Formlessness Into Form

Anyone who follows trends in audio recording is aware of the explosion of home studios, and the resulting bloom in amateur to semi-pro engineers. Coupled with the relative ease in distributing music in the digital marketplace, there is a concomitant burst of new sounds to sample. Of course the music varies widely in quality, running from brilliant to pedestrian based on the skills and talents of the artists, recordists, writers and gear. But there can be no doubt that this has broken down barriers to entry, removed filters, and democratized the market in profound and unalterable ways.

Less obvious, perhaps is how inexpensive technology has revolutionized video production as well. Anyone with a computer and a slightly-above-average video camera can crank out a feature length production in relatively short order. But like music created at home, you need a good idea, and a vision others might want to consider before your project can hope to appeal to even a niche in the similarly-exploded video market.

One such idea has occurred to Chris Henry, Nashville-based mandolinist and bluegrass visionary. He is hard at work shooting a documentary about the nebulous concept of creativity, with a focus on the world in which he lives and breathes.

The title, Formlessness Into Form, gives a glimpse into his vision, and Chris says that he sees the documentary as exploring creativity, with a focus on flow and dreaming.

“Formlessness Into Form creates a narrative that starts with where the energy comes from, how it feels to work with it, what’s good and bad for it, what creating with others can be like, the advantages and journey of finding one’s own voice, on down to specific advise for folks just beginning to unlock their own creativity.

I wanted to help facilitate introducing some of my favorite people to more folks who haven’t had the opportunity to know the most interesting characters in the Nashville bluegrass community. It was also a reason for me to go and visit with some of my best friends and have an interesting conversation!”

Chris has interviewed dozens of notable singers, songwriters and instrumentalists, and offered this trailer to introduce some of the talking heads he’s shot.

A list of the more recognizable personages to be featured includes:

Peter Rowan
Alan O’Bryant
Sam Bush
Julie Lee
Tim O’Brien
Angel Snow
Bela Fleck
Keith Little
Brittany Haas
Dominic Leslie
Phoebe Hunt
Amanda Contreras
Benita Hill
Marty Raybon
Verlon Thompson
Mike Compton
Billy Contreras
Mike Witcher
Adam Olmstead
Rob Ickes
Andy Hall
Larry Atamanuik
Billy Smith
Shad Cobb
Matt Combs
Dave Ferguson
John Hedgecoth
Matt Flinner
and many more…


Henry expects the finished 4-part effort to be primarily interviews, shot in and around Nashville, with some photos he has taken used as interstitials. He has close to four hours of footage now, and has edited the first part down to about 75 minutes. Editing continues on the other three.

A pure labor of love, Chris isn’t looking to turn this into a commercial project.

“Right now, my plan is just to release it on YouTube. I might investigate some film festivals, I’d have to cut it down quite a bit to qualify for many, I assume, because of its length, and I’m not sure I want to do that.”

We’ll be sure to update with any further news on Formlessness Into Form, which promises to be a singularly valuable contribution to the world of art and artistry.

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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.