Perhaps consider this a bit of a spoiler post, at least musically. So if you want to go in blind to John Hillcoat‘s prohibition drama “Lawless,” we suggest you divert your eyes now. For the rest of you still with us, man, the soundtrack to “Lawless” is just one more reason to get excited for the film which lands on August 29th. By now you know it boasts an incredible cast including Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman, Shia LaBeouf and Jason Clarke. You also know that the score was written by longtime Hillcoat collaborators Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, who wrote the haunting scores for “The Proposition,” “The Road” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (the multi-hyphenate Cave, an author, also wrote the “Lawless” screenplay).
What we didn’t know was that their musical contributions to the film would be more than something just poignantly doleful as is their wont. It appears that Cave and Ellis did much more than writing a score. They orchestrated a musical attack by enlisting artists like Mark Lanegan (ex-The Screaming Trees and occassional Queens Of The Stone Age collaborator), American jazz musician Wayne Bergeron, Emmylou Harris, and American bluegrass icon Ralph Stanley, and had them take on anachronistic covers by The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed, country folk singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, departed rock guitarist Fred Lincoln Wray Jr., and even one track written by Jason Lytle of aughts conceptual indie-rockers Grandaddy.
Most of the original songs in the film are written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis and the covers are mainly performed by a group of musicians known as The Bootleggers. It’s unclear from the production notes (where all this info comes from), who this band is exactly, but we assume it’s Cave, Ellis, and the film’s music producers David Sardy and Hal Willner, potentially with some other friends as well (the former having contributed musically to the film as well on a few cuts). Anyway, take a look below at what you’ll be hearing during the Prohibition-set tale.
All The Music Featured In “Lawless”
“Fire and Brimstone” — Performed by The Bootleggers featuring Mark Lanegan (written by Fred Lincoln Wray Jr.)
“He is All” – David Sardy and Jordan Tappis
“Midnight Run” — John Wesley Ryles
“Detroit” – Western Massachusetts
“Wave Storm” – Blake Mills “Burnin’ Hell” — The Bootleggers featuring Nick Cave (written by Bernard Besman and John Lee Hooker)
“White Light/White Heat” — The Bootleggers featuring Mark Lanegan (written by Lou Reed)
“Cosmonaut” — The Bootleggers featuring Emmylou Harris (written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis)
“Fire In The Blood” – The Bootleggers featuring Ralph Stanley (written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis)
“Night of Canakkale” — David Sardy and Jordan Tappis featuring Wayne Bergeron
“The Cuckoo Bird” – Clarence Ashley
“Fire In The Blood” – The Bootleggers featuring Emmylou Harris (written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis)
“Sweet Truth” – David Sardy
“So You’ll Aim Toward the Sky” — The Bootleggers featuring Leila Moss (written by Jason Lytle of Grandaddy)
“The Morning After” — David Sardy featuring Wayne Bergeron
“The Snake Song” – The Bootleggers featuring Emmylou Harris (written by Townes Van Zandt)
“The Telephone Girl” — Frank Fairfield (written by Orville Reed)
“Hymn” — The Bootleggers featuring Liela Moss (written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis)
“White Light/White Heat” – Ralph Stanley (written by Lou Reed)
“Midnight Run” — Willie Nelson (words and music by Marc Copely, James Bernard Dolan & Adam Stuart Levy)