New York, NY -- Sony Music announces the release of the Original Motion Picture soundtrack of Lawless, the true story of the Bondurant Brothers in Prohibition-era Virginia. Based on Matt Bondurant's book, The Wettest County In The World, the film tells the story of his grandfather and two brothers, whose bootlegging operation brings them into a terrifying collision with the law and with rival gangsters. The soundtrack, with music by Nick Cave (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Birthday Party) and Warren Ellis (Dirty Three, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Grinderman), is available now. It features music with Emmylou Harris , Ralph Stanley and Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees) plus a never-before-released bonus track by Willie Nelson.
Australian born director John Hillcoat first teamed up with long time associate Nick Cave as a scriptwriter on The Proposition (2005). Together with Warren Ellis, Cave also composed and performed the score for this poetically violent Western set in the Australian outback. Cave and Ellis also joined forces with Hillcoat to score his next picture The Road (2009).
For Lawless, which was entered for the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Hillcoat has assembled a star cast – Tom Hardy (Star Trek: Nemesis, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) and Shia LaBeouf (Transformers) play two of the brothers with Guy Pearce (Memento, LA Confidential, The King's Speech) as the demented cop who hunts them down.
Along with producer Hal Willner, Cave and Ellis have created an outstanding soundtrack presenting historical recordings of some of the greatest living American voices. The score has a period feel of country and bluegrass, anchoring the film firmly in its setting: rural Virginia in 1931. Their original music mixed with the innovative vocal tracks are supported by the sound of The Bootleggers, the fittingly named band that Cave and Ellis formed for the project.
The soundtrack includes two versions of Velvet Underground's "White Light / White Heat," one a rollicking gut-bucket rendition by Mark Lanegan, the other performed by bluegrass veteran Ralph Stanley in his distinctive vocal style. Stanley's appearance is all the more special since he rarely performs music outside his chosen field. Emmylou Harris, one country music's all-time greats, joins The Bootleggers for "So You'll Aim Toward the Sky," originally by Grandaddy, as well as for Townes Van Zandt's "The Snake Song." Mark Lanegan contributes Link Wray's "Fire and Brimstone," and Captain Beefheart's "Sure 'Nuff Yes I do."
To complement these inspired cover-song choices, Cave and Ellis wrote two new songs, "Cosmonaut" and "Fire in the Blood," which comes in three wonderfully contrasting versions: Emmylou Harris sings it beautifully, then Ralph Stanley gives an intense rendering in his haunting and fragile voice, finally Harris repeats it with a greater yearning. The album closes with the plaintive & shimmering strings of Cave and Ellis' instrumental track "End Crawl."
The album also features the bonus track "Midnight Run" sung by Willie Nelson, who was born in the year when the Prohibition ended. The song is the about clandestine transport of moonshine whisky with a driving beat and whining harmonica.