Jonah Levin is a veteran singer/songwriter whose career is at a crossroads. There isn't much of an audience for his quiet, melodic ballads, and he has to produce an album or go under. Levin's mate wants a divorce; she can't accept his continued life on the road away from her and their young son. Thanks to the wife of a big-time record executive, the aging musician gets a chance to cut an LP. However, he is assigned a producer who wants to jazz up his music to make it Top-40 material. It's time for a decision which will determine Levin's future.
Paul Simon's screenplay seems a bit lightweight but his evocative songs help compensate for its inadequacies. The film does offer as satirical look at the music business especially the "Salute to the 60s" night at a record convention where aging performers of the past are honored. In another scene, Levin and his band concoct a game naming dead rock stars. Director Robert M. Young (Rich Kids) is expert at drawing the best out of his actors and actresses, including Blair Brown as Levin's wife, Allen Goorwitz as a dunderhead AM promotion man, Rip Torn as a cool executive, and Joan Hacket as his bored wife.
The soundtrack for One-Trick Pony, available on Warner Brothers Records, is superb. Best cuts are the rousing "Ace in the Hole," the beautiful ballad "How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns," and "Late in the Evening," a mini-history of pop music.