Beautifully photographed and engagingly pleasant, “The Sea in Between” nonetheless offers as much insight and critical analysis as one of those promotional musicvideo DVDs typically packaged with a recording act’s CD. Pic spotlights alt-folk singer-songwriter Josh Garrels as he and a pickup band enjoy the hospitality of a fan, Blayne Johnson, who invites the musicians to relax and record at his Mayne Island home off the British Columbia coast. The music and overall mellow mood probably will appeal more to homevid renters and downstreamers than to ticketbuying auds.Much of the pic is devoted to live performances — ranging from traditional tunes (“Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor”) to Garrels-penned originals (“Bread & Wine” is the standout) — at various scenic locales on the island. Garrels, whose growly vocals are an acquired taste, fleetingly alludes to an edgier, more obsessive side of his personality while recounting an apparently stormy courtship with his wife, Michelle (who also performs with his group). More often, though, he comes off as a singularly laid-back fellow who’s deeply grateful for the chance to play music he loves with collaborators he respects in a comfy environment.
A Mason Jar Music production in association with the Johnson Family, Josh Garrels. Produced by Daniel Knobler, Jonathan Seale. Executive producers, Doug Forster, Frank Giustra, Blayne Johnson, John Mackay, David Lyall. Directed by Matt Porter. Written by Porter, Ryan Patch, Jonathan Seale.
Camera (color), Andrew Michael Ellis; editor, Ryan Patch; music production, Seale, Daniel Knobler; sound, Seale; associate producer, Patch. Reviewed online, Houston, Feb. 10, 2013. Running time: 81 MIN.
Josh Garrels, Michelle Garrels, Blayne Johnson, Sharon Johnson, Jay Kirkpatrick, Gabriel Gall, Russell Durham, Char Prescott, Jason Burger, Chad Lefkowitz, Matt Porter, Dan Knobler.