Written, directed, and produced by Scott Cooper and based on the novel by Thomas Cobb, Fox Searchlight presents Crazy Heart - set to open in theaters this weekend. With arguably the best score of the year, Crazy Heart is seeping with soulful, southern jams thanks to legendary Stephen Bruton and T Bome Burnett. At a recent press conference with Mr. Brunett we got a little taste of the genius behind the music that high-lights the life of washed-up country singer, Bad Blake, and how Brunett’s involvement played a critical role in shaping the tone of the film.
The story itself is a heart-wrenchingly honest symphony of passion, humor, loneliness and redemption, and Burnett’s compositions only amplify these sentiments. The music channels a blue-grassy, country swag – this piled with Jeff Bridges’ (who plays Bad Blake) raw, vocal endowment is totally entrancing. A common trait of all music written below the Mason-Dixon line is it’s narrative nature. Not in a bull-shit, Taylor Swift, my boyfriend fell off the bleachers, I’ll go bake him a cake kind of way. But in a totally gritty, shameless, I’m sluggin’ brews, causing trouble kind of way. The song-writing illuminates Bad Blake in ways the story alone may not have been able to.
“Every song we chose tells a different story,” Burnett comments, “Scott was insistent that every aspect of this film be authentic, and this was one of the most important areas in which that authenticity had to be maintained”
Burnett has certainly made his mark on contemporary pop culture, composing soundtracks for O Brother Where Art Thou, Walk The Line, and a variety of recordings for Elvis Costello, Tony Bennett, Alison Krauss, etc, but credits much of Crazy Heart‘s musical success to his partner, the late Stephen Bruton.
“It is remarkable that Stephen’ artistic force and spirit were so strong and so constant throughout the process even though he was fighting a difficult battle the entire time we were working. He co-wrote most of the songs, played a lot of the score, coached Jeff and Colin, and was on the set the entire shoot to make sure things were real. I think there is a lot of Stephen in Bad Blake, Stephen has lived that same life – in the extreme.”
Feeling an honest affinity for Bad Blake, having spent much of his own life on tour buses and stumbling through cities, Brunett insists that:
“It’s an interesting life. Nothing, but the performance is real. You’re not responsible to anything you did yesterday and its great for a while but it can be easily become a state of arrested development. At some pint you have to walk through the looking glass.”
Channeling Bad Blake musically was the key factors in bringing this story to life:
“Bad reminds me of musicians I have known, but they should remain nameless. One thought for the music was to create a kind of alternate universe of country music we didn’t want Bad to fit into any of the clear categories of country music as we know it these days, we put together a list of what bad listened to growing up and went from there.”
Check back soon for our full review later today.