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Texas Songwriter One Of “The Keys” To Country Strong

Hayes Carll
Michael Buckner, Getty Images

Music supervisor Randall Poster picked David Bowie songs for Wes Anderson‘s “The Life Aquatic” and combed through Bob Dylan‘s catalog for “I’m Not Here.” When it came to selecting the tunes for Nashville melodrama “Country Strong,” Poster turned to a gifted Austin, Texas, singer-songwriter named Hayes Carll to provide some of the film’s most compelling musical moments.

“I basically acted the part of a bank robber and got some of Hayes’ best songs while he was working on his next album,” says Poster, who listened to more than 1,000 songs during the weeding-out process.

Hayes’ rough-hewn tunes fit the bill for Garrett Hedlund‘s character. “He’s this cowboy poet grounded in the legacy of Hank Williams, Kris Kristofferson and Townes Van Zandt,” says Poster. “We needed to define each primary character in the movie with a distinctive sound.”

Though Poster has supervised music for nearly 60 movies since 1995, he never tapped into Nashville’s songwriting community until director Shana Feste recruited him for “Country Strong.” Poster notes, “I love country music, but oftentimes people have a certain allergy to the twang, which is why I didn’t get the opportunity to dig into the world of country music before now.”

Poster, who fell in love with country music through the songs of Neil Young, prepared for “Country Strong” by making seven trips to Nashville. Hobnobbing with the town’s top producers and songwriters only deepened Poster’s regard for the genre. “Country music mines adult emotions,” he says. “Some of these songs leave you a bit teary and you’re like, ‘It’s kind of great to cry every day.’ ”

To balance the tear-jerkers, “Country Strong” also includes examples of Nashville’s fondness for catchy song titles. A self-described “obsessive” record collector since the age of 11, Poster says, “One of my favorite country songs in the movie is called ‘She’s Acting Single, I’m Drinking Doubles.’ That kind of says it all.”

On Sunday, Hayes Carll posted as his status on Facebook…

Hayes Carll ‎2nd “Country Strong” soundtrack is #1 on itunes!
i’m gonna go buy some new socks and guitar strings with the anticipated royalty$$$$

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