DOCUMENTARIAN REED, CULMINATES 50 YEAR JOURNEY ENCOMPASSING THE EVOLUTION OF AMERICAN MUSIC, THE UPHEAVALS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, AND REFLECTING ON TREASURES OF PERSONAL EXPERIENCES, LOST AND FOUND
BOSTON, MA and CLARKSDALE, MS, January 26, 2021 – When Grammy- and Emmy-award winning documentary filmmaker Ted Reed was moving his office, he uncovered his 27-minute 16mm black and white film “Thinking Out Loud”, shot in 1971. Filmed on a several week adventure with his friend Tim Treadway, the two traveled from Boston through Memphis and Clarksdale to find and record some of the last living blues legends. “Thinking Out Loud” was seen at a handful of festivals, and then stored away. Fast forward fifty years has led to the compilation of then and now in his new film, “The Blues Trail Revisited.”
Reviewing this archival footage of a bygone time and Ted’s renewed curiosity of the blues music and culture, moved him to drive the identical route he had taken years before and see firsthand what changed in the birthplace of the blues. As his original trip, Reed was looking for the source of the spirit of the blues in the flatland cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta, the lonely highways that crisscrossed the region, and a sense of the spirits of the departed blues artists he was originally seeking to find.
“The Blues Trail Revisited” showcases the new respect for the cultural value of a musical form that had been all but ignored in the south a half-century ago. Now, rock fans, mostly white, from all the world, raised on music adopted from rural black communities, are flocking to that well-spring in record numbers. In many states, museums and historic markers have sprung up to guide a steadily growing caravan of international tourists. Venues from roadside Juke Joints to newly constructed concert halls offer musicians, both veterans and young performers, places to perform almost every night of the week.
Discover the major change in southern attitudes: Rather than sweeping the music and the legendary musicians who created it under the rug, and suppressing acknowledgement of its cultural significance as was the case in 1970, both the region’s citizens and governments reversed course in the late 1980s and started developing the foundations of the Blues Tourism segment. Today, tourism is second only to agriculture in annual revenue in Tennessee and Mississippi. It took a desire to discover the origins of the music the British guitar gods of the 60s popularized internationally to prime the flood of blues tourists we see today.
Who was behind the revival of the study of blues history? How did this newfound embrace by regional and state government administrations come about? Who were the tourists flooding—and in some cases resettling in—the birthplace of the blues? And who were the new musicians rapidly finding a fan base in the pilgrims coming to hear and discover this quintessentially American music?
Revealing interviews with authors, historians and hospitality entrepreneurs, musicians and art dealers, state officials, museum managers, and travelers from Arkansas to Australia detail significant changes from the 1970s to present day. Also on this return trip, Ted reconnected with his collaborator on the film, Tim Treadway, for the first time in all those years and together they reflected on all that had passed in a half-century.
Last April, Reed released the award-winning documentary film “Juke Joint Festival Revisited” during the virtual Juke Joint Festival event in Clarksdale, MS, with his primary goal to help drive donations to the Blues Foundation COVID-19 fund (https://j.mp/2wupAYe), and the Mississippi Blues Benevolent Fund (http://www.msbluestrail.org//mississippi-blues-trail-donations) that supports Blues musicians, young and old.
About Ted Reed
Ted has been producing, directing, writing, and shooting films and television since the 1970s. Creating documentaries, commercials, animated features, and broadcast and streaming series. His storytelling expertise has led to award-winning shows about gender equality, the future of communications technology, immigration, national parks, West Indian music, space tourism, assisted suicide, Jewish innovators, and handgun violence. He is the recipient of multiple awards.
During his career he partnered with the MIT team who pioneered internet streaming video technology, produced New England’s first local all-digital TV broadcast and pioneered the use of interactive video for large business meetings.
Ted has taught and lectured at Harvard University, Tufts University, Boston University, Endicott College and the Boston Film and Video Foundation. He has brought filmmaking courses to elementary schools, community groups and retirement homes, and continues to run film, photography and music workshops at his office in Gloucester, MA.