The documentary opens with the trio consisting of Mark Wystrach, Jess Carson and Cameron Duddy heading on stage in March of 2020 for a massively packed-out stadium show dressed in their distinctive vintage cowboy, bedazzled garb. It immediately cuts to six years ago, when the band first came together on what was supposed to be a 10-day recording session at the famed Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas.
It’s done almost completely in black and white, and offers a revealing glimpse into the early days of Midland. The origin of the band has been questioned before, so this documentary gives fans a raw look at how it all actually came together.
They touch on this a little bit in the documentary, citing that all three members of the band did have other careers prior to meeting up for their first recording session. The three friends each had songs and ideas they thought would be better served with the weight of each of their individual talents behind this particular music.
One of the funniest moments is a somewhat heated exchange between frontman Mark Wystrach and bass player Cameron Duddy during their recording of “Texas Is the Last Stop.” Wystrach couldn’t seem to get the two words “all” and “though” on the right beat of the song, and Duddy tries to help him over and over again to no avail. He eventually leaves the booth in order to give Wystrach some breathing room, as tensions continue to grow.
They also dig into a little bit of Wystrachs’ personal life, which appeared to be a mess at the time, and they each discuss their own fears about how this music would be received. At one point, Duddy questions how they might do within the bounds of the country music industry because of their sound:
“We have to go big, you know, and hope that everything lines up for us. It’s a little foolish to think that, you know, Midland’s gonna change everything and make traditional country music popular again.
I just don’t… I’m too old to think that things like that happen anymore.”
They show a montage of various scenes and accomplishments that have happened since the band’s taken off, including raw footage of the touching moment when Reba called to inform them they’d won the ACM for New Country Group of The Year in 2018. Over the past six years, they’ve gone on to sell out large venues and even perform at stadiums, appear on countless award shows, and make national TV appearances.
If you’re looking for a cool, real version of Midland’s story told from the band’s own perspective, this is it. While they may not have gotten their start in the “traditional” way so many country artists do, like touring small bars and honky-tonks, their love for telling real stories and country music is obvious when you watch this. The album, which is also serves as the accompanying soundtrack for the film, is definitely worth checking out too. It features some of the rough cuts from that very first recording session at the Sonic Ranch.
You can watch the documentary in its entirety here: