Late Canadian country star was a legend in director's mind
In the early 1970s Canadian country/rock legend Guy Terrifico was gunned down at a concert and vanished on his way to the hospital.
Recently some unreleased tapes have surfaced sparking a new recording project and prompting rumors he may still be alive.
Why would Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Colin Linden and other musical luminaries appear on an album of duets with a man who supposedly died 30 years ago?
"I loved Guy Terrifico," Kristofferson says with a craggy grin. "He was the only guy back in the early 70s who drank more than I did. He made me look like a choirboy."
Indeed the musicians interviewed for this "honky tonk-umentary" seem more interested in talking about Terrifico's excessive lifestyle than his music.
Linden recalls playing at the club Guy bought after winning the lottery.
"As soon as you'd get there for soundcheck he would start plying you with drinks and whatever else he had kicking around. By the time he'd get ready to play a lot of the bands would be too messed up to play. Normally this would be a bar owner's worst nightmare but for Terrifico it was like a dream come true. Guy just wanted to hang out with the bands, that's all."
Haggard recounts an incident at a post gig party when Terrifico got in his face once too often. ("He was an a----hole so I knocked him out.")
The film also includes reminiscences by Ronnie Hawkins, Levon Helm of The Band and Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo.
So how come you have never heard of him? Simple. He's entirely the product of freshman filmmaker Michael Mabbott's feverish imagination.
A composite of Jerry Jeff Walker, Gordon Lightfoot and Gram Parsons, Terrifico is played with woozy verisimilitude by Halifax musician Matt Murphy.
Playing himself is Parsons' former road manager, Phil Kaufman.(Parsons' real life story was more bizarre than any fictional film.)
Simulated studio and concert footage add to the illusion. "Home movies" of late night jams at the Vancouver apartment Guy shares with wife Mary Lou (Natalie Radford) will strike a responsive chord with survivors of the era and those who are still "living the dream".
Admittedly this mock doc will be best appreciated by a niche audience. So if you're not familiar with Parsons' legacy, you don't have anything by Kris, Merle or The Band in your collection and you've never seen a boomer folk in concert you may not "get" it (or want it).
However, if you can check one of the above, the sly inside humor and musical references will have you chortling with delight like a senior at a rest home who has just realized its Saturday night and there is chocolate pudding for dessert.
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