Janis Joplin may have had more edge, but Linda Ronstadt sold way more records, making her a viable candidate for the title of world’s first woman rock star. In their celebratory and often heartbreaking new documentary, Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman explore the singer’s melodious voice, advanced musicality, Mexican heritage, and battle with Parkinson’s disease. The new trailer for the documentary “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice,” out this September, opens with a quote from Dolly Parton, announcing: “Linda could literally sing anything.”
Bonnie Raitt breaks it down for younger audiences who may be less familiar with the singer: “Linda was like the queen. She was like what Beyoncé is now.”
Per the official synopsis: “Ronstadt is our guide through her early years of singing Mexican canciones with her family; her folk days with the Stone Poneys; and her reign as the ‘rock queen’ of the ‘70s and early ’80s. She was a pioneer for women in the male-dominated music industry; a passionate advocate for human rights, and had a high-profile romance with California Governor Jerry Brown. Ultimately, her singing voice was stilled by illness and forced her into retirement but her music and influence remain as timeless as ever. With moving performance footage and appearances by friends and collaborators including Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne, ‘Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice’ celebrates an artist whose desire to share the music she loved made generations of fans fall in love with her — and the sound of her voice.”
This marks the first music documentary from the prolific filmmaking duo, both out gay men whose work has been a vital part of queer cinema since the early 1980s. The duo collaborated on the Oscar-winning documentary “Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt” (1989), as well as “The Celluloid Closet” (1995), and “Paragraph 175” (2000). Epstein won the Oscar for “The Times of Harvey Milk” (1984), which he directed solo. The duo made their narrative filmmaking debut in 2010 with “Howl,” which starred James Franco as Allen Ginsberg.
Greenwich Entertainment, 1091 and CNN Films will release “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” in theaters this September. Check out the trailer below.