Roots music icon Chris Strachwitz is a detective of sounds, an archaeologist of deep American music, the antithesis of the corporate mouse music that dominates the American ear. Born a German count, Strachwitz fled his homeland after WWII at 16. In the United States he discovered, and shared, a musical landscape that most Americans missed. For the last fifty years, he has carried his tape recorder from sharecrop shacks to roadside honkytonks, from cantina dives to wild Blues clubs. His recordings on his indy label, Arhoolie Records, brought Cajun music out of Louisiana, Tex-Mex out of Texas, Blues out of the country and into the living rooms of the world. These recordings revolutionized the sound of music around the world. Filmmakers Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling join Strachwitz for a hip-shaking stomp from New Orleans to Texas, Cajun country to Appalachia, as he continues his passionate quest for the musical soul of America.
"It is clear from the outset that Chris Strachwitz is, above all else, a music fanatic, and that his passion for the music that he considers worthy is the driving force behind the label. From the rural blues of segregated African Americans, to traditional Cajun music, Zydeco, and Conjunto music out of Southern California and Mexico, all individual songs and artists seem to contain a special potential for Strachwitz. He even admits that he never had a mind for cultural preservation through recording, but that he simply loved the music he chose to release. Nevertheless, Arhoolie's devotion to obscure styles outside of the radar of the mainstream music industry brought Strachwitz face to face with extremely local, often marginalized musical traditions that might otherwise be undocumented. The records Strachwitz produced often gave aging musicians careers they had never dreamed of, and breathed new life into those who were still in their prime but were disregarded by major labels, such as Big Mama Thornton." - Kyle H. Baker, The Evergreen State College, in Ethnomusicology
"Smokin' hot!" - Radio One, New Zealand
"One of the best music documentaries around...This film puts the heart and soul back into music and opens your mind to incredible artists you may never have heard of." - The Film Reel, Toronto