I have not seen this movie, and judging by the reviews, I am the lucky one. So I'm not sure how the music is used, or even if much of it is used, since it's billed as "inspired by the film." However, I can tell you that it's a pretty fine soundtrack, oddly enough. The musicians and producers clearly took the job seriously enough to come up with properly-themed, and in several cases, darn good songs.The topics include trains (I've seen a lot of train footage in the trailers), the West (duh), outlaws (double-duh), and 19th century vintage tunes. That last one is behind Iggy Pop's choice of Sweet Betsy From Pike, a number I learned as a little shaver, and the Popster does a fine job sounding grizzled on the old tale, which has a slight edge to it in the original verses, kind of Nick Cave-like without the swearing. Same goes for Pogue-on-his-own Shane MacGowan, sticking up for the Irish on Poor Paddy On The Railway. And Dave Alvin, one of the finest Americana interpreters, scores with his Hank Williams cover, Lonesome Whistle.
The rest are new compositions, and the inspiration continues to work for Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, who contribute a spooky Devil's Train. Lucinda Williams blessed the disc with a brand-new song, which is enough to get me excited, and on this one she breaks the mold. Everything But The Truth sounds like her channeling the Outlaw movement, as a Waylon Jennings sidekick. Another exclusive comes from Iron & Wine, the equally strong Rattling Bone, a kind-of-eerie number that could easily be on the most recent Sam Beam release. The rest of the material, from the likes of Ben Kweller, Pete Molinari, and The Aggrolites isn't quite as pleasing, but with the above-listed strengths, this is the rare soundtrack that deserves purchase consideration.