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New Linda Ronstadt Documentary Shows The Dynamic Singer's True Essence
Big brown eyes and a voice that could switch between country, rock and almost any other genre—that's how Linda Ronstadt, the 10-time GRAMMY-winning singer who made covers like "You're No Good" first performed by soul singer Dee Dee Warwick and "Silver Threads And Golden Needles" first performed by rock and roll pioneer Wanda Jackson her own hits may be remembered. But a new documentary is showing her at her core, outside of her fame and rise as a versatile artist in a male-dominated industry during the '70s and '80s.
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, follows Ronstadt's musical trajectory, but more than anything shows her true essence: her deep love for singing and her love for her Mexican culture that continues today as she copes with life with Parkinson's disease.
Ronstadt's Mexican roots may not be evident to some on the surface, but in the documentary she herself lovingly recalls stories of growing up with her Mexican father's traditional folk singing in Spanish, some of her first experiences with music. At a young age she developed an interest and yearning to bring the iconic traditional Spanish-language songs to life with her own voice. But, the documentary shows, without getting into too much detail of the adversity Spanish-language speakers faced at the time in the U.S. and the limitations of the english-language music industry, how the talented bicultual vocalist's path to music took her elsewhere first: a frontwoman for the Stone Poneys, her first step to a massive spotlight in the folk, country-rock stage.
Through interviews with Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Don Henley, Peter Asher, David Geffen and more, the film shows Ronstadt as a strong advocate for her musical purpose, eventually leading her to experiment with opera and other genres as well as the road to her successful Spanish-language album, Canciones De Mi Padre, which won her a GRAMMY in 1988. The film highlights these milestones through footage that includes her 1990 "All My Life" GRAMMY win with Aaron Neville and how her high success on numoruos Billbaord charts, including rock, pop and country, earning her reputation as one of most highly ragrded singers and musical interpreters of her time.
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is out now in select cities. The film opens nationwide on Sept. 13.