SXSW Film Review: Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove (USA, 2015)


Doug Sahm lived and breathed Texas music. But he was also largely unknown outside of that particular American state. Until now. The documentary film, Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove looks at the chameleon musician and gets at the heart of all of his layers of complexity.

Sahm was a charismatic bloke who had a heap of “best friends”. He was the ultimate musician’s musician. But instead of chasing and realising fame he was on a relentless pursuit to “Discover the groove”. This meant that in a career spanning over four decades he played every character and everything from the soulful R&B pop sound of the sixties that was influenced by the British Invasion to a hippie cowboy helping create roots music to Tex-Mex sounds and just about everything in between.

This documentary is a labour of love from director, Joe Nick Patoski, who is a former Rolling Stone contributor and author of books about Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Here, Patoski combines old interviews along with archive photographs and concert and TV appearances as well as present-day talking heads with Sahm’s children and former bandmates and friends (including Augie Meyers). The format isn’t original at all (especially when you consider such a creative subject) but it does succeed in building a detailed picture of a complicated man, warts and all.

The highlights from this documentary are when you see Sahm himself, he really is magnetic both when he’s performing and being interviewed. He was a free-spirited and restless fellow who was never content to stay in one place (or within the confines of one genre) for too long. In many ways, this story of a talented artist who is only now being appreciated for his work and influence reminded me of Rodriguez in Searching for Sugar Man.

Doug Sahm was an electric and vibrant musician and the Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove film does capture some of that spirit. This is not a perfect film by any stretch but it is a damn interesting one about a vibrant and rich groover and shaker. It is well-crafted and respectful in how it shows a man that was a force to be reckoned with and an artist who defied categorisation. But most importantly, he was a man that lived and breathed creativity as he spent each day saluting the groove.



Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove premiered at SXSW on March 19th.


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