Few musical archivists have worked as tirelessly to preserve American folk music as Harry Smith, and with this documentary filmmaker Rani Singh offers an illuminating look at the lasting impact of Smith's landmark release Anthology of American Folk Music. Originally released as a compilation of 78rpm records and later expanded to an impressive Folkway Records release in 1952, Anthology of American Folk Music was a key factor in the urban folk music revival of the 1960s. Recognizing the importance of both these recordings and Smith's remarkable legacy, Singh conducts interviews with a variety of musicians including Beck, Elvis Costello, Phillip Glass, Sonic Youth, Beth Orton, David Johansen, and Smith himself in order to explore just how this release continues to impact the American music scene to this very day. On the heels of the Anthology of American Folk Music CD release in 1997, Hal Willner's "Harry Smith Concerts" celebrated the archivist's idiosyncratic vision on stage with notable contributions by such performers as Nick Cave and Lou Reed. With this film fans can not only see remarkable clips of those performances, but gain unprecedented insight into the mind of the man who never stopped working to preserve the music that spoke to his soul.
~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide