Jimmy Carter: Rock ‘n’ Roll President
Directed by: Mary Wharton
USA, 2020, 96m
If it hadn’t been for a bottle of scotch and a late-night visit from musician Gregg Allman, Jimmy Carter might never have been elected the 39th President of the United States. This joyful and enlightening documentary charts the mostly forgotten story of how Carter—a lover of all types of music—forged a tight bond with musicians Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, and others. Low on campaign funds and lacking in name recognition, Carter relied on support from these artists to give him a crucial boost in the Democratic primaries. The surprisingly significant role that music played throughout Carter’s life and in his work becomes a thread in this engaging and intimate portrait. Combining rare archival footage with era-defining live performances, the film’s eclectic soundtrack includes country, gospel, jazz, rock, and soul, featuring Greg Allman, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Bono, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Nile Rodgers, Roseanne Cash, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Madeleine Albright, Andrew Young, Hunter S. Thompson, and Carter himself. Naval officer, author, poet, nuclear physicist, music-loving humanitarian, and peanut farmer from small-town Plains, Georgia—Jimmy Carter: Rock ‘n’ Roll President is one of the most fascinating biographical documentaries you’ll ever see.