American Masters (2011 Season) – Troubadours: Carole King/James Taylor & The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter


Air date: 03/02/2011

American Masters


Troubadours: Carole King / James Taylor & The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter




Carole King



In 1971, King gave us the landmark Tapestry. The album received a Diamond Award from the RIAA for sales of more than 10 million units in the U.S., with more than 25 million units sold worldwide. King was the first woman to win four GRAMMY® Awards in one year (Best Album, Best Song, Best Record, and Best Vocal Performance in 1972) a feat unsurpassed for more than 25 years, and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 1973. In 1987, King and Gerry Goffin were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and honored with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988. Goffin and King were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and were honored by The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2004 with the GRAMMY® Trustees’ Award. To date, more than 400 Carole King compositions have been recorded by more than 1000 artists, resulting in more than 100 hit singles – many reaching #1. She is arguably the most successful and revered female songwriter in pop music history. Carole King has released 25 solo albums, the most recent being The Living Room Tour double-live CD and companion DVD, entitled Welcome to My Living Room on her own Rockingale Records label.


James Taylor



Over the course of his career, James Taylor has sold more than 40 million albums, and won more than 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards as well as five GRAMMY® Awards. Taylor’s first Greatest Hits album earned him the RIAA’s elite Diamond Award, given for sales in excess of 10 million units in the United States. In 2000, Taylor was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In February 2006, The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences named Taylor its MUSICARES Person of the Year.  Taylor’s CD/DVD One Man Band (2007) was nominated for an Emmy and his 2008 album, Covers, was nominated for two GRAMMY® Awards. He most recently released Other Covers in April 2009.



Morgan Neville



Morgan Neville is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who specializes in cultural subjects. Through a series on films on important musical topics (including The Brill Building, Sun Records, Iggy Pop, Brian Wilson, Leiber & Stoller, James Brown and Burt Bacharach), Neville has sought to document the stories of songwriters and producers who helped shape 20th century music. Neville has been nominated for three Grammys for his music films: Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story and Muddy Waters Can’t Be Satisfied, Johnny Cash’s America and won an Emmy for Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues.


Neville’s non-music related films include the award-winning feature Shotgun Freeway: Drives Thru Lost L.A., an examination of the meaning of history in the City of Angels.  In 2007, Neville finished the award-winning film The Cool School, a documentary about the Ferus Gallery and birth of the Los Angeles modern art scene. Neville is now working on a film about the mystery writer Raymond Chandler and his cultural impact, entitled The Simple Art of Murder.



Eddie Schmidt



Eddie Schmidt is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker, writer/producer and commentator, as well as the Board President of the International Documentary Association (IDA). Feature credits include producing, co-writing, and shooting the irreverent IFC documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated, producing and shooting HBO’s powerful Twist of Faith (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award), and producing the groundbreaking teenage tapestry Chain Camera. All three films were released theatrically and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

For TV, Schmidt has directed, produced and written documentary and comedy specials and series for HBO, IFC, Lionsgate, PBS, A&E, E!, Current, GSN, and Adult Swim. As a pundit, Schmidt has been seen on G4, MSNBC and IFC, featured in the Starz/Encore documentaries In the Gutter and Sex and the Cinema, and heard on NPR’s This American Life.  Since 2009, Schmidt has served as President of the Board of Directors of IDA, a nonprofit community and resource for documentary filmmakers.

Recently, Schmidt was Executive Producer of the comedic documentary Candyman, a bittersweet tale of the deposed inventor of the Jelly Belly jellybean.  Follow all things Schmidty on Twitter (@Eddie_Schmidt).



Susan Lacy

Series Creator and Executive Producer


Susan Lacy has been an award-winning originator of primetime public television programs since 1979. As the creator and executive producer of American Masters, she has been responsible for the production and national broadcast of more than 160 documentary films about our country’s artistic and cultural giants, those who have made an indelible impact on the American landscape. Now celebrating its 25th season on PBS, American Masters has garnered unprecedented awards and is consistently recognized by television critics as “the best biographical series ever to appear on American television.”

In addition to her executive producing role, Lacy is an award-winning filmmaker. Her 2004 Judy Garland: By Myself earned her an Emmy award for writing and an Emmy nomination for directing.  She wrote, directed and produced Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind (IDA nomination for Outstanding Documentary) and Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note (Emmy award and DGA nomination).  She produced the Peabody award-winning Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time, directed and produced Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval, and directed and produced Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice – all for American Masters. She recently produced LENNONYC, a film exploring John Lennon’s life in New York City, and is currently directing a film on David Geffen.

Under her leadership, American Masters received the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 as well as 14 other Primetime Emmy awards – five for Outstanding Nonfiction Specials and the other nine in various craft categories.  In addition to nine Peabody awards for John Hammond: From Bessie Smith to Bruce Springsteen, Unknown Chaplin, Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow, Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time, Alexander Calder, F. Scott Fitzgerald: Winter Dreams, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film, and Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About,  she received Grammy awards for Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, 28  additional Emmy nominations, an Academy Award and four nominations.

Lacy’s career in public television began in 1979, as deputy director of performance programs at Thirteen/WNET New York.  She was senior program executive for Great Performances and worked as director of program development with The American Playhouse, where she was a founding member.  Lacy then ran the East Coast office of Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute from 1984 to 1987.  She was a consulting producer at Time-Life Video during the launch of Time-Warner’s new initiatives in long-form documentary production.  Lacy also led programs at both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Lacy was one of the select 2005 honorees at the Museum of Television & Radio’s “She Made It” event, which recognized 50 exceptional women who have created and informed the genre, and a 2008 Washington, DC Women of Vision Awards recipient, honoring those in film and video who inspire and mentor. She was again honored in Washington, DC in 2010 as the recipient of the Cine Golden Eagle Lifetime Achievement Award. She serves on the board of governors of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, on the board of the Film Forum and is a trustee of the Independent Documentary Association.  Lacy is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, the Independent Features Project and New York Women in Film & Television.

Lacy has a BA in American Studies from the University of Virginia, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an MA in American Studies from George Washington University.  She was a Graduate Teaching Fellow, a Smithsonian Fellow and completed a residency at the American Academy in Rome.  In 1994, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Long Island University and in 1996, she was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year at Mary Washington College, the women’s college of the University of Virginia.