Sundance Film Festival

Director: Morgan Neville

Inspired by Carole King and James Taylor’s Troubadour reunion show in 2007, filmmaker Morgan Neville’s “Troubadours” is an informative documentary about a time in musical history that is often swept under the rug. Although music critics hated the singer-song writer movement that emerged in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, as the film shows, it was a meaningful and influential movement.

The legendary Troubadour club in L.A.—which launched careers of James Taylor, Carole King, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell and more unlikely characters like Steve Martin and Cheech and Chong—serves as the backdrop of the film. James Taylor and Carole King’s personal histories serve as the frame. The film features an impressive amount of archival live footage of the two and the overall feeling of the documentary matches the music—woody and organic.

Carole King and James Taylor dancing in “Troubadours”. Photo by Josh Weiss

The interviews with the folks that experienced the Troubadour scene are intimate and often quite hilarious, like when David Crosby recalls how marijuana and hallucinogens inspired the movement but, “when we started doing coke and heroin things went to shit—as they often do.” Troubadours offers a nostalgic look back at a time when rock music took a deep breath.