When Shelley Saywell’s 2015 documentary, Lowdown Tracks, earned rave reviews and awards at its initial screenings, there was an unexpected consequence — the release of the soundtrack last month. The film, underwritten by TVO and the Canadian Media Fund, raises awareness for the plight of the homeless in Canada, using the example of several Toronto street musicians, or buskers, to depict the diversity of the individuals and the reasons for living off the grid.
Narrated by singer/activist Lorraine Segato of Parachute Club fame who inspired the film, Lowdown Tracks was named top Canadian Audience Choice at the 2015 Hot Docs International Documentary Festival.
The audience’s response to the musicians — Woody Cormier, Bruce Bathgate, Maryanne Epp, Katt Budd and Anthony Van Zant, plus The Railyard Ghosts — and the music, at every screening, Segato tells Samaritanmag, was “immediate” and “powerful.” Many of the songs depict the realities and harshness of life on the streets. The quality of the material is often astounding.
Just over a year later, the Songs From The Lowdown album (plus Segato’s “Hole in the Wall” from her latest album, Invincible Decency) has been released with almost all the proceeds going directly to the buskers themselves. The CD sells for $16.63 (inc. tax and shipping).
READ THE FULL Q&A in SamaritanMag