Trailer for the documentary For the Sake of the Song, which screened at SXSW 2010.
For forty years, Houston’s legendary folk and acoustic music venue, Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant, has fostered and nurtured some of the most important performers and songwriters in America, including Grammy Award-winning artists Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, and Lucinda Williams. Lyle Lovett claims, “Without Anderson Fair, I wouldn’t have been driven to try to write songs the way I was.” Recalling her early development as a songwriter, Nanci Griffith says, “I wasn’t yet that confident with my songwriting, and Anderson Fair gave me that confidence.”
For The Sake Of The Song: The Story of Anderson Fair is the compelling saga of one of Texas’ and America’s unsung cultural treasures. This film explores the significant role Anderson Fair has played in preserving an American musical tradition and how a devoted family of artists, volunteers, and patrons transformed a politically subversive little coffee house and restaurant into a unique American music institution.
Today, Anderson Fair is one of the oldest folk and acoustic music venues in continuous operation in the United States. What began as a little neighborhood restaurant where local musicians played for tips and free-thinkers gathered to “talk about things that might get them arrested somewhere else” quickly evolved into a songwriting sanctuary, cultivating a multitude of local and regional artists and attracting performers from all over the world. “It was a hotbed of creativity, a place to write, a place to perform, a place to get your act solid,” acknowledges former owner Franci Files Jarrard. Lucinda Williams recalls, “It was a coveted gig if you could get an actual night there. It was a great place to showcase your original material.”
Anderson Fair has stubbornly bucked the odds and survived for four decades because of the dedication of a community of people with a common vision: nothing gets in the way of the music. It has always been and is still run by volunteers; no one is paid. And its struggle to survive in many ways mirrors the struggle of the individual artists. For The Sake Of The Song tells the tale of this small place in Texas where the sound is true, the spotlight gentle, the applause encouraging, and big things happen.
Filmmakers Bruce Bryant and Jim Barham weave together a musical and visual tapestry of five generations of artists, volunteers, and patrons who have lived the story and graced the stage of this hallowed hall. In addition to intimate interviews with a who’s who of Americana and Texas music, the film also features new and never before seen archival footage of performances by Vince Bell, Guy Clark, Slaid Cleaves, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Steven Fromholz, Nanci Griffith, Carolyn Hester, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Eric Taylor, Dave Van Ronk, Townes Van Zandt, and Lucinda Williams.
Ultimately, For The Sake Of The Song celebrates the spirit of community and the global impact that a small family of music-lovers can make by working together to support something in which they truly believe. In this age of American Idol and fast food music, the tradition of the troubadour that has evolved into that of the modern singer-songwriter is safely harbored within the walls of Anderson Fair.
- Posted: March 03, 2010
- Director: Bruce Bryant
- Writer: Unknown or Not Available
- Studio: Independent
- Release: March 17, 2010
- Cast: Unknown or Not Available
No music available