Music from the Big House -- From acclaimed director Bruce McDonald comes a rare, musical documentary starring award-winning recording Blues artist Rita Chiarelli and the inmates of Angola Prison. Not since Johnny Cash took stage at Folsom Prison has the love of music promised humanity and redemption to men serving life sentences for crimes as heinous a murder, rape and armed robbery.
With a deeply rooted legacy of great Blues music, Angola s bloody history can not dissuade Rita s personal pilgrimage to recover the talent and desperate voices of the musicians within. Commanding an audience of some 800 inmates with family and country folk cobbled in, Rita raises the roof in a collaborative jailhouse performance with men who have little else to live for. It is history written anew thanks to Warden Burl Cain s progressive, if not controversial, rehabilitation programs.
The prison s music program has offered hope to inmates like Ray Jones, a man who rather be remembered for his days singing disco in the 70 s. But he ll never leave with his murder rap. He s since found God, and devotes himself to the legal studies that might help other inmates with their cases. Above all he s found his voice, but as only one out of the 5000 inmate voices, Ray takes the stage again to have his full potential felt and heard.
Steeped with hope and imploring for forgiveness, these remarkable voices guide on the journey of men and their bands in quest for redemption. What was once just about the Blues now becomes a life changing experience for Rita. Be swept away by one of Blues most soulful pilgrim daughters, and discover the promise and escape of music.
One woman, four bands, two hours of the Blues. It s time to make a new soundtrack.