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.) However, T-Bone Burnett
, who helped coordinate the music for the film, put together a concert celebrating the music of the folk revival era to help publicize the film's release, and roughly a year and a half later, Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis
allows folks to finally hear what that big show was like. And it's good to report that this album will doubtless delight the folks who were disappointed with the lack of actual folk music in the movie; recorded at New York City's Town Hall, this was the biggest real-deal hootenanny to take place in the Big Apple in ages, complete with a pair of genuine folk heroes (Joan Baez and Bob Neuwirth
), a few longtime friends of musical Americana (Keb' Mo'
and Elvis Costello), some well-established acoustic-based singers and songwriters (Gillian Welch
and Conor Oberst), a few rootsy young guns (the Milk Carton Kids
, the Avett Brothers
, the Secret Sisters
), and a few genuine rock stars along for the ride (Jack White, Marcus Mumford
, Colin Meloy
). Suitably, "Please Mr. Kennedy," the delightfully crass novelty number written for the movie, sticks out like a sore thumb -- even more than White's stripped-down version of the White Stripes
' "We Are Going to Be Friends" -- though Costello's lead vocal and Adam Driver
's backups are a hoot. Classic folk numbers (and newer numbers pretending to be folk songs) otherwise dominate the set list, and pretty much all involved give their level best. And there are a few pleasant surprises here, as Colin Meloy delivers a subtle but effective version of "Blues Run the Game," Baez and Costello team up for "Which Side Are You On?" (a collaboration that would have been utterly unthinkable in 1978), Oberst puts a distinctive and potent spin on "Four Strong Winds," and the Punch Brothers
open the set with a delicious in-joke (a version of "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds," which figures prominently in another, better-loved Coen brothers picture). A great night for folkies, an instructive listen for hipsters with an interest in the '60s folk scene, and proof that Joel and Ethan Coen's cultural influence takes on many remarkable forms.