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 'Finding Lucinda' Screens at Nashville's Belmont University

(Review Written By: Jeffrey Kurtis)

Music is the soundtrack of our lives.

It’s the comforting friend when we’re navigating heartbreak, it finds the words for us when we can’t find them ourselves, and it provides the inspirational backdrop that keeps us going through the inevitable ups, downs, and in-betweens. 

In many ways, it’s our heartbeat for every season of life we’ll ever experience.

“It All Begins With A Song!” A popular phrase coined by the NSAI, but one which holds incredible depth and limitless truth. But behind every song is a songwriter, the one who connects the emotional strands of life into the beautiful poetry that radiates our speakers with gripping melodies to tug our heartstrings.

Just one look at the mile-long list of accolades showered on the illustrious career of Lucinda Williams will tell you that she’s one of the best in the business at crafting life into song.

Straddling the uniqueness brushed on Austin’s vibrant music scene with the contemporary flare of Nashville, the Lake Charles, LA native distinctively falls into a classification all her own as someone who’s been hailed as a little too country for rock-n-roll and a little too rock-n-roll for country.

With such widespread appeal, her influence is prevalent and still makes major impact on generation next as we find out through the heartfelt journey into Lucinda’s career in the new film from ISMAY (singer/songwriter Avery Hellman), Finding Lucinda.

Directed by Joel Fendelman and produced by Liz McBee, the documentary film sees the aspiring singer/songwriter searching for inspiration through conversations, discoveries, and an undeniable influence found within the foundations that laid the career trajectory of her guiding light.

Dissecting the early days of Lucinda Williams career, Hellman seeks to find comfort and self-confidence in her own musical journey through an understanding of her hero on a much deeper level, soaking in the atmosphere of the venues she played early on, unpacking her earliest recordings that never saw the light of day, and talking one-on-one with those closely knit to her career; Charlie Sexton, Buddy Miller, Mary Gauthier, and more.

However, as much as this film places emphasis on Williams’ music and its influence on Hellman, it poetically moves through its more silent moments, allowing the viewer to really understand the weight of the emotions that Avery is struggling with, but ultimately, how with each passing scene she’s learning to manage them more and more through her soul-searching dive into who Williams is beyond the music.

Learning early on from Charlie Sexton that every artist and songwriter feels a similar moment of lacking self-esteem, aptly provides the very beginnings of softening the wall on the question of “Am I good enough?” that Hellman is hauntingly conflicted with.

Likewise, later in the film while listening to the original tapes of Lucinda’s earliest recordings, Hellman knocks another brick out of her proverbial protection wall, piecing together the simple fact that Williams never gave up and kept pushing for what she knew she always wanted.

Though the film doesn’t conclude with a big crescendo moment that sees Hellman becoming the next big thing, it strikes a much deeper, more powerful chord that delicately examines the rocky road of self-confidence that every artist and songwriter internally deals with.

While Hellman spends much of the film finding her inspiration through an understanding who Williams is and where she comes from, and oftentimes does her best imitation of her, it’s when she begins to discover who she herself is as a songwriter that her aura begins to hold the underlaying message of the entire film.

At its core, this isn’t necessarily about Lucinda Williams at all, but rather it’s about the impact that your art can have. As Hellman continually moves through a fuller understanding of her hero, what brilliantly becomes the vibrant takeaway of the film is the encouraging message to stay uniquely true to who you are within’ your craft and creativity while walking your specific road toward making a difference.

For more information on the film, visit their official website at: https://www.findinglucindafilm.com/


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