Documentary Short Film Review “Let Those Blues In”



First, the Recap:

Inner healing. It’s something we all seek, something we all need, and the resolve we discover to entertain its power is so often dictated by the circumstances which led us to that need in the first place. Now, the means by which we choose to take on this balm can take many forms, but one of the most amazing and truly life-altering paths is through the restorative capacity of music. For one of Ireland’s premier blues harmonica players, Paddy Smith, this desire to find a better way took doing some time first. Raised in Clusker Park, Navan, Smith knew rough times amidst, as he states, “good people strugglin’ along”. However, it was here that he first found what became “a crutch”–alcohol.

Moving from town to town, even country to country, figuring each new place would be a fresh start while blaming each one likewise for his issues, all the while realizing he was attempting to flee his own demons. Finding some solace in his love of blues music and his own harmonica playing, a chance meeting in Dublin with an American girl ultimately causes him to move to the U.S. and his dream of being in Chicago. Having opportunity to play in bars and clubs with some of the best blues players, Smith’s drinking ends up landing him in Cook County Prison. After such an intimidating wake-up call, the road remains hard as Smith returns home to Ireland where a family tragedy and more drinking threatens to end him until the music, the blues, grabs hold with hope.

Next, my Mind:

With producer duties completed on the documentary short “Gone Viral“, Paul Webster takes on the lead chair in this completely cool, smoothly filmed, blues-fueled, indelibly human 10-minute film highlighting one of Ireland’s foremost musicians, delivering it in a way that is undeniably entertaining while also painting a very real portrait of a man who not only plays the blues, but has the circumstances, and hence inspiration, to back it all up. Taking the viewer through Smith’s life via the blues master’s own self-narrated yarn-spinning and soul-stirring musical performances, it’s a quietly candid journey that one cannot help but find uplifting, given the situations Smith endured to arrive where he is today, and thankfully so.

Smith himself makes the film so overtly enjoyable to watch, not even because it’s about him, as much as his laid-back demeanor and viewpoint on life is just so grounded and unfeigned.  Willing to lay it all out there with uncensored honesty, he very much embodies the story of so many who have come from tough goes of things, fell into bad habits that led to possible ruin, but then find the fortitude and strength to rise up above it. You hear and feel this in every earnest, heartfelt note that emanates from Smith’s harmonica via the multiple presentations he does during the film, and being moved by it is honestly a foregone conclusion. He is the kind of guy you want to hang out with because the energy, newfound joy, and blues-infused attitude just elicits attention.

In total, while proving again how much depth and engagement can be achieved in only 10 short minutes, “Let Those Blues In” is both a cautionary tale and a motivating, heartening one which should speak to those who might just find themselves in that frightening jail cell wondering what life has next, then hopefully choosing to stand up, shake that dust off, and find the better road to brighter futures, even if the cell being experienced is within themselves. Meanwhile, in the background, there’s the soulful echo of the blues wafting through the air. Let it in, folks, let it in.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!


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