December 2, 2019  (Web Review)

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

Greenwich, 93 min., PG-13, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray: $34.99, Dec. 10

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s music documentary profile of Linda Ronstadt is particularly timely, given that she’s one of the 2019 Kennedy Center honorees. “Linda could literally sing anything!” marvels Dolly Parton, admiring the former’s eclecticism. Narrated by Ronstadt, the film chronicles her childhood in Tucson, AZ, where her father was of Mexican/German descent. Ronstadt witnessed racial discrimination and prejudice—hence her 1987 album of traditional Mariachi music Canciones de Mi Padre. From there, the narrative traces her move to Los Angeles and rise to fame and fortune in the 1970s, backed with remembrances from friends and colleagues including Parton, Karla Bonoff, Jackson Browne, Cameron Crowe, David Geffen, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, and the Eagles, which formed from Ronstadt’s touring band. TV interviews with Ronstadt are interwoven with concert footage displaying her musical range—covering folk, pop, country, operetta, the Great American Songbook, and rock. Singer-songwriter J.D. Souther recalls their beach-house relationship and Ronstadt is shown singing “My Boyfriend’s Back” at a fund-raiser for California Governor Jerry Brown (this was back when a politician dating a rock star made headlines). Now 73, the 10-time Grammy winner retired in 2011 because of Parkinson’s disease. Likely to appeal to fans, this is recommended. (S. Granger)