Inside Llewyn Davis is the latest film from the fabulous Coen brothers that, like their previous film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, comes with an amazing soundtrack that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the film it accompanies.
The Coen’s latest endeavor follows the story of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a singer/songwriter forced to go solo when the other half of his duo commits suicide. He sets out to Greenwich Village and becomes a part of the folk music scene of the early 1960s.
The soundtrack features a mix of actors playing musicians, à la Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in Walk The Line, alongside musicians playing actors. Isaac appears on half the album tracks, sometimes solo, sometimes accompanied by other artists such as Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons), Justin Timberlake (who pulls double-duty as musician and actor but only gets one paycheck), the Punch Brothers, actor Stark Sands, and many others.
Naturally, the songs on here are all folk songs with a swerve in a different direction here and there (“Please Mr. Kennedy” and “The Auld Triangle”). This type of folk music, however, shouldn’t be confused with the folk of bearded guys like Iron & Wine, Bon Iver or Mumford & Sons. Perhaps I’m identifying their work with their identities, personality, or scene, but there’s something more personal, dark, and less whimsical about the folk songs on here than most anything by modern folk/indie artists.
The album should also serve as a launchpad for Isaac’s music career, whether he wants one or not. The son of Guatemalan/Cuban parents has a incredible voice that he needs show off more often.
The majority of the songs were written specifically for the album but there are two non-album specific classics included: “Farewell” by Bob Dylan and “Green, Green Rocky Road” by the late Dane Van Ronk whose life, supposedly, provides a backbone of sorts for the movie.
Inside Llewyn Davis, the soundtrack, is available now. The film will be released in theaters on December 6th.