Streaming Review: ABC News’ “Jelly Roll: Save Me” is a Heartbreaking and Inspiring Look at a Musician’s Journey

There have been countless stories about musicians and entertainers who have fought through impossible, dark pasts in order to reach a level of stardom. While many of those stories have been told in a wide variety of media, few have allowed so many to connect with their subject than the story of Jelly Roll.

Jelly Roll: Save Me gives viewers an unfettered inside look as Jelly Roll prepares and performs for his devoted fans on the biggest tour date of his career, Nashville’s famed Bridgestone Arena in his hometown. Featuring exclusive access, never-before-seen tour footage, and interviews with the musician and those closest to him, the documentary reveals a raw and unflinching artist, incarcerated as a teen and adult, now using the power of his platform to raise awareness and funds for at-risk youth across the country.

The first thing to point out about this new documentary is that you certainly don’t have to like his music, or even country music as a whole, to enjoy or connect with his story. ABC News’ new doc is so expertly crafted and Jelly Roll is so magnetic, the audience is instantly drawn in and held until the credits roll.

Of course, the story itself plays a big part in that. Hearing of Jelly Roll’s rise from being a troubled youth, in and out of jail, struggling with addiction and his mental health, is an incredibly emotional experience. And then it gets taken to a different level when the audience is introduced to those who have been struggling with the same afflictions and have been affected by his music. And it’s not just one, emotionally charged moment. It happens again and again and each and every time it will have viewers on the edge of tears.

On top of telling this incredibly emotional story though, this new documentary also gives a great inside look at the life of a musician on the road. Seeing Jelly Roll living his life while on tour and preparing for the biggest shows of his life is a lot of fun, but where this doc really separates itself is in the behind-the-scenes looks at his songwriting process. It’s fascinating to see Jelly Roll and his team putting these songs together, especially after seeing what an impact they could eventually have on the lives of millions of people.

And even with all of that going on, the documentary builds anticipation as it leads up to a big climax: Jelly Roll’s big concert at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. In that way, Jelly Roll: Save Me plays more like a feature film than it does a documentary. And that is where the success of this new doc lies. It tells a beautiful story of a successful musician who fought his way up form nothing, found success and gives back in every way he possibly can, while still carrying all the real world weight and emotion of a documentary.

Jelly Roll sums up this new documentary with one beautiful quote: “I spent a lot of years destroying. I want to spend a lot of future years building.” Jelly Roll: Save Me is a heartbreaking and inspiring look at the journey of a musician who rose up from a troubled past and found success. It’s emotionally driven and absolutely gripping from start to finish. Whether you’re a huge fan of his music or you’ve never heard of him until now, Jelly Roll: Save Me is a great watch.

Jelly Roll: Save Me begins streaming Tuesday, May 30th, only on Hulu.