“It’s a lonely street I walk. And my soul is all worn off. Here comes the fear. When you’re out here on your own. And everything you loved is gone. Oh no, not me, not meant to be. It ain’t easy.”
These are lyrics from “It Ain’t Easy”, taken from Steven Tyler’s 2016 debut solo album We’re All Somebody From Somewhere. The song comes off as a broken-hearted love song, but the lyrics seem to have some possible deeper meaning; Tyler took it on the chin from his friends, fans and Aerosmith band-mates for heading to Nashville in 2015 to pursue a solo country album. Tyler’s friction with his Aerosmith cohorts over the years is well documented. He made a bold move heading to Nashville to live and create new music. Now read those lyrics again.
Tyler, an artist known for going all the way in his musical endeavors, moved to Nashville and began writing with Marti Frederiksen, Jaren Johnston, Nathan Barlowe, Chris DeStefano, and David Hodges (amongst others). Frederiksen has had a long-standing working relationship with Aerosmith, and that connection brought Frederiksen’s current project Loving Mary Band into the mix. Loving Mary features Frederiksen along with Andrew MacTaggart, Suzie McNeil, Rebecca-Lynn Howard, Elisha Hoffman, Sarah Tomek and Jenee Fleenor – these musicians are Steven Tyler’s current band.
Tyler invited film-maker Casey Tebo to document his journey to Nashville to capture his venture into a solo country album. Tebo has also had a long-standing relationship with Tyler and Aerosmith – to the point that he was almost out of fresh ideas for working with them. He jumped at the chance to document Tyler’s new creative journey. It would be interesting to know at what point it was that Tebo realized the footage he was filming was of Tyler’s life revitalization. It’s pretty apparent from the candid footage included in Out on a Limb that Tyler enjoyed every moment of working with his Nashville collaborators, as much as they enjoyed the opportunity to create music with him. Quick little cuts showing Tyler recording in his sandals and socks and hanging in his Nashville house add some quaint personality to this documentary film.
Interviews with Suzie McNeil, Sarah Tomek, Marti Frederiksen, Jaren Johnston, Nathan Barlowe, Chris DeStefano, and David Hodges along with veteran musicians like Slash, Robert Deleo, and Tyler’s manager Rebecca Warfield sweeten the pot as they all reveal slices of insight into Steven Tyler from their experiences working with him. Filmmaker Adam Green is also included in this documentary, providing similar candour with a unique spin on how Tyler has affected his life. As Out on a Limb nears its end, the footage of Tyler interacting with his Loving Mary band-mates shows pure chemistry. What’s more, it shows a delighted Steven Tyler warmly surrounded by his surrogate Nashville family.
There is lots of live concert footage included in Out on a Limb (enough that one could call this a live concert film interspersed with interludes of documentary footage) all shot multi-camera at the legendary Ryman Theatre in Nashville. There is enough Aerosmith material included here to pull in some of Tyler’s long-standing fans, many of these tracks featuring some incredible guitaring from Marti Frederiksen and Andrew MacTaggart.
If this is what making country music looks and sounds like – sign me up!
Directed by: Casey Tebo
Distributed by: Momentum Pictures
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Run Time: 92 minutes
Check out the official Steven Tyler: Out on a Limb trailer here.