When Jimmy Carter ran for president in 1976, few gave him a chance to win, as the name of the former Georgia governor meant nothing to most Americans. Although many factors played a role in his eventual victory, music was one of the most important. In fact, Carter’s campaign received considerable support from some the most popular artists of the time: The Allman Brothers Band, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash. Carter became friends with many of them and maintained friendly relations with them for many years to come. This wasn’t just posturing for the election: music has always played a significant role in Carter’s life and has enabled him to form close connections with people. Based on anecdotes and recollections, Mary Wharton’s documentary is a colorful portrayal of one of the most intriguing—and least embarrassing—US presidents. And, in the process, it provides answers to some lingering questions: How did Carter the candidate win the hearts of independent musicians? How does rock ’n’ roll mix with politics without losing credibility? And who did Willie Nelson smoke joints with at the White House?
Mary Wharton is an American documentary filmmaker and producer, as well as the daughter of the blues musician Bill Wharton. She has been making films about music since the beginning of her career. She won a 2004 Grammy Award for Best Music Film in her role as the producer of Legend, a biopic about the soul star Sam Cooke. She has worked on music videos and television documentaries. Her full-length debut, Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President, premiered at this year’s Tribeca Festival.
2009 American Masters: Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound (doc.)
2020 Jimmy Carter: rockandrollowy prezydent / Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President (doc.)