This short documentary film was originally used as a marketing device for Victoria Williams' debut release, Happy Come Home. It is a perfect introduction to Williams sprite-like whimsy and the homespun folkie sound that became somewhat obscured in the album's overproduction. Although the film runs less than a half-hour, it contains a dozen musical performances -- including the promotional music videos for "Merry Go Round" and "Lights." Rather than shoot these videos on a professional soundstage, Oscar-winning filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker shot the MTV-style music videos -- and subsequently this entire film -- on location in Williams' native Louisiana. Pennabaker's uncanny ability to marry sound and vision has linked him with such genre-defining films as Monterey Pop, Don't Look Back -- a stark examination of Bob Dylan's 1965 European tour -- Live Peace in Toronto featuring John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders From Mars, and Depeche Mode's 101 performance video. His natural ability to capture and present Williams in the familiar and inspired setting of her home reveals the demure and unassuming artist in an organic and wholesome way few others could have pulled off so flawlessly. At the center of this film is the music. The audio juxtaposition and inter cutting of both the exclusive and spontaneous live acoustic performances -- which were captured at various places throughout the Louisiana countryside -- with the studio/album versions is nothing short of brilliant. It allows enthusiasts to hear Williams in her most listener-friendly environs -- that being the austere accompaniment of an acoustic guitar, or piano as is the case of "Main Road." Other tracks that are presented in this stark yet effective way include: "Happy Come Home," "Opelousas," and "Poetry." The natural talents and infinite finesse that she animates her songs with is truly all the adornment needed. In between musical selections are a few moments of interview and biographical information featuring Williams' sister Blair, her musical neighbors the Wilsons, and even her first husband, Peter Case, who is seen and heard during an off-the-cuff version of "Big Fish." Although VHS copies are occasionally sold by Williams at her live gigs, it may be difficult to find. Enthusiasts are encouraged, however, to obtain a copy by whatever legal means necessary. The vibrant and youthful Williams has rarely been captured so aptly. It took the masterful eye of D.A. Pennebaker to do it with such affection and integrity.
Share this page