DVD Review “Give Me The Banjo”

Directed by: Marc Fields
Starring: Steve Martin, Bela Fleck
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: New Video Group
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Running Time: 82 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

There is something about the banjo that is just fascinating. This film is narrated by actor/comedian/musician Steve Martin. He is known for being an master of the banjo and has recorded a few albums as well. The film really goes deep into the history behind the banjo. It also features numerous interviews with banjo musicians and archive footage dating back to the beginning of the banjo. If you are a music fan, you will appreciate this documentary.

“Give Me The Banjo” takes a musical journey through 300 years of American history and culture. The contemporary banjo musician that appear in the film are Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Taj Mahal, Mike Seeger, Alison Brown, Sonny Osborn, Don Vappie, Cynthia Sayer and Abby Washburn. The interviews are very interesting and personal. The performance footage included takes a fantastic look into the banjo world. There is also a lot of great rare stills and recordings.

The special feature are decent overall. Firstly there is 30 minutes of extended performances from Taj Mahal, Cynthia Sayer, Ralph Stanley, Riley Baugus and Rhiannon Giddens. The footage is great and banjo lovers will enjoy the extended footage. Lastly there is a feature called “Profile of Uncle Dave Macon”. Would love liked to see more about Steve Martin perhaps, or a commentary track but overall still very impressive.


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