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christopher north: raves

Delta blues, as personified by giants like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, was a rolling wail of intensely personal music. Sam Pollard’s energetic, trenchant documentary “Two Trains Runnin’ ” spotlights a time when this beating heart of African American culture underscored a curious crossroads of the civil rights movement.

It tells the story of how two separate groups of white blues nerds — one led by MIT student Phil Spiro and journalist Dick Waterman, another from the West Coast spearheaded by guitarist Jeff Fahey — ventured, unbeknownst to each other, into the same region of Mississippi at the same time, in the summer of 1964. They hoped to find, and lure back into performing, “lost” country blues legends Son House and Skip James, respectively.

Pollard threads their story, complete with animation and interviews, into the context of that simultaneous Freedom Summer that saw white college allies — trained by black activists in political action — make the dangerous trek into the heart of the segregated South to help register blacks to vote. The blues fans’ naivete — this was the same year three young activists were murdered in Mississippi — is addressed, but their deep appreciation for this seam of the American soul is given its affectionate, consciousness-raising due.

Music naturally fills the film, including appearances by Gary Clark Jr., Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams and others, and mesmerizing archival footage of House and James in their late phase of revitalized stardom. As we watch these once-marginalized artists thrillingly bring their past to bear on tense times, so does this look-and-listen complement the urgency of our newly charged civil rights moment.

Beyond the great writing and lead actress, the rocking, fast-tempo score from Brooklyn-based composer Christopher North keeps the film moving when necessary, and becomes dark and moody at other times. Hiring North was a wise move. - KR

A very special thank you to Christopher North, whose only job was to replace and improve on a two million dollar soundtrack of songs I had no rights to use, and to make us truly "original." You are a genius and as talented as anyone I've encountered. You literally had to replace Eminem and Buddy Guy and David Byrne and Matisyahu and Young Jeezy, and you frigin' did it! I owe you a big Hollywood movie some day.

Director Seth Greenleaf - Flag Football (Jun 17, 2017)

The most exciting part of “F(l)ag Football” arrives at the end, when two bitter rivals face each other. But the most insightful scene comes in the middle of this documentary, when the New York Warriors of the National Gay Flag Football League take on a straight team from Long Island.  (Hear cue "Straight Game" on playlist )

"Though gripping as a two-pronged adventure tale, the film's implicit socio-historical commentary gives an unsettling edge to the inspirational storytelling"

“It's unifying theme is recognition...This captivating movie, like the blues itself, is at once a recognition of those somber truths and a gesture of protest against them."

"In this new political era, [this film] opens an important conversation about the legacy of the segregated South."
"It's an absorbing story filled with weird coincidences, extraordinary music and heroic activism." 
"Whether reinterpreted by present-day artists Lucinda Williams, Rev. John Wilkins, Buddy Guy and others, or heard through generous archival clips, the music in Two Trains Runnin’ is remarkable."

"All in Time rocks.” - LA Times 

“Smart and clever…convincing, unpredictable.”  - The Hollywood Reporter 

“An inspirational, feel-good movie for all ages."  - New York Film Critics 

“A movie that rocks!”   - US Weekly 

“Whimsical and easygoing.” - The Village Voice 

“The most incredible twist since 'The Sixth Sense'.”  - NBC Sports Radio  

“Certiļ¬ed Fresh.” - 85% at Rotten Tomatoes 

"8.7 out of 10.”  - IMDB 

“5 Stars.” - Amazon

"Expert assembly is particularly well served by a fine soundtrack of (mostly) new multi-artist cuts that sound like buried nuggets from the protag’s formative years in New York’s fertile multimedia punk/New Wave underground."

"Lucky Days should have a healthy, cultish afterlife" with "Christopher North's music a notable asset".
JOHN ANDERSON - Variety (Aug 4, 2010)
I wanted to tell you how impressed I am with the music for the film. Andy Middleton is one of my favorite players, and it was nice to see his name in the credits. The same goes for Ethel - good choice. The string writing was really beautiful and evocative. There is a really intimate quality to the overall sound that lends itself to the relaxed unfolding of the film. I hope the film gets some play.
4 stars! He is on to something...
I really dislike trying to make comparisons to other artist but...this vocal are like John Mayer but without all the things I HATE about John Mayer's music. The sounds and instrumentations are very original and new, however with a sound that has a pleasant familiar remembrance to songs and rhythms that have touched your soul. I look forward to hearing more...
The sound design immediately jolts the production into an eerie existence, and his original song "The Feather Lake Song" is as hummable as any contemporary adult rock hit.
{De La Sur} is a charming little record. Blending a talent for British pop (he's a native Texan) and a keen ear for soul melodies, North makes fairly minor pop music that is greatly enhanced by his charming personality and bigger-than-life charisma. Where a track like "Beautiful You" has a strong enough structure to turn out quite good, songs like "Fool's Fool" benefit from the performance style more than anything else. North seems as though he knows these songs inside and out, which only stands to reason considering how many instruments he plays on the release . . . North keeps things moving and always manages to deliver a few unexpected twists. Fans of soulful Brit-pop might find themselves a new songwriter to enjoy by giving this album a chance.
CONCERT REVIEW: "Restructuring Chopin" features Rassoulova-Suk, Krovytska, Casatt String Quartet and cn on double bass - "The concluding part of the program was devoted to the Second Piano Concerto in F Minor. The orchestral part was transcribed for strings only and was played by the Cassatt Quartet with the inclusion of Mr. Renquist's double bass. The strings played their part with great precision, following the soloist with dynamic graduation. Their outstanding playing shone in the sustained shimmering tremolo, pizzicati and the "col legno" episodes."
"... he possesses a wide range of musical and movement skills ... his strong sense of timing allowed him to effectively harness the audience and structure a piece that was whimsical and fun "
NY Fringe - Propaganda (NYC) (Aug 30, 1998)
"He comes at you like a rubber bullet out of a well placed water gun."
Tom Prejean - Dallas' Club Dada (Jan 1, 1997)
... fun music played wildly and well. His songs are part jazz, part rock, part something else, ... ... the concert was highlighted by an impassioned violin solo composed by Mr. North {Renquist}. . .
Margaret Putnam - Dallas Morning News (Jan 1, 1997)