period between the late 1940's to the mid 1960's. The too-short but trail-blazing career of Cowpens, S.C. native Hank Garland is a compelling story now being told in a new movie making the festival rounds. It will be screened on July 25 at our sister festival, the “Real to Reel International Film Festival" at the Joy Theater in Kings Mountain.( www.realtoreelfest.com
). A festival brochure is available at the Cleveland County Arts Council.
Note: musicians who knew Hank and his music will play at the post-festival party on Saturday night at the Joy.
"Crazy" is the story of Hank Garland, who played on an unbelievable number of hits with artists like Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Don Gibson (“Blue, Blue Day”,“Sea of Heartbreak”), and worked in studios with Chet Atkins, Grady Martin fiddler Tommy Jackson and other legends. But after a tragic and life-changing auto accident 15 years into his career, Hank had to relearn everything. The once lightening quick fingers that made "Sugarfoot Rag" into a sort of country anthem and explored the world of jazz guitar and stretched so many boundaries were never quite the same.
Hank lived out the rest of his 74 years with his brother Billy in Florida and his parents in Cowpens. That's where several local pickers pilgrimaged and played with the man that showed visitors gold records and memorabilia from the golden years of American music including the Gibson Byrdland Guitar that he and Billy Byrd (Ernest Tubb's long-time lead guitarist) designed and is still a sought after model.
It's a complicated story, but this movie captures the flavor of the time. It's authentic in details such as the guitar's used, and the music is top-notch. The soundtrack was produced by Grammy winner Larry Kline.
The movie covers Hank’s rise to the highest ranks of hot solo guitar work and his stormy relationship with the business powers of the music industry. Hank began to be interested in jazz and his association with players who were outside of the Nashville mainstream such as the black players that he liked to jam with after hours didn’t help him get along with the what has been called the Nashville mafia. He eventually recorded a couple of highly respected jazz albums including “Jazz Winds From a New Direction” which is still considered a milestone recording today.
Crazy is only playing festivals at this time so it's appropriate that a quality story about a regional native son (practically next door) play our Real to Reel Film Festival this year. This is more of the rich heritage that came from local down home folk, but made it about as big as it gets in the industry. Bobbie (Mrs. Don) Gibson says, "Don was very close to Hank and never wanted to call him or other musicians “sidemen”. They were both about giving credit to the artists who made the music.
Some of Hank’s local family and friends and musician buddies will be at the Joy Theater anxious to see Hank remembered and exposed to a younger generation that may not be as familiar with what he did. They remember him as a true guitar hero and a genuine person and one of our own.
On Saturday night after the movies, there will be a live musical tribute in the lobby to celebrate the legend and the man, as well as a fun way to end this year’s version of Real to Reel.
Links: http://www.crazy-themovie.com http://www.myspace.com/hankgarland
Hank's Obituary by Eddie Stubbs http://lists.drizzle.com/pipermail/postcard2/...
Real to Reel International Film Festival