I've been asked to compose some music for a short indie film about two brothers trying to solve murder of 3rd brother which reveals lots of skeletons in everyone's closets. It's set in rural America. I'm sort of picturing Grapes of Wrath era, or Appalacian... Poor, rural, semi-agrarian.

The producer asked for something "dark" and "folksy." I'm thinking of these brothers who have had brother killed, which is sad, and then as they try to solve it, they just uncover more bad shit.

Well, I'm trying to find some inspiration for a "sound" that could fit this. I thought maybe some old Americana (Woodie Guthrie?) or Old Timey music (Oh Brother Where Art Thou?) might be a start.

I don't know. If I hear some music that sounds kind of like this, or different types of music, I'm pretty good at making something original that captures similar vibe, or even merges the vibes from different pieces. I'm thinking of doing fingerpicking on classical guitar to get sort of a hillbilly on porch sound (I don't play banjo or I might have even gone that way). If the final piece needs different music for different parts, I may do some moody string music, like cello and violin, as I have some good virtual instruments I can program for that.

Okay, so the bottom line is, what music do you think of when you hear "dark" and "folksy" that you could recommend for me to listen to, to help gain inspiration?

I guess I could even borrow pieces that are now in public domain...not sure just how long that lasts... Is it 25 years after death of composer or 75 years? If the former, maybe some early 1900s stuff would be available for use?

Hmmm... I guess blues is another way to go, but I think rural & folksy & 1930s does not really equate to blues unless the characters are black...or is that racist?

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Listening to Sun Kil Moon right now and it sounds kinda dark. Instrumentally with some work I could see as a dark OST.
Something like Tenhi, maybe? Dunno, I'll throw some random stuff in:



Also this metal track is like, celtic folk-ish, so maybe a melody or two for inspiration


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Listening to Sun Kil Moon right now and it sounds kinda dark. Instrumentally with some work I could see as a dark OST.

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Bright Eyes has some pretty dark folk songs.

Also this particular Stereophonics song is pretty dark.


So I read your full post, this song seems like it could fit really nicely.


Also Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Ledbelly or Nirvana doesn't matter.
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Last edited by Nero Galon at Feb 20, 2014,
check out the sound track to dead man walking. It's exactly the sort of music I think you're referring to.
I'm pretty sure Dark Folk is a subgenre of Neo Folk
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eddy vedder (seriously) did excellent dark, folky music for the soundtrack to into the wild. check it out.
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