Earlier this month MVD Visual and Mugshot Productions partnered to release the new hybrid music documentary/concert recording Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale of Two Cities. The presentation, released in coordination with Philadelphia, PA-based NPR station WXPN, is one of 2016’s top new music documentaries and concert recordings. The presentation fits into both lists because it is in fact a full-on hybrid work. That hybrid presentation of the program is just one part of what makes this program so interesting. The information and entertainment presented in each portion of the main feature are just as important to the program as its overall presentation. It also features a full fifty-five minute concert presentation from Rosie Ledet and others complete with interview segments mixed in as a bonus for audiences. That concert and its interview segments collectively round out Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale of Two Cities and make it such an interesting watch. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of this program. Altogether they make Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale of Two Cities a wonderful follow-up to Robert Mugge’s previous Zydeco documentary The Kingdom Of Zydeco and an equally impressive presentation for any lover of not just zydeco but of music in whole.
MVD Visual and Mugshot Productions’ new hybrid documentary/concert recording Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale of Two Cities is an impressive follow-up to Robert Mugge’s previously released zydeco documentary The Kingdom of Zydeco. It is also one of the year’s best new music documentaries and new concert recordings, being a hybrid presentation. The program’s documentary portion isn’t just another extended history lesson told by academics and others. Rather it presents just a piece of zydeco’s rich history through first-hand interviews with a handful of figures that helped to form the genre’s foundation. That’s just the beginning of what makes the program’s documentary side so interesting. There is also an equally interesting lesson on the difference between zydeco music and Creole music in one of the noted interviews. Even this critic will admit to not knowing that there was a difference between the two before watching this program. Others will be just as interested to learn of the instrumental and stylistic differences noted between the two sounds. One mixes blues, R&B, rock and other elements into one creation while one is much purer in its approach, using just one style and a very limited instrumentation. For anyone that has always enjoyed Creole and/or zydeco but never really known the difference, this discussion makes for a great starting point in researching both genres and learning even more about them over time. The history lessons work hand in hand with that music theory lesson to form a foundation for the program that in turn makes its documentary side doubly strong. There is much more that could be noted in terms of the program’s documentary side that makes the program so enjoyable. That includes but is not limited to the difference between a button accordion and a keyboard accordion, and the role of family roots in zydeco bands. That will be left for viewers to discover for themselves. Regardless of which piece of information viewers find the most interesting here, it can be said of the documentary and its approach work together to make this portion of the program enjoyable in its own right. It isn’t the only notable portion of this latest feature from Mug Shot Productions and MVD Visual. The program’s concert recording portion is just as notable as its documentary presentation.
Zydeco Crossroads’ documentary presentation is in itself plenty of reason for music lovers and lovers of zydeco to check out this latest feature from Mug Shot Productions and MVD Visual. It is only one portion of the program’s main presentation that makes it so interesting. The concert recording that is interwoven into the program is just as notable as its documentary. It is so interesting to watch because it isn’t just one single concert. Rather it is a number of performances by various zydeco and Creole acts and artists. The performances in question are held in a trio of well-known venues in downtown Lafayette, Louisiana. There are also a few performances presented from WXPN’s Zydeco Crossroads concert festival in Philadelphia. The performances themselves are entertaining. The organization of the concerts—first in Philadelphia then in Lafayette—gives them even more impact. As is noted by the WXPN staff this was done intentionally so as to show where zydeco and Creole music’s roots rest. It also explains why the latter performances received more attention than the bigger show in Philadelphia. One can only hope that as enjoyable as WXPN’s concert seemed to be from the few presented performances, the concert will be presented in whole in Mugge’s next presentation. Yes, that is a direct hint to Mr. Mugge should he read this. Speaking of full concert presentations, the full concert presentation from Rosie Ledet and company that is included as a bonus with the program rounds out the program’s most notable elements.
The dual presentation of Zydeco: A Tale of Two Cities is in itself plenty of reason for audiences to view this latest presentation from Mug Shot Productions and MVD Visual. The history presented by the program’s documentary and the performances set alongside that history, are just as interesting to take in. While these elements are each important to the whole of the program they are not the program’s only notable elements. There is also a complete fifty-five minute performance from Rosie Ledet included with the program as a bonus for audiences. The performance is broken up via interview segments with Ledet and World Café host David Dye. Through the interview segments audiences learn about Ledet’s own personal experiences and influences in the zydeco community. Viewers also learn in her discussions with Dye a little bit about how her personal life intersected with her professional life and much more including the prominence (or lack thereof) of female performers in the zydeco community. Both halves of the concert’s whole come together to make it live up to the title of “bonus.” Together with the two halves of the program’s main presentation and the presentation’s very dual presentation, the bonus concert rounds out the program’s presentation and solidifies its title as one of the year’s best new music documentaries, and one of the year’s best concert recordings.
Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale of Two Cities is both one of 2016’s top new music documentaries and one of the year’s best new concert recordings. That is because first and foremost it is both a documentary and a concert recording. The information and material presented within the program’s documentary and its concert recording combines to add even more interest to the program. The fifty-five minute performance/interview with Rosie Ledet rounds out the program’s presentation. Her performance and interview with David Dye gives viewers a closer look at one of today’s more well-known zydeco artists both on and off stage. Each element is equally important to the overall presentation of Zydeco Crossroads. Altogether they make this latest offering from Mug Shot Productions and MVD Visual a piece that NPR supporters, zydeco lovers, and music lovers in general will all appreciate and want to have in their personal music libraries. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via MVD Visual’s online store. More information on this and other titles from MVD Visual is available online now at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.