OK Buckaroos, A Documentary of the life, the music and the good times of Jerry Jeff Walker.
"The first duty of a revolutionary is to get a way with it." As someone who only knew of Jerry Jeff Walker as "the guy who wrote Mr. Bogangles", I have to say this film was quite enlightening. What surprised me the most was how far ahead of the times Jerry Jeff was when he decided to forgo the major record labels and record and distribute his music independently. Brendan McDonald , Dallas IFF
OK Buckaroos is a magical musical documentary of Jerry Jeff Walker's career as the leader of the Outlaw Country Movement. Sandra Kent CNN iReport
Tourville's admiring yet even-handed perspective allows room for Walker's human flaws, his moodiness and his propensity for excess, whether consuming liquor or carelessly spending his hard-earned fortune. But what emerges most strongly is a portrait of an artist and performer of unshakable integrity... Philip Wuntch, Film Critic and Jurist at the Dallas IFF
Here we go again.
Gonna try to slide one by once more.
Don't matter how ya do it.
Just do it like you know what your doing.
Besides, we been down this road once before.
Just gettin' by on gettin' by's my stock and trade
Livin' it day to day
Pickin' up the pieces where ever they fall
Just lettin' it roll lettin' the high times carry the load
I'm livin' my life easy come easy go
Jerry Jeff Walker
Patrick Tourville here, director of OK Buckaroos. It's been one heck of journey - lots of high and lows - but there is always a Jerry Jeff song that can get ya through. I first met the Walkers in 2000 when I was called in to direct a branding and image campaign for Time Warner Cable of Central Texas. There was some apprehension with the creative on the campaign for not being Texas enough. When the president of the company posed the question, “What if Patrick got Jerry Jeff Walker to perform in the spots, would that make it Texas enough?” The answer was obvious. Thus began a decade plus long relationship with one of my musical heros. Yes, I remember the impact when I first heard Viva Terlingua on the radio as a young filmmaker growing up in Dallas and then made my obligatory pilgrimage to Luckenbach. In the summer of 2009 I filmed a July 4th concert and once again watched the 67 year old desperado, his voice filled with the grit of the Dust Bowl, lift spirits with songs that cut to the essential heart of life. I went to my friend, Susan Walker, with a desire to do “something” with this beautiful concert footage. Susan handed me several large boxes of 40 years of archives and the trust to do “something”. So here we are. It’s been a privilege.
It was in 1985 that Jerry Jeff took control of his career and severed all major label ties. He and his wife Susan start their own label, Tried and True Music, They take over every aspect of the creative process by unleashing a marketing and management coup that is truly a precursor to the independent and digital revolution that has overwhelmed the major labels today.
It's July 4th - Independence Day - and from a stage in Round Rock, Texas with over 2,000 raucous fans, we hear 'OK Buckaroos' and once again with a twinkle in his eye, Jerry Jeff lets the opening chords from Gettin' By wash over the crowd. It's showtime. Whether a back country saloon or a stadium filed with thousands of fans, he has brought people together to celebrate who they are and what they feel about life and love and freedom. The show never gets old. Jerry Jeff is still singing his life story, what he knows of good times and bad.
The concert is interwoven throughout the film. With over 40 years of archival footage, including performances, interviews and anecdotal stories from Jerry Jeff's contemporaries - Willy Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Jimmy Buffet, Guy Clark -the film explores the half century journey of this Gypsy Songman from upstate New York to the beaches of Florida and the hustling sidewalks of New Orleans to this hot summer night in Round Rock, Texas. Current interviews with Jerry Jeff and Susan Walker provide insight into the journey, while Bruce Robison, Todd Snider and Ray Wylie Hubbard provide exposition on the importance of Jerry Jeff to their careers individually and on the recording industry in general.
In the years following 1985, the recording industry was rocked by profound change. Like Jerry Jeff, ultimately many recording artists would come to view major record labels as unnecessary to their commercial and artistic success. Advances in technology, inexpensive recording hardware and software made it possible to create high quality music in a garage or living room. Once recorded, it could easily be distributed over the internet to a world wide audience. By 2007, more music was sold over the Internet than any other way. As a result of digital technology and internet distribution, the major labels, as we knew them, were becoming a thing of the past.
