Would you give up everything for a song? This lofty question is first posed during the captivating trailer of director Scott Smith’s Chasing the Blues. The question is then individually answered by multiple characters during the film itself as Blues creatively weaves brilliant comedic performances and dialog in and out of its dark and villainous core.
According to legend, the song at the epicenter of the story “doesn’t exist”. The search for a tangible recording of “O Death, Where is Thy Sting” brings two rival record collectors together in their pursuit to locate the cursed record. Alan Thomas (Grant Rosenmeyer), a school teacher first locates “Death” in the record collection of the elderly Mrs. Walker (Anna Maria Horsford) and is shortly thereafter joined in the competition to purloin the record from her by Paul Bettis (Ronald L. Conner), a local record store owner.
Though Alan and Paul are previously familiar with each other, the chance to own the priceless record leads them to a battle of will and stamina that inevitably lands them in hot water. Their feud continues to boil during a forced separation from each other and their opportunity to get their selfish mitts on the record that they were both able to once hold, but not listen to. However, twenty years later – they are both offered a second chance to own the infamous shellac by the slithering conman, Lincoln Groome (Jon Lovitz). Lovitz’ character transformation steals the show in both of his, albeit too-short, scenes.
Lovitz’ performances bookends this tale that is ultimately entertaining from start to finish. Clocking in at just over 1 hour and 15 minutes, Blues doesn’t waste any time with corny love scenes, subplots or unnecessary filler. However, it does feature an ear-catching soundtrack filled with a mix of traditional and modern blues songs from various artists including original music written by Jonathon Linaberry, aka The Bones of J.R. Jones.
Chasing the Blues, which was recently named Best Feature at the Jackson Crossroads Film Festival and Best of Fest at the Lone Star Film Festival, opens in select cities on October 5, while the soundtrack will be released a few days earlier on October 1.