Is the Coens’ new movie about to refloat the folk boat?
There’s a folk revival a-comin’ down the line. You may think that there’s a folk revival of sorts underway at the moment. Indeed, you may even think that folk music never went away in the first place and thus there’s no need for a revival.
But the new film from the Coen brothers is going to put the folk scene of Sixties New York right back in the limelight , and we can expect many side-effects, good and bad, from this promenience.
Inside Llewyn Davis has been gathering rave notices since it premiered at the Cannes film festival last week, with even the most curmudgeonly of critics (not our Donald Clarke) using their full complement of five-star reviews for it.
Inside Llewyn Davis is based loosely on The Mayor of Macdougal Street, the memoirs of folk singer Dave Van Ronk. The Coens’ movie features a beatnik folk singer, played by a deadpan Oscar Isaac, hanging around the Greenwich Village scene waiting for his big break, getting beaten up and embarking on a road trip. There is also a cat – always something which could go either way.
We can expect a stellar soundtrack to go with the film. As with the Coens’ O Brother Where Are Thou?, T-Bone Burnett is onboard to guide the ship, and he’s been talking about how the film might well refloat the folk boat.
“We’re going to do a series of concerts,” Burnett said in Cannes,talking about the film. “Marcus Mumford is going to curate the concerts with me and the Coen brothers. We’re going to use this opportunity to introduce a lot of people who are reinventing this kind of music.”
A new folk revival by the end of the year? You’ll know who to blame.
Macdougal memoirs: Dave Van Ronk in New York, 1964