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Randall Poster on Dusting Off Woody Guthrie Songs, Soundtracking Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and More

The veteran music supervisor talks about recapturing Guthrie's timeliest album, Dust Bowl Ballads

Randall Poster Interview
The French Dispatch (Fox Searchlight)/Randall Poster, photo by Taylor Hill
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    Acclaimed music supervisor Randall Poster had a busy year. The award-winning music supervisor has worked on projects such as Pretend It’s a City and Questlove’s documentary Summer of Soul, not to mention his latest collaboration with Wes Anderson for the upcoming The French Dispatch. What’s more, he’s nominated for an Outstanding Music Supervision Emmy for his work on The Queen’s Gambit.

    But one of his most ardent passion projects this year is Home In This World: Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads, a re-interpretation of Woody Guthrie’s classic 1940 album Dust Bowl Ballads — a set of (eventually) fourteen songs set amid the economic and spiritual hardships of the Great Depression. It’s typically considered one of the very first concept albums, and tracks like “I Ain’t Got No Home In This World Anymore” remain indelible folk mainstays.

    Poster assembled a murderer’s row of performers to re-interpret Guthrie’s songs for the 21st century, from Grammy winners like Lee Ann Womack and John Paul White to rising folks act like Watkins Family Hour and Lost Dog Street Band. But the album takes some bigger genre swings as well, bringing in acts like Waxahatchee and Swamp Dogg.

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    The album was also created in partnership with Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit organization hoping to stem the tide of climate change by providing education on, and advocacy for, sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

    For the album’s release on September 10th (courtesy of Elektra), Poster spoke to Consequence about his relationship to Woody Guthrie’s music, assembling his posse of players to reimagine the ballads and more. He also discusses his long career as an acclaimed music supervisor, and what The French Dispatch may have in store for us.


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