Sam Lay, the blues living legend and inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, receives a phenomenal tribute in his documentary, Sam Lay in Bluesland. Produced by Starr Sutherland, directed by John Anderson, and executively produced by Michael Prussian, the original film is set to debut on WTTW Chicago on April 6, 2017. Against a backdrop of the troubled, racially turbulent 1960s, Sam's singular life and career is told through his own words, music, and dozens of one-of-a-kind clips from 16mm footage Sam shot while playing decades of gigs that have never been shown in public prior to this film. The documentary features appearances by music greats such as Iggy Pop, Corky Siegel, Elvin Bishop, and his late contemporary James Cotton, who passed just last week. The film also features new performances by The Sam Lay Blues Band, The Siegel-Schwall Blues Band, and Sam Lay & Corky Siegel.
The film will air twice in the first week of April: WTTW HD on April 6, 2017 at 10:00 pm CDT and WTTW Prime on April 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm CDT.
Recognized as much for his signature double-shuffle beat as for his sartorial style — his capes, crowns, canes, and cowbells are the stuff of legend. Sam, who recently celebrated his 82nd birthday, has played a key role in the evolution of the blues for almost 60 years. A free spirit whose musical innovation, unmistakable groove, and explosive power helped create the blueprint for Chicago blues, Sam has earned his place in the Blues, Jazz and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame. He continues to write, record, and perform today.
About the Filmmakers
Starr Sutherland - Producer
Starr Sutherland is a San Francisco-based producer of art and music video projects. His documentary, Percy Mayfield: Poet Laureate of The Blues, won a John Handy music award, and his early digital work for IPA was the first recipient of a Clio award for interactive advertising. He has worked with a wide range of artists including Don Cherry, John Lee Hooker, Charlie Musselwhite, Larry Ochs, Luther Tucker, Dr. Wild Willie Moore, Francis Clay, Randy Rose, Cheb I Shaba, and Joshua Brody. He has also produced DVDs for The Residents, AntFarm, the ROVA jazz ensemble, and Lewis "Buster" Simpson.
John Anderson - Director
John Anderson is an Emmy-winning and Grammy-nominated Director, Executive Producer, and Editor from Chicago, whose work has aired on PBS, A&E, MTV, VH1, Showtime, Cinemax, HBO, FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, MuchMusic, the BBC, and elsewhere around the world. His list of directorial clients includes Warner Brothers Records, Capitol/EMI, Sanctuary Visual Entertainment, Image Entertainment, Rhino Home Video, Giant Records, and The Walt Disney Company.
Michael Prussian - Executive Producer
In addition to his role in Sam Lay in Bluesland, Michael Prussian is the Executive Producer for the documentary Percy Mayfield: Poet Laureate of The Blues and Mark Naftalin's Blue Monday Party. He resides in Chicago.