When their plane from Los Angeles to New York is grounded on the morning of September 11, 2001, strangers Elliott (Joe Purdy) and Joni (Amber Rubarth) are unexpectedly thrust together amidst the chaos of that historic day. With little in common but both needing to get to NYC urgently, they accept help from Joni's family friend Scottie (Krisha Fairchild) who lends the duo a rusty old 1972 Chevy Van. The shock and stress of 9/11 quickly threatens to derail their cross country journey until the pair discover what they do have in common: a love for old folk songs.
Armed with a pile of guitars left in the van from Scottie's touring days, Elliott and Joni raise their voices together (and with those they meet on the road), re-discovering the healing nature of music and bearing witness to a nation of people who, even while mourning, manage to lift each other up in the wake of tragedy. With a refreshing gentleness and beauty, American Folk lovingly chronicles the spaces between the suffering and fear, where music has the power to connect. Purdy and Rubarth give nuanced and thoughtful performances, with voices that are uplifting and achingly gorgeous.
Filmed over 3,500 miles in 14 states, American Folk serves as a love letter to the natural beauty of America, to the style of music that has shepherded us through historically tough times and to the kindness of all of the "folk" that make America what it is. The integral accompanying soundtrack features performances from the award-winning film's stars Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth plus recordings from John Prine, Jerry Garcia, and David Grisman.