The Coens, T Bone Burnett and Oscar Isaac get all folked up recreating the music of a musical scene about to end
Joel and Ethan Coen's dark, twisted and beautiful “Inside Llewyn Davis” is set in the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s, a scene hanging onto tradition in the last few months before a galvanic young Minneapolis drifter named Bob Dylan is about to change everything.
Its music, for the most part, is from the public domain — old Scottish tunes, blues laments, songs of uncertain origin passed down by generations of singers and pickers. “It was never new and it never gets old and it's a folk song,” says Oscar Isaac's title character after performing “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me” at the beginning of the movie.
To recreate that world, the Coens enlisted singer-producer T Bone Burnett, whose previous collaborations with the brothers included the Grammy-winning, mega-selling “O Brother Where Art Thou?”
“You take these old songs that have been handed down and reinvent them for the time you're in,” Burnett told TheWrap of his work on the film and its soundtrack album, which he produced with the Coens and with associate producer Marcus Mumford, from Mumford and Sons.
The film also features Mumford's wife, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver in singing roles, and John Goodman as a jazz musician who looks down his nose at folk music.
CBS Films has created “Fare Thee Well, Greenwich Village,” (above) a featurette documenting the creation of the musical world of “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
The music to “Inside Llewyn Davis” was also featured in a September concert at New York City's Town Hall after the film's New York Film Festival screening, which is currently playing on Showtime as “Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis.'”