Amongst a flurry of music documentaries being released right now, none of the subjects intrigue me more than elusive and gifted singer/songwriter Gene Clark. We are thrilled that the shop was able to get copies of The Byrd Who Flew Alone in stock only a month after its existence was even announced, and Other Music is probably one of the only stores in the US where you can pick this up. Director Paul Kendall takes us through an in-depth exploration of Clark's life, starting out on the family farm in Kansas City (one of 13 children!), on to playing in the New Christy Minstrels and then to off LA to start the Byrds. The band's other founding members, Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Chris Hillman, are all featured prominently in the interviews revealing some of the behind-the-scenes events in the group that led to Clark leaving in 1966, as Kendall perfectly cuts between the interviews of these three each telling their memory of Clark's departure. The story goes from there, Clark embarking out on his own to record solo albums and collaborations, without ever quite finding the success he so clearly deserved. It's a familiar story heard time and time again of the prolific artist never quite around at the right moment to receive proper acknowledgement while alive, only to be discovered years later by another generation, and yet with Gene Clark's immense talent and influence, it's still a baffling and emotional tale.
Also included here in this lovingly packaged DVD are tons of additional interview footage that didn't make the final cut for the film, director's commentary from Paul Kendall, plus two live performances, notably one of Clark playing a very moody solo acoustic version of "Silver Raven." Great stuff for any fan of American music, The Byrd Who Flew Alone does not disappoint.
-Amanda Colbenson (November 21, 2013)