Laurel Canyon Is an Essential Look at the California Folk Scene of the ’60s

Culture

Concert season is definitively cancelled, but a new documentary series is offering a unique look at some of the best music acts of a generation. Directed by Allison Ellwood, Laurel Canyon focuses on the Los Angeles enclave where a counter-cultural social and musical scene blossomed, and the talents of stars like Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Jim Morrison flourished. Ellwood, who directed the documentaries History of the Eagles, Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place, and The Go-Go’s (airing on Showtime in August), accessed rare footage and recordings and conducted new interviews with Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Don Henley, Michelle Phillips, and Jackson Brown for the series.

which was slated to premiere at this year’s South by Southwest festival,

Ellwood depicts a world that feels like a lifetime ago—a period where Eric Clapton and Joni Mitchell met for the first time at a barbecue hosted by Mama Cass, and the Beatles were acolytes of Little Richard. The volume of art created within the area can’t be overstated. Nor could the multitude of collaborations—personal and professional—that began in the mountainside backyards and living rooms be contained. Crosby Stills Nash and Young’s “Our House” was written about Mitchell’s Laurel Canyon home, which was a social center for the various members of the band while Nash was living there with her.

Here, in an exclusive clip, Michelle Phillips and photographer Nurit Wilde talk about her departure from the Mamas and the Papas and the myth surrounding free love for women.

Lauren Canyon premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on EPIX.

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