“Blaze” – ★ ★ ★ The great singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt used to say there are two kinds of music: the blues and zip-a-dee-doo-dah. Both are on full, florid display in “Blaze,” an absorbing, illuminating film about the late musician Blaze Foley. Foley isn’t a household name; he’s best known as the subject of Van Zandt’s song “Blaze’s Blues” and Lucinda Williams’ “Drunken Angel.” But Foley comes charmingly, maddeningly into his own by way of a masterful title performance by Arkansas-Philly musician Ben Dickey.Inspired by “Living in the Woods in a Tree,” a memoir by Foley’s wife, Sybil Rosen, “Blaze” chronicles the couple’s love affair, Foley’s promising but often self-sabotaging career and, finally, his death in 1989.Directed by Ethan Hawke from a script he wrote with Rosen, “Blaze” is structured around a radio interview in which Van Zandt (played to near perfection by Austin guitarist Charlie Sexton) and a composite sideman character named Zee (Josh Hamilton) recall their colleague’s influence. Toggling between the interview and flashbacks to Foley’s final show, which turned into the recording “Live at the Austin Outhouse,” Hawke tells the story in impressionistic swoops.For the most part, the story is one of once-charmed, now-wistful romance, as a… Read full this story
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