It's more than likely that you recognise the name of Nebraskan record company Saddle Creek because of the output of one man. Conor Oberst, aka Bright Eyes, America's 'new Bob Dylan', whose recent astronomical rise from angst peddling cult hero to Glasto headlining, president baiting superstar has helped to raise their profile no end.
At one point during this documentary, a party is held to celebrate his Lifted album selling 100,000 copies: who knows what the piss up looked like when he recently topped the billboard charts and blew most of the music press away with double albums I'm wide Away It's Morning and Digital Ash in A Digital Urn.
But this is not the story of one man, more the tale of the true meaning of an independent record label: one whose mates make up 80% of the roster and is run by the same guys which formed it at school (as part of an end of term business project) and who have only recently expanded from the small mid-western town which kicked the whole thing off.
In the heavily saturated US market, where the major labels fight each other for the next global superstar or chart-topping idol, Saddle Creek's story of refreshing true to the motives which should form the basis for everyone who takes a career in music: put records out from bands you love, don't worry about the money or fame and if it happens it happens.
Fortunately for co-founders Rob Nansel and Justin Oberst, it has, albeit mainly from bands which, minus little brother Conor, have made only a minor imprint into the sturdy mould of commercial music, but still represent some of the most intriguing and diverse music coming out of America today. From eighties influenced dance indie hybrids The Faint, to emo progressives Cursive or the quirky pop of Rilo Kiley, Saddle Creek have managed to keep things simple, if it sounds good then release it.
An Evening With... is named after the first showcase night put on by the label, featuring Oberst as a geeky teenager, thick glasses and woolly jumpers taking some of the edge off his angst ridden post-punk outfit, Commander Venus. Described by Rob as 'kinda like a big event', it was a sold-out local band night, typical of the Saddle Creek ethic and helped to catapult the label from the small-town Lumberjack records to a major player in the alternative, independent music scene.
By taking music which this community of artists all saw as distinctive and ground-breaking, allowing it to be released onto the independent market and maintaining a DIY, home-grown ethic, Saddle Creek managed to prosper despite the attraction of poaching major labels and unforeseen successes like Bright Eyes, becoming billboard material and lighting up the tortured hearts of millions of disillusioned teenagers.
When the opportunity for The Faint to re-release their album on a major label arose, the and are refreshing level-headed: "We could have taken the millions of dollars...which would be pretty nice, but what do we need that for?" explains Todd Baechle.
It's an attitude which permeates the Saddle Creek way, and An Evening With... puts across the message in the simplest way possible: tell the story how it was and is, showcase the founding talent and new prospects (the film ends with a short introduction to all the artists previously not mentioned) and leave out the pretence and music industry bullshit.
Oberst sums up the entire ethic of Saddle Creek: 'As long as your feeling satisfied with what your doing creatively that's the best you can hope for/maybe people will like it maybe they won't'. Whether this attitude can be maintained as he, and the label continue to grow, only time will tell. But on the evidence of An Evening With... Saddle Creek looks likely to maintain its status as a glowing examples of how record labels should be.