The murder of an African American youth in rural Alabama has gone unpunished, unsolved and uninvestigated for almost twenty years. But that changes when Nashville Times reporter Matt Harper meets an idealistic blue blood bent on discovering the truth. Harper undertakes the investigation despite the opposition of his publisher, violent threats from mysterious forces, a break-up with his fiancee and his father’s cancer diagnosis. Deadline is a story of murder, family, race, and of redemption – for a small Southern town and for Matt Harper.
Nashville based film company – Transcendent, LLC, a subsidiary of Film House, produced Deadline, which was filmed exclusively in Nashville and the greater Nashville area. What better way to top off this Nashville labor of love than to add the music of Dave Perkins. Perkins will perform the soundtrack music at a special live event at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville, Sunday, February 12 (details to follow).
Dave is a Nashville-based singer, songwriter and guitarist that grew up in a musical family. With a singing mother and father who tickled the ivories, Dave was destined to nurture his music soul. In a 2009 interview, he shares, “I heard rock ‘n’ roll and I was a goner, it caught my rebellious spirit. One of the big turning points for me…I had become a real folk music consumer. In 1965, I bought an Elektra compilation called Folk Songs ’65 and I was totally unprepared for cut one, side two, which was the Paul Butterfield Blues Band playing “Born In Chicago.” I heard that harmonica…that was probably the most life-changing moment, musically, that I can recall.”
Through the wonder of technology, we were able to throw a few questions Dave’s way. Read on to see what it takes to write music for a feature film as well as what you can expect from the film and it’s music.
With your musical history, why Deadline? What is your connection to this piece?
“I was introduced to the story by film director Curt Hahn. Curt was familiar with my most recent album Pistol City Holiness (Lugnut). He thought that some of my songs were right for the movie. Our extended conversation eventually resulted in my doing the entire score. But, on another level, I was inspired to sign on because of the film’s themes. It takes on some thorny issues. I had some songs and instrumental ideas in hand that seemed to speak to those issues.”
Is this the first time you have done a project like this? Describe your journey writing for films.
“I’ve had songs in films, but this was my first opportunity to do everything. It turned out being a much bigger piece of work that I originally thought it would be. Like most big jobs, it had a timetable and consequent stresses. But, I found it very exciting to write and record music for the picture. I feel safe in saying many music makers want the chance to score a film. This was my first opportunity, and I loved the process. And, the enjoyability factor goes up when you are working with the quality of people, technically and personally, that made Deadline.”
What should someone walk away with after watching this film?
“If Deadline