When you trace these changes back to their source, you are invariably led back to that high hearted desperado, Jerry Jeff Walker, who refused to take the road most traveled and continues over 40 years to blaze a path for young independent-minded artists of tomorrow. In terms of technological innovation, the 2009 release Moon Child is his first all digital album available exclusively as a digital download from the internet.
Back on stage, Jerry Jeff closes the 4th of July concert with Woody Guthrie's anthem This Land is Your Land. And for Jerry Jeff, it's been a long, long road across that land. How good it is that he took us - and is taking us - along.
This is a good place and time to thank all the wonderful folks who helped make this film possible -- writers, shooters, sound, graphic wizards, fans who contributed material, researchers, interns and make-up! The list is long but now we are down to a finite few to see it through.
- BP Role: Executive Producer - Business Administration
- Managing Director of OFS Energy Fund (a private-equity) and independent investor in start-up companies and entrepreneur
- Previously CEO of PremierHR Solutions, business consultant and banker
- Board member of multiple business, charity and educational organizations
- MBA in finance and accounting from the UT McCombs Business School
- BP Role: Executive Producer - Distribution Administration
- Founded Trubedour Entertainment, which owned/operated a seventeen acre studio with sound stages and a back lot. Trube produced two documentaries and two independent feature films, which had U.S. and foreign distribution. He also produced national television advertisements and music and industrial videos, while developing a network of media distribution relationships.
- Sean is the creative editor and co-director of Ok Buckaroos. He and Patrick have spent a lot of time together!
- They will be hooked at the hip again as they polish this film.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
Documentary film projects are fueled by passion AND FULL OF SURPRISES. What started with simple concert footage evolved into a definitive biography of Jerry Jeff Walker and his nearly half century journey. With a handful of committed partners we raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to get it this far but now we need your help for the final push and to get the film out.
We did not compromise with desired footage and/or music during the edit process. We have precious footage from as far back as the the early seventies with appearances by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Jimmy Buffet, Ray Wylie Hubbard and many more. We have have several stock footage houses to clear for broader release. We have 29 songs to be cleared!
Furthermore we need the time to go through the edit one more time with some scene changes, re-mix and make final color correction and complete all graphics and type work.
Everyone involved, including Jerry Jeff, have contributed many days, weeks or months...ok, a couple us a couple of years! We know we have a a very special film. Be a Buckaroo today and help us meet, or exceed our goal - like we said there are always surprises.
Risks and challenges
We have a great film. But truth be told it was "finished" at 11:30 pm the night before our World Premiere as a Centerpiece Screening at the 2011 Dallas International Film Festival. Yikes! There is a difference with a finished film for screening and a completed film for distribution. Our film has many minutes of footage to be cleared and 29 songs to be licensed before we can officially release. The question is how and in what format do we distribute. Each venue - DVD, Digital, On-Demand, Theatrical, foreign, domestic etc. - has it's own increased licensing cost associated with it. We played very well in festivals and we can continue to do limited screenings. We have had offers from different distributors, none of them exactly right. We want to pursue the widest distribution possible and sequence the funding of the associated licensing costs. So our plan has three parts: money from current and new investors, Sneak Previews in targeted markets throughout the US and engage all the fans through Kickstarter.
We know we can always fall back to a DYI - DVD only release. So the primary risk is time. We have a well thought plan that we feel can be executed in 90 days but it may take longer. So come on board and be a part of the plan. We'll keep you updated as we continue down this road.
OUR BUCKET LIST:
- Manage Legal, Finance and Admin
- Coordinate & Book Sneak Preview Fund Raising Screening (USA)
- Engage Music Supervisor
- Final Negotiations with Music Publishers
- Full fill Stock Footage House Obligations
- Other Misc. Picture Clearances
- Final Art and Design for all Graphic Needs
- Final Technical and Creative Work on the FilmLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)