96 minutes, 2013, HD

“All the Labor”
by Dennis Pernu
April 2014
Vintage Guitar

“In October 2013, a mere month after releasing their 10th LP (and 19 years after forming), the Gourds announced that they were taking a hiatus. With the Austin, Texas, alt-country quintet’s new album (produced by Larry Campbell) barely a month old, the timing was curious. ALL THE LABOR reveals some possible reasons for the band’s sabbatical (though filming ended a year and a half before their break was announced). Shot over the course of eight months by Doug Hawes-Davis, this documentary hints at friction between the Gourds’ dynamic principle songwriters, Kevin Russell and Jimmy Smith, and reveals the challenges of balanc- ing growing families with touring. There’s even discussion of the band’s Napster-era cover of Snoop Dogg’s ‘Gin And Juice,’ a proto-meme that became a millstone around the band’s neck. Meanwhile, archival VHS footage provides fantastic historical context. Hawes-Davis does a fine job of capturing the Gourds’ obtuse lyricism, hell-raising live act, and music that is (we’ll refrain from the past tense) equally steeped in the Band’s musicianship, Doug Sahm’s cosmic weirdness, and ‘80s punk energy.”