This Week’s News
We all knew “La La Land” and “Moonlight” were going to be the heavy favorites to beat at the 89th Academy Awards. But, as with all awards shows, the Oscars offered up some pleasant surprises Tuesday when it livestreamed its nominees for this year’s ceremony.
One of those surprises was the recognition given to the West Texas-set bank robbery tale “Hell or High Water.” The neo-Western, about two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who decide to rob different branches of the Texas bank threatening to take away their family ranch, racked up four nominations, including a Best Picture nod.
It also got nominations for Best Original Screenplay (for writer Taylor Sheridan, who you might recognize from his role as Deputy Chief David Hale in “Sons of Anarchy” and as the writer of another great moral thriller, last year’s “Sicario”), Film Editing (for editor Jake Roberts) and Best Supporting Actor (for Jeff Bridges’ turn as the Texas Ranger who’s hot on their trail).
One of the things that makes the film so great is its attention to detail on all things Texan. Characters drink Shiner Bock and Lone Star. They take gambling trips up north to Oklahoma. And they listen to Texas country music, and that music sets the tone for much of the film’s sonic backdrop.
Texas artists like Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Scott H. Biram populate the film’s soundtrack, as do other prominent country and roots artists like Waylon Jennings, Chris Stapleton, Colter Wall, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. “Hell or High Water” is worth seeing for the film itself, but some great music doesn’t hurt, either.
“Hell or High Water” is available on Blu-Ray, DVD, Amazon Prime, iTunes, and other streaming services.
This Week’s Best New Song
When Cody Jinks tweeted last week that he “had new music coming soon,” and that said new music was titled “Wish You Were Here,” many astute fans correctly figured out the allusion in the art accompanying the tweet— two fish swimming in a teardrop and an eye, evoking the song’s “Two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl” chorus— meant Jinks was covering Pink Floyd’s cerebral hit.
It would be easy for this to be a misfire; there have been some bad country covers of rock songs. This one, however, is a bold success. Jinks adds a steel guitar and his own slow spin on a classic, somehow making the song more sad. It won’t replace the original, but Jinks’ version doesn’t detract from it, either. At any rate, it’s a good song to listen to while you’re waiting for a follow-up to “I’m Not the Devil.”
This Week’s Worst New Song
Another forgettable radio-friendly jaunt about picking up girls in bars. You’re better than this, Justin.
This Week’s Best Country Show in Austin
Austin’s Kyle Park will be taking his show to Gruene Hall on Friday, Jan. 27 at 9:30 p.m. Aaron Copleland will open, taking the stage at 8.
This is the Country Music Roundup, a weekly blog where we’ll give you the latest news in country music releases and local country shows. For a more in-depth analysis of the genre and where it’s headed, check back with our weekly Gone Country blog every week.
Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @jakeharris4 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.