All the Labor

All the Labor (High Plains Films)

Rock & Roll DVDs

All the Labor

(High Plains Films)

Endurance stands as the central theme in All the Labor, which focuses on Austin's beloved Gourds and feels flimsy in the wake of the group's recent hiatus. The roots-groove quintet, which formed in 1994 and tapped out this fall, arrives as a gang of fun-loving road warriors who built a cult fan base without mainstream appeal. "They tried to sell us to the hippies, they tried to sell us to the Americanos – we just never caught on in a big way," ruminates singer Kevin Russell. Nevertheless, as the live footage demonstrates, the Gourds' brews-y Southern surrealism, helmed by nail-tough bassist Jimmy Smith and squirrely strummer Russell, became a strange and beautiful phenomenon. Sadly, and though it seems improbable, director Doug Hawes-Davis made a boring movie about a really entertaining band. The Gourds talk about the Gourds (they know they're weird); the Gourds talk about their families (being in a band is challenging); the Gourds respect each other and believe in the music. C'mon. All the Labor, a merch table item for a merch table that no longer exists.

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