Will Oldham Premiers New Song Ahead of “Once Upon A River” Film

Nashville-based Thirty Tigers is not just responsible for some of your favorite independent music titles from Texas music to Americana artists—from Jason Isbell, to Whiskey Myers, to Lori McKenna and the early records from Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers. Thirty Tigers also has a film division that is trying to do for independent films what it has done for independent musicians, which is shine a spotlight on those in the shadows, and give creators a leg up in the industry without the entanglements or restrictions of the traditional business.

Their latest film called Once Upon a River is based on the best-selling novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell that tells the story of Native American teenager Margo Crane (played by Kenadi DelaCerna) set in 1970’s rural Michigan. After enduring a series of traumas and tragedies, Margo sets out on an odyssey on the Stark River in search of her estranged mother. On the water, Margo encounters friends, foes, wonders, and dangers; navigating life on her own, she comes to understand her potential, all while healing the wounds of her past.

Written and directed by Haroula Rose, the award-winning film will be available for distribution on October 2nd. It also comes with an extensive soundtrack featuring Rodney Crowell, J.D Souther, Bridget St. John, and Will Olham among others also to be released on October 2nd.

Will Oldham (photo: Rich Anderson)

Once named by Saving Country Music as One of the Seven Songwriters Who Will Change Your Life, the output of 50-year-old Kentucky native Will Oldham (also known by stage name Bonnie “Prince” Billy) is usually a bit more folk-oriented in nature. But for the Once Upon a River soundtrack, his contribution called “Dirty Halo” (listen below) has a much more country heart, with a walking, twangy-guitar, and rising vocals that give you shivers of early Waylon Jennings.

Telling the story of a metaphorical fallen angel who finds their way back to Heaven in the arms of another, “Dirty Halo” comes with the kind billowy chorus you expect from a Will Oldham song, underscoring why he’s become one of the most respected contributors to American roots music in the last quarter century.

The Once Upon a River original score was composed by Death Cab For Cutie’s Zac Rae, and along with being available digitally on October 2nd, will be available in CD and vinyl formats on October 23rd. It is now available for pre-order.

Once Upon a River Soundtrack Track List:

1. Younger Than Your Eyes – JD Souther (3:00)
2. Always Bound – Will Oldham (2:33)
3. Once Upon a River – Zac Rae (2:07)
4. Margo Wears a Dress – Zac Rae (0:40)
5. The Curious Crystals of Unusual Purity – Bridget St. John (3:58)
6. Billy – Zac Rae (0:46)
7. Cold Blooded Sally – Fran Farley (2:59)
8. Fresh Water – Zac Rae (0:38)
9. Dirty Halo – Will Oldham (2:36)
10. Consequences – Zac Rae (2:38)
11. Margo Takes the River – Zac Rae (1:22)
12. Get What You Need – Target (4:45)
13. The Field – Zac Rae (0:50)
14. Margo & Will – Zac Rae (3:55)
15. The Damage – Rodney Crowell (4:01)
16. Driving to Lake Lynn – Zac Rae (1:33)
17. Going Home – Zac Rae (0:57)
18. Smoke – Zac Rae (1:40)
19. Rachel’s Song – Haroula Rose & Peter Bradley Adams (2:43)

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