Release Date: Jan 12, 2015
Record label: Nonesuch
Genre(s): Country, Folk, Pop/Rock, Soundtracks, Stage & Screen
Music has played an important role in many of the Coen brothers’ films: indeed, the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? grew bigger than the film itself, selling millions and spawning a number of spin-off live albums and copycat compilations. Inside Llewyn Davis, the latest film from Joel and Ethan Coen, had music at its heart more than any of their previous creations, telling the story of the titular character, an arrogant troubadour who fails to notice the changing winds blowing through the coffee shops of Fifties New York. You can see then why the brothers and their regular musical collaborator T-Bone Burnett would want to celebrate this film’s soundtrack in a similar way, with a concert in New York that would be made into a documentary and this, the accompanying live album.
When it was announced that Joel and Ethan Coen were making a film based on the memoirs of Greenwich Village folk icon Dave Van Ronk, plenty of people were expecting a historical piece on the "folk scare" of the '60s. Instead, the movie Inside Llewyn Davis turned out to be a downbeat character study that had little to do with folk music -- or Dave Van Ronk. (The Coen brothers ended up not even mentioning Van Ronk's book in the credits.
A benefit for the US National Recording Preservation Foundation, this sprawling 2014 New York concert proved a memorable spin-off from the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, with the film’s cast augmented by revolving luminaries such as Jack White, Gillian Welch and Patti Smith. The resulting smorgasbord of Americana finds Joan Baez reviving House of the Rising Sun, Marcus Mumford coming over all Brendan Behan on The Auld Triangle, and White evoking Dave Van Ronk on Did You Hear John Hurt? The mix of camaraderie and musical expertise (the formidable Punch Brothers are house band) is infectious, the celebration of politically tinged folk more joyous than the Coens’ downbeat tale. .
Neither the film Inside Llewyn Davis nor its soundtrack had hit theaters or stores in September 2013 when a phalanx of roots musicians gathered at New York City’s Town Hall to sing some old folk songs together. Frequent Coen Brothers collaborator T Bone Burnett organized the concert as a loose celebration of the music featured in the film, a bleak comedy of haplessness that follows a frustrated folk singer in 1960 as he plies his trade around Manhattan. Featuring older legends alongside some of the younger musicians they inspired, the event was filmed and released first as a documentary and now as a soundtrack, both titled Another Day Another Time: Celebrating the Music of "Inside Llewyn Davis".