The Paul

Butterfield Story

"It's such a personal instrument. It's really like a horn from the heart."

- Paul Butterfield




HORN FROM THE HEART: The Paul Butterfield Story is a feature-length documentary about the life and career of legendary blues musician Paul Butterfield. A white, teen-age harmonica player from Chicago’s south side, Paul learned the blues from the original black masters performing nightly in his own back yard. Muddy Waters was Paul’s mentor and lifelong friend, happy to share his wisdom and expertise with such a gifted young acolyte.

The interracial Paul Butterfield Blues Band, featuring the twin guitar sound of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, the rhythm section of Sam Lay and Jerome Arnold and the keyboards of Mark Naftalin, added a rock edge to the Chicago blues, bringing an authenticity to its sound that struck a chord with the vast white rock audience and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the blues. The band's first LP, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band released on Elektra Records in 1965, was named “#11 Blues Album of All Time” by Downbeat.

The only artist to perform at The Newport Folk Festival in 1965, The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969, Paul would continue to break new ground in the blues and to stand up for racial equality until his death at age 44 in 1987 of a drug overdose. Through his music and words, along with first-hand accounts of his family, his bandmates and those closest to him, HORN FROM THE HEART: The Paul Butterfield Story tells the complex story of a man many call the greatest harmonica player of all time.

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Paul's friends speak:

"The sound was ferocious. He just went for it. To be onstage with him, it was like a hurricane. It was my introduction to the idea that it’s better to reach for something and miss it than just to hold back and play it safe."
- David Sanborn
Saxophone, Butterfield Blues Band


"We were an interracial band where everybody was equal, but there were parts of the country that didn’t see it that way. People would say something to us and there were some near-confrontations with Butterfield because he would get in their face. He stood up for what he believed in."
- Buzz Feiten
Guitar, Butterfield Blues Band


"Paul was an incredible creative spirit and always kept stretching. As deep as he would go into the roots, he was always pushing the envelope of what blues could be."
- Bonnie Raitt
Recording Artist


"I ain’t bragging on us, but I didn’t see anybody that was better. And we happened to be black and white."

- Sam Lay
Drums, Paul Butterfield Blues Band


Watch the Paul Butterfield Story Trailer 


Paul Butterfield Documentary FEATURING

David Sanborn, Elvin Bishop, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Maria Muldaur, Todd Rundgren, Jac Holzman, Sam Lay, Mark Naftalin, Marshall Chess, Michael Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites, Buzz Feiten, Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, Happy Traum, Al Kooper, Clydie King, Corky Siegel, Barry Goldberg, Trevor Lawrence, Paul Shaffer, Joe Boyd, Cindy Cashdollar, Todd Rundgren, Steve Madaio, Anton Fig, Jim Rooney, James Montgomery and Bob Dylan




Sandra Warren

Executive Producer / Producer

Sandra Warren

Sandra Warren

Growing up in the 60s, Sandy was a devoted folkie until she heard The Paul Butterfield Blues Band on a sampler record released by Elektra in 1965 called “Folksong ‘65”. She was hooked on the music and later that year rushed out to buy the first full album by the group -- “The Paul Butterfield Blues Band” – and in 1966 the second album “East-West”. After that, she heard the band live on many occasions at the Café Au Go Go on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. As the years went by and other types of music captured the popular imagination, she always kept her love for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and thought that Paul Butterfield had not received the recognition he deserved. Many years later, after retiring from the full-time practice of law at a large firm in New York City, Sandy embarked on the mission of bringing a documentary about Paul Butterfield to fruition. Working closely with John Anderson, the Director of the film, she is thrilled that this film about the life and times and the brilliance of Paul Butterfield can now be appreciated by audiences at film festivals. She is grateful to all the wonderful people who have supported and participated in the creation of the film.

John Anderson

Director / Producer

John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is a Director, Editor, and Executive Producer whose work has aired on PBS, A&E, MTV, VH1, Showtime, Cinemax, HBO, FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, the BBC and elsewhere around the world. His list of directorial clients includes Warner Brothers Records, Capitol/EMI, Sanctuary Visual Entertainment, Soundstage, Image Entertainment, Rhino Home Video, Giant Records and The Walt Disney Company, and his long-form editorial work for The Oprah Winfrey Show, Nova, Kurtis Productions and others has won numerous accolades and awards.

Besides an Emmy and nine Emmy nominations, John was nominated for a Grammy for “Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE”, the platinum-selling DVD release from Warner Brothers/Rhino Home Video. The live performance DVD, which Brian Wilson hails as “a masterpiece”, marked Anderson’s fifth DVD collaboration with The Beach Boys leader, including the PBS documentary "The Beach Boys: Doin’ It Again”, which he directed, edited and co-wrote.  He produced the big-screen video content that was part of The Beach Boys’ 73-date 2012 reunion tour, and directed and filmed Brian’s performance of the title song in the 2014 biopic Love & Mercy.

The list of other musical artists he has worked with includes Pete Townshend, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Ray Davies, Jack White, Elvis Costello, John Prine, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, John Fogerty, Steve Miller, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones, John Cage and Tiny Tim.

Recent directorial projects include “Born In Chicago” and “Sam Lay In Bluesland.”

Find out more about John at www.thisisandersonproductions.com.


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