After some completely unreasonable fanboy harassing over the past couple of days, the good people at Barnes & Noble finally received my “Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon” DVD today. Obviously, I booked it downtown and snatched it out of the salesperson’s hands right after my Finance exam. I then proceeded to make some popcorn and sit in front of my Mac for two hours watching intently.
The documentary starts off with the viewer meeting just about every Followill family member except for the band. Director Stephen Mitchell features interviews with Followill patriarch, Ivan, who chronicles the hardships he and his family faced during his time as a Pentecostal revival preacher. By doing so, Mitchell sets up a real rags-to-riches storyline which makes the band and their music seem all the more genuine.
The entire doc dips in and out of the annual family reunion in Oklahoma where the clan resides in woodland shacks while enjoying the simple life. Whether it’s wading around looking for crawfish, tossing horseshoes or taking baths in the river, viewers witness the band and their family travel back to their roots.
Mitchell also uses family home video to lend some authenticity and historical context to his work. Throughout the hour and a half, he is constantly shifting between the present day and footage of young Caleb and Nathan testing out their chops on local television.
As alluded to earlier, religion was a prominent theme for Caleb, Nathan and Jared as they grew up. The boys were only allowed to use TV so they could play Atari. One of the more comical moments comes from Caleb explaining how he and Nathan rigged the television set so they could watch “Sesame Street” after their parents dozed off. Mother Betty Ann describes the religious undertones quite often in the doc as she struggled with her sons becoming rock stars.
Over the course of the documentary, the band partakes in heated debates, soul-searching and a few drunken/drugged up escapades. But for the most part, they affirm the strong ties they have with their family and the people who got them where they are today. Ultimately, “Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon” gives us what any good rock doc should: the stories that shaped the music.