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Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

Sep 17, 2019

A perfect doc about a perfect singer.

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

Grade: A

Directors: Rob Epstein (State of Pride), Jeffrey Friedman (The Celluloid Closet)

Cast: Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 1 hr 35 min

By: John DeSando

“I had a galvanised voice: I could sing through a 105 fever or a flu or a root canal or anything that you could throw at me.” Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is a perfect documentary about a rock star: It’s not the confessional like David Crosby: Remember My Name, not fanciful about Bruce Springsteen in Blinded by the Light, nor romantic like the Beatles’ almost-tribute Yesterday.  

It is authentic about the titular gifted lady, who could step into any genre easily, and who could win the audience’s heart without falsification. She won Gov Jerry Brown's heart for a while: Nothing she couldn't do.

To hear her sing Different Drum is to be hurtled back to the ‘60’s and ‘70’s when a good folk-rock song could make you believe that women were empowered: “All I’m saying is I’m not ready/For any person, place, or thing to try and pull the reins in on me-e-e-e-e.” When you see her, Dolly, and Emmy sing together, you want more, and you forget how tough it was to break through the male-dominated rock scene.

Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman deftly guide the audience through the small lives of friends as well as the big musical moments that define Linda’s life. As she guides herself through light opera and Mexican music, we can’t help but be further curious while respecting her we’ll-earned privacy. That the Mexican album sold the most for Spanish-speaking albums in history is testament to her ability to do well whatever she wanted to do.

This doc is exemplary for giving some lengthy time watching Linda sing as well as just right for the biographical information and talking-head commentary. Her acceptance of Parkinson’s disease later in life is another testament to a woman of courage. In fact, there are more achieving women in this doc than in Wonder Woman.

“I miss singing every day. I can't sing anymore. My voice doesn't work. I have Parkinson's disease, and it sometimes takes my words away from me.” Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is all you need to know about her and her music. Enjoy.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com