BACKGROUND SINGERS JO Lawry

Looking into the lives of background singers

CVAG and TIFF-Film Circuit present a mesmerizing glimpse into the lives of background singers as part of their Fall Film Series

The Comox Valley Art Gallery and TIFF-Film Circuit present a mesmerizing glimpse into the lives of background singers as part of their Fall Film Series.

Screening this Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Rialto Theatre, 20 Feet From Stardom is a fascinating documentary for pop, soul, R&B and rock fans.

Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (Beauty is Embarrassing, Pearl Jam Twenty) returns with his compelling new documentary, 20 Feet from Stardom, an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

In his latest foray into the subject of rock ‘n’ roll history, Neville shines a spotlight on the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the late 20th century, taking an unprecedented look at the moving personal journeys of these normally uncelebrated artists and paying tribute to their indelible role in popular music.

Although few, if any, of these singers become household names, their work has defined countless songs and records that remain hallowed in rock’s collective memory. Helping to set the record straight, Neville juxtaposes interviews with industry legends (Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Sting, and Bette Midler) with the relative unknowns who support them.

That list includes such talents as Merry Clayton (who sang on The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter), Táta Vega (notable for her duets with Michael Jackson and Lou Rawls), and Darlene Love (a discovery by producer Phil Spector).

As each backup singer demonstrates their unquestionable talent, and the unique blend of intuition and skill needed to support lead vocals, they also reveal their own struggles to find careers as solo artists, and their disappointment in a music industry that has only propelled them so far.

Triumphant and heartbreaking, 20 Feet from Stardom is a tribute to the unsung voices that changed the sound of popular music, and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices, and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others and standing next to the spotlight.

Tickets are available at the CV Art Gallery Gift Shop at 580 Duncan Ave. in downtown Courtenay. Call 250-338 6211 for more information or to purchase tickets over the phone.

For complete film series listings, visit www.comoxvalleyartgallery.com.

— Comox Valley Art Gallery

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