"It's such a personal instrument. It's really like a horn from the heart."
- Paul Butterfield
The Paul Butterfield Story is a feature-length documentary about the life and career of legendary blues musician Paul Butterfield. A white, teen-age harmonica player from Chicago’s south side, Paul learned the blues from the original black masters performing nightly in his own back yard. Muddy Waters was Paul’s mentor and lifelong friend, happy to share his wisdom and expertise with such a gifted young acolyte.
The interracial Paul Butterfield Blues Band, featuring the twin guitar sound of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, the rhythm section of Sam Lay and Jerome Arnold and the keyboards of Mark Naftalin, added a rock edge to the Chicago blues, bringing an authenticity to its sound that struck a chord with the vast white rock audience and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the blues. The band's first LP, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band released on Elektra Records in 1965, was named “#11 Blues Album of All Time” by Downbeat.
The only artist to perform at The Newport Folk Festival in 1965, The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969, Paul would continue to break new ground in the blues and to stand up for racial equality until his death at age 44 in 1987 of a drug overdose. Through his music and words, along with first-hand accounts of his family, his bandmates and those closest to him, HORN FROM THE HEART: The Paul Butterfield Story tells the complex story of a man many call the greatest harmonica player of all time.
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
PAUL'S FRIENDS SPEAK:
"The sound was ferocious. He just went for it. To be onstage with him, it was like a hurricane. It was my introduction to the idea that it’s better to reach for something and miss it than just to hold back and play it safe."
- David Sanborn
Saxophone, Butterfield Blues Band
"We were an interracial band where everybody was equal, but there were parts of the country that didn’t see it that way. People would say something to us and there were some near-confrontations with Butterfield because he would get in their face. He stood up for what he believed in."
- Buzz Feiten
Guitar, Butterfield Blues Band
"Paul was an incredible creative spirit and always kept stretching. As deep as he would go into the roots, he was always pushing the envelope of what blues could be."
- Bonnie Raitt
In The Press:
“While the last third of Butterfield’s life is tragic, spending the better part of 90 minutes with the man and his music is exhilarating. The picture may get at least a few people talking about him again.” - Glenn Kenny, NEW YORK TIMES CRITIC’S PICK
“Horn From the Heart is an enlightening look at an under-documented musician.” - David Browne, Rolling Stone
“But a corrective is at hand in the form of John Anderson’s fine documentary… It’s full of music that makes the case for its subject’s pre-eminence—he played with the intensity of a highest-category hurricane—and has an interesting slant on the issue of cultural appropriation.” - Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
“In the pantheon of deceased rock ’n’ roll superstars that includes Jimi Hendrix Janis Joplin, John Lennon, and Jim Morrison, there’s little mention of blues maestro Paul Butterfield, the subject of John Anderson’s moving documentary.” - Peter Keough, The Boston Globe
“Anderson does the Butterfield legacy a service with Horn from the Heart.” - Jeff Johnson, Chicago Sun-Times
“The film is a worthy celebration to the legacy of a Chicago bluesman whose influence on modern music cannot be underestimated.” - Daniel Patton, Reel Chicago
“This sort of meteoric rise is custom made for a documentary, and Horn From the Heart has all the right elements that lend themselves to a compelling story… a must-see for music fans.” - Paul Percellin, Film Threat