Movie review: "Linda Ronstadt The Sound of My Voice" (2019)
By John Roberts
Los Angeles, California
January 14, 2020 6:57am CST
Any hardcore Linda Ronstadt fan will find this documentary about the singer’s life a heartbreaking experience. She is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” painfully shows the effects of the disease. Her hands are glimpsed shaking uncontrollably. Close friend Emmylou Harris starts crying after saying Linda cannot sing with her friends anymore. The film’s most poignant moment comes at the end when Linda attempts singing along with her cousin and nephew. Her anguished expression says it all. She tries being upbeat but that expression reveals her agony of having lost the thing she loves most in life: singing. Linda reveals her maternal grandmother died of Parkinson’s. The documentary contains interviews with her friends such as Harris, Dolly Parton, former boyfriend J.D. Souther, longtime manager Peter Asher, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Don Henley. Their adoration is apparent. Henley is pretty clear that no Eagles exist without Linda. Dolly says Linda can sing anything and is a better singer than herself. Linda has always been maligned as a cover artist who does not write. Browne’s response is Linda makes your song better. Singer-songwriter friend Karla Bonoff states Linda sings your song better than you can yourself. Her Broadway “Pirates of Penzance” co-star Kevin Kline recalls how moved he was upon hearing Linda unleash her light operatic voice for the first time. Her insecurities and dislikes are covered. Record mogul David Geffen states he recognized her star potential when first seeing her with the Stone Poneys but Linda did not think she was worthy of a contract. Linda says there are many better singers than herself and that she is not that good! She was jealous hearing Emmylou Harris for the first time thinking that girl is better than me. Emmylou begs to differ and recounts how Linda “saved” her. She disliked the 70s stadium tours and singing rock that was expected of her. Got hooked on diet pills to stay thin. Drugs are suggested but not called out in her case but long ago it was mentioned she did coke to bolster her nerves to face huge crowds. Only beginning in the 80s did she begin asserting herself to do what she wanted artistically. There are photos and concert and television footage galore including rare Troubador images from early in her career. Some of the best material are photos and reminiscences of her childhood and family in Tucson. The film contradicts Linda in her claim of being “Mexican.” Her mother was German, English and Dutch and her father German, English and Mexican. The Mexican percentage in Linda is quite the minority contrary of how she presents herself. If anything, she should proclaim herself German. She complains speaking Spanish was not allowed when she attended school (we won’t get into her politics) after admitting not understanding the Spanish words she sang as a child. There is nothing profound about the documentary being a well done straightforward biographical hit the highs piece. Certainly flattering toward the subject whom we know has deep seeded issues and always hidden what really makes her tick. Hard hitting questions and observations are avoided. The greatest accomplishment of “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” is the kaleidoscope of musical clips that remind and educate the extraordinary range and versatility of her once mighty vocal powers.
SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/GreenwichSub Since bursting onto the music scene in 1967, Linda Ronstadt has been an icon for more than 50 years. Her extraordinary ...
15 people like this
• Louisville, Kentucky
Oh, I ache for what she’s going through. What a gifted singer. And yes, let’s leave the politics out of it. She’s pissed me off more than once, but I never started listening to her for political opinions. And in 50 years people won’t be discovering her amazing voice because of how she voted.