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Mainely Tipping Points

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: Don McLean: American Troubadour

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Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  August 26, 2013


Don McLean : American Troubadour


A remarkable new documentary about the Don McLean story produced by multi Emmy-award  winning film director Jim Brown due to air across the PBS network in March 2012.

* * *

A few months back, the Strand theater in Rockland, Maine, screened the new documentary about Don McLean, AMERICAN TROUBADOUR.  Both Don and Patrisha were present and hosted a question and answer session.  Both are treasured members of our community–they do so much really good work here.

I missed this event at the time and was sad to do so as Patrisha McClean is a friend.  Barb Melchisky went and told me that she really enjoyed the film and the time with Don and Patrisha.  “It was,” said Barb, “a lovely and interesting evening.”

So, I treated myself.  I ordered the DVD, and one night when Mike and the boys were here, we watched it.  And we had a “lovely and interesting evening, too.”

Don McClean’s music was iconic for my teenage and young adult years.  (Who in my generation could forget the plane crash that took the life of Buddy Holly?)  Don’s music was apparently iconic for my son Michael as well.  As we watched, and smiled, and laughed, and said “oh, I didn’t know that,” we began to realize that ten-year old Bo was fully engaged with the film as well.  And, indeed, Bo went around for days afterwards singing the refrain to “Bye Bye MIss American Pie” and kept asking “well what do those lines mean?”  And, it turned out that Michael had done a paper on this very famous song in college and had never forgotten it.

Perhaps more importantly, Bo could see that he could learn to play the guitar well and could do that own his own if he wanted to badly enough.  He also took home the idea that he could write songs for himself.  And, others.  Important songs that capture an era.  It will be fun to see how all the tropes in Don’s life percolates in Bo’s head.

I plan to watch the film again this winter–and to maybe will invite some friends to watch it with me.  Maybe we will do that even sooner as other visitors and family are coming who would be interested in this man and his music.

In any case, I recommend this documentary to you.  And I thank Don for being who he is and for all the gifts of his music.


Written by louisaenright

August 26, 2013 at 4:30 pm

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