(director/writer: William Wages; screenwriter: Phillip Bellury; cinematographer: Paul Krumper; editor: Cindy Parisotto; music: Arturo Sandoval; cast: Beau Bridges (Claude Allen), Rob Mayes (Wayne Collins), Sam Hennings (Ray), TJ Power (Ray), Lee Brice (Lamont Johnson), Sandra Lee-Oian Thomas (Pepper Dewberry), Jennifer Bowles (Ginny Collins), Pam Tillis (Self), Wilbur Fitzgerald (Buck Bates); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Stratton Leopold; Mountain Movies; 2024)

“The story is underwhelming, but the country music’s not bad.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The former cinematographer, director of commercials and of TV documentaries, William Wages, directs and co-writes with Phillip Bellury this feel-good country musical/drama about following your dreams and taking advantage of second chances.

It stars Beau Bridges, Jeff’s older brother, who plays a once legendary fictional country singer, Claude Allen, who has grown old and has dropped out of the limelight because of his drinking issues. He squandered his earnings and now lives alone in a humble shack from his childhood in rural Georgia.

In a Nashville roadhouse, aspiring country singers Wayne Collins (Rob Mayes) and his brother Lloyd (T.J. Power) perform on stage the song they wrote together, “The Neon Highway.” Afterwards a record company agent chooses to make a solo recording deal with Wayne.  On the way home, the brothers have a spat and there’s a traffic accident killing Lloyd.

Fifteen years later Wayne is married to Ginny (Jennifer Bowles) and they have two sons. He works as an installer for a telecommunication company. While putting cable into Claude’s home, he befriends the music legend and plays his song for him. Claude likes the song, and they shake hands to become recording partners for the song. They both go to Nashville, where Claude plans on using his clout with the record companies to get the song recorded. But things go wrong until they go right.

It’s a minor film. The story is underwhelming, but the country music’s not bad.

It was shot in Columbus, Georgia.

  REVIEWED ON 4/6/2024  GRADE: B-