He’s been described as “Detroit’s answer to Dylan via Motown and Bachrach”, and it’s all true. If you’ve been waiting for achingly beautiful music, that lives up to golden-age Dylan recordings, to somehow drop into your lap out of nowhere, than you absolutely must listen to these Rodriguez records and see this film.
Because that’s what they are…only better. More political, more psychedelic, more intricate production, all infused with the spirit and emotion of a working man’s poet. The songs and the lyrics and the production are absolute gold. They shine in such a brilliant and authentic way that you will doubt that it could possibly be true.
But it is.
And as if that’s not enough, the film Searching for Sugarman only serves to add to the elation and and wonder of the situation. I finally had a chance to see the film last night, and I’ve been shaking my head and muttering to myself ever since. How could this have happened? In this way? How can this story be true? I found myself simultaneously tearing up and smiling from ear to ear throughout much of the film. Not so dissimilar from expression on the faces of the crowd of his triumphant return shows in South Africa.
In two words it is absolutely astounding.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but this this whole Rodriguez story is stop-you-in-your-tracks, ridiculously fascinating. From the rise and fall of this consummate artist, to his impact on a people and a nation that didn’t know any better, this film and this man are overwhelmingly uncanny. So many near misses and invisible successes mixed with years of lost opportunities. Yet behind it all, the man himself takes it in stride, leaving us to wonder how many other lost and ignored genius’ are toiling away without being given their due.
This story and this music blows me away, and will do the same for you if you give it a chance.
UPDATE: So here’s your chance, Rodriguez is playing Lincoln Hall on September 20th. I wouldn’t miss it.