Oftentimes, the best and brightest of our musical talent never get to take center stage as an adoring crowd cheers them to glory. Some of the industry’s most talented players happily occupy backstage roles, studio slots or, in the case of the subjects of Scott Rosenbaum’s SXSW premiere “Sidemen – Long Road to Glory,” careers as sidemen.
Rosenbaum’s new documentary focuses on some of American music’s most skilled (and most unheralded) stars, so-called “sidemen” Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Hubert Sumlin, lovingly bringing the three men’s individual and collective stories to the big screen in a toe-tapping, eye-opening new feature.
Per the film’s official synopsis, the film is “an intimate look at the lives and legacies of piano player Pinetop Perkins, drummer Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith and guitarist Hubert Sumlin, all Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf sidemen. The film captures some of the last interviews and their final live performances together, before their deaths in 2011. The historic live shows are accompanied by performances and personal insights from many of the blues and rock stars these legendary sidemen inspired including; Bonnie Raitt, Gregg Allman, Derek Trucks, Shemekia Copeland, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Perry, Joe Bonamassa and Johnny Winter.”
You can get a taste of the influence of some of the men — most notably, Sumlin — in our exclusive clip, as some of music’s most recognizable stars talk about what his music meant to them.
“Sidemen – Long Road to Glory” had its world premiere at SXSW on Friday night, and will next screen tomorrow at 10:45am at the Alamo Lamar in Austin.