Documentary filmmaker James Szalapski explores the more contemplative side of country music as he visits a handful of outstanding singers and songwriters, most of whom have chosen work outside the confines of the Nashville establishment. Heartworn Highways features performances from Townes Van Zandt, who shows off his farm and discusses the pros and cons of drinking with a neighbor; Gamble Rogers, who demonstrates his hilarious and ingratiating performing style in a nightclub appearance; Guy Clark, who plays several fine songs in his kitchen; David Allan Coe, who discusses his criminal past during a concert at a prison; and the Charlie Daniels Band, as they gear up for a big show in a small town. Heartworn Highways also includes brief appearances from Rodney Crowell, Steve Young, and a young Steve Earle, a decade before he released his first album. While shot in 1975, Heartworn Highways wasn't released until 1981, by which time several of the performers' features had become considerably better known than they were in 1975.
by Mark Deming synopsis