ALL THE LABOR is a documentary by Montana filmmaker Doug Hawes-Davis that takes aim at the elusive, ever-moving target that is The Gourds. Comprised of candid conversations, blazing performances, on-tour media interviews and insight from friends and family, the film captures the unbreakable backbeat and creative spark of “the national band of Austin”.
Filmed over the course of eight months and featuring archival footage shot nearly two decades previously, ALL THE LABOR is itself the product of an unconventional yet uniquely fitting collaboration.
Hawes-Davis, a veteran documentary filmmaker with 30 titles to his credit, has made a career of explaining the virtually unexplainable in his films. He mapped out a thicket of environmental degradation, corporate secrecy and human health problems spanning generations in LIBBY, MONTANA.Â He examined two centuries of cultural warfare played out through the plight of American bison in FACING THE STORM: STORY OF THE AMERICAN BISON.
Little of that prepared him for the challenge of chasing five middle-aged men around the country in a beat-up tour van, trying to capture the mystique of their musical collaboration.
“As a filmmaker, I am most attracted to subjects that aren’t easy to put in a box; the same is true for my musical tastes,” said Hawes-Davis, an avid music fan with a record collection that numbers in the thousands. “The passion that people all over the country have for The Gourds serves as evidence that they’ve tapped into something really powerful and unique. The fact that it is hard to describe doesn’t mean it can’t be understood. So that is what I set out to do – gain an understanding of what this band is all about and share that with film and music fans.”