Tune in to any classic rock radio at any given day and it’s likely you’ll hear an Aerosmith ballad. Next thing you know, it’s reeling you into car karaoke. So infectious, so energetic. Lead singer Steven Tyler is sort of that way, too. At 70 years old, there’s no stopping him. He’s come a long way from the rowdy early days of Aerosmith and is looking to spread his wings and welcome a new musical vitality, a new passion route like nothing before— country music. Steven Tyler: Out on a Limb documents the singer’s journey of self-discovery, his country roots personality, and his new lease on the music landscape. These behind the scene quirks blend seamlessly into live concert footage of his Out on a Limb tour at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, where he now calls home. A concert film in its own right, this documentary has a lot to admire, root for, and engage with.
Directed by former Aerosmith roadie, Casey Tebo, the film features his friendship with Steven, talking head interviews of industry peers such as Slash and Robert DeLeo, and Steven’s bond with Nashville-based Loving Mary Band as they tour his solo album ‘We’re All Somebody from Somewhere.’ After hearing stories of band conflicts you’re met with wildly spirited performances of Steven’s newest album throughout the film. It’s his antidote to industry wrath and negative energy, things the legendary singer-songwriter no doubt experienced in his 30 years with Aerosmith. His constant willingness to create and perform become second nature and his move to Nashville proves to be one of the best things in the documentary. The collaboration with Loving Mary Band is highlighted in the second half as we lean more into discovered roots and how the sound of country music has become the basis for Steven’s new creative freedom.
Whether his solo country album is your cup of tea or not, the performances featured from the concert are quite alive and eerily nostalgic, thanks in part to his unmatchable rockin’ voice. And that’s another thing: his voice, grounded in its raspy, soulful glory, almost hasn’t aged as he reaches the high note of Dream On in this concert. He’s still so dedicated to the songs as if it’s still Aerosmith’s career peak and that’s what keeps the documentary moving along. Steven can only be true to himself and so sparks the continuing ride of forming new ties and solidifying his vow to make roots in Music City. For those craving to see more about the singer and the ins and outs of his career that led to this album, it’s a nice glimpse. The doc is also a pleasant enough portrait that will bring in long-time fans of his into welcoming this new angle of his life.
Steven Tyler: Out on a Limb is a lively, vibrant showcase of the singer’s personal career, offering insight to his love of life, people, music, and calling these passions home. There’s no denying the appeal of someone so intent on molding their forever happy environment and finding the grounds to stand by it. If nothing else, this documentary helps fixate the notion that life experiences carry so much weight on who we are and sometimes it’s worth it to break out of your norm and leap into something new. Steven Tyler’s new story is not necessarily a groundbreaking one but it’s definitely here to please and inspire, and that gets some respect.
Directed by: Casey Tebo