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BWW Review: EVERYTHING IN THE SONG IS TRUE Captures The Spirit Of The American West

I've got a smile on my face that I just can't shake after watching Douglas Morrione's EVERYTHING IN THE SONG IS TRUE, a captivating and loving portrait of the life styles, ethos, and etiquette of the men and women who carry on the legacy of the American West. Maybe it's because the film reconnected me with images of cowboys and ranchers that I idealized in the oaters when I was a kid. Or because it reminded me of some of the core values that are at the root of the American experience and still preserved in places between the Pacific and the Mississippi ~ a solid work ethic, a strong sense of community kinship, and a sacred rootedness to the land.

Whatever the reason, EVERYTHING IN THE SONG IS TRUE is a beautifully crafted chronicle of four individuals whose personalities and perspectives honor that legacy.

In a part of the country "where cowboys are king," Morrione trains his camera on four members of the royalty ~ singers, poets, and artists ~ and delivers through their words of wisdom and storytelling lessons about life and the values that make home on the range worthwhile. And the songs and tapestries they compose are woven indeed from the facts of their lives.

Gary McMahan, the singing cowboy, instructs on the complex art of the yodel and the meticulous construction of the vowels that serve to create the proper mood as in that of a lyrical cattle call.

Brice Chapman, a member of horseshoeing royalty and a master of trick roping, reveals more than the details of his craft when he speaks fondly and reverently about his horse, no small matter in a world where the connection between a man and his animal partners is river deep and where truly best friends are hard to find and, when found, are cherished.

Jeff Nourse appealed to me as the rancher-philosopher, ruminating on the fundamentals that make for the good life: "A good cowboy knows what to do; a good cowman knows why." A cowboy's cowboy, Nourse is kind of a renaissance man, expertly filling the roles of singer-songwriter, rancher, bull breeder, and iron sculptor (check out his amazing chandelier).

Yvonne Hollenbeck, cowgirl poet and renowned quilter, rounds out the featured foursome and evokes multiple chuckles in her recitation of "What Would Martha [Stewart] Do?"

Through panoramic vistas of the wide open spaces of the West, from the trail rides to the campfire singalongs to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, in the tales they tell and the cowboyology they share, this humble fraternity of authentic souls rides tall.

EVERYTHING IN THE SONG IS TRUE a treasure capturing a slice of America that is all too often forgotten. Itis one of the featured films at the 2017 Sedona International Film Festival, which runs from February 18th through the 26th.

Photo credit to Douglas Morrione

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