Buddy Guy’s storied career and his work to share the blues with younger generations are highlighted in the new trailer for the upcoming documentary, The Torch, set to open in select theaters March 18.
The Torch, as director Jim Farrell tells Rolling Stone, was inspired by a pact that Guy made with one of his mentors and predecessors, Muddy Waters: “Last man standing, don’t let the blues die.” To that end, the film does dig into Guy’s biography, but it also showcases all the work he’s put in as a mentor to upstart guitarists like Quinn Sullivan and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, teaching them just as Waters and Howlin’ Wolf taught him.
“Our aim in The Torch was to showcase Buddy’s brilliance and collaborative generosity onstage, while also achieving a fly on the wall intimacy for those backstage moments where he shares his vast life experiences,” Farrell says. “Like Derek Trucks says, ‘I always look forward to getting just whatever time we can with him because you walk away and you feel like there’s been this amazing knowledge dropped on you.’ The Torch shows how both onstage and off, Buddy’s dedication to young talent is truly unprecedented.”
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On Guy’s unique relationship with Sullivan — who first played with Guy when he was seven — Farrell adds, “He never told Quinn what to play or how to play it. He simply shared his stage and audience and gave Quinn enough leash to figure it out on his own. A lot of artists promote the younger generation, and Buddy has done it with other artists, but I’d never heard of anyone doing it to this level. He brought Quinn around the world for more than 10 years and put him on some of the biggest stages, without any expectation of payback.”
The Torch will also feature some new music from Guy, a track called “The Long, Hard Road.” The song came about after Farrell asked Guy’s producer, Tom Hambridge, if the musician would be interested in creating an original song that, as Farrell put it, “captures the spirit of their relationship and the lessons Buddy is trying to teach Quinn… Somehow, I managed to convince the investors to fund the song. I should’ve been laughed out of the room. Not only is the song perfect for the film, but the creation of it also became an essential part of the story.”