Banjos, Bluegrass & Squirrel Barkers

Rick Bowman, filmmaker with Backyard Green Films in San Deigo, CA has a special passion for bluegrass music. Despite his west coast location, he has family roots in Appalachia, and a long familiarity with the music and the people of the region.

His work has often touched on the music as well. Rick has shot and edited a number of music videos for James Reams, one each for Larry Gillis and The Travelers, and a documentary on the life and career of Herschel Sizemore. But it’s only now that he has turned his eye towards the bluegrass scene in his own hometown.

Bowman’s latest project, Banjos, Bluegrass & Squirrel Barkers, looks specifically at the San Diego bluegrass scene, from its inception in the 1960s on to the present day. He takes a look at a number of prominent artists who got their start there, including Chris Hillman, Alison Brown, Ron Block, and Stuart Duncan, plus the granddaddies of the San Diego set, The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers. That was the group that helped propel the careers of Hillman, along with Bernie Leadon of The Eagles and Kenny Wirtz of Country Gazette.

Only just completed, the film has already won three documentary awards (Gold Movie Awards, Mindfield Film Festival Los Angeles, Bi- Monthly Festival Gold Award). Rick recently screened it in Wales at the Cardiff International Film Festival, and is looking forward to premiering it in London at the Gold Movie Awards Goddess Nike come January.

It is scheduled to be screened at a number of other upcoming festivals as well:

  • Mindfield Film Festival – Albuquerque, NM
  • Mindfield Film Festival – Los Angeles, CA
  • Rails to Reels Film Festival – Meridian, MS
  • Miami Independent Film Festival – Miami, FL
  • Hudson Valley Drive International Film Festival – Monroe, NY

Here’s a trailer…

Following its run on the festival circuit, Banjos, Bluegrass & Squirrel Barkers should be made available for purchase on DVD.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.