I had to really do my homework on some of the featured musicians to write this one; it’s truly a goldmine of talented players and fun surprises. The soundtrack was produced by Bad Seed/lead Grinderman/dark folk legend Nick Cave and Grinderman’s bassist Warren Ellis, both of whom also played on the album. The “house band” is The Bootleggers, an all-star cast featuring Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan, blues legend Ralph Stanley, country/bluegrass crooner Emmylou Harris, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey, George Vjestica, and David Sardy.
The soundtrack gathers speed easily with Emmylou Harris’s sweet and whimsical take on “So You’ll Aim Towards The Sky,” contrasted with “Fire In The Blood/Snake Song” to set the mood. It also features a jaunty and raw cover of the Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat,” with Mark Lanegan on vocals. Later on, Ralph Stanley does a slow and easy reprise of the same song to put the finishing touches on the album. Nick Cave makes a solo appearance with “End Crawl,” a haunting and sparse instrumental. Last but not least, we have Willie Nelson contributing “Midnight Run,” a classic blues stomper.
Not only is “Lawless” cohesive as an album, but the selection of musicians is diverse and refreshing. If you’re a Nick Cave fan, this is a definite gem, and if you like authentic blues and bluegrass, I recommend it as well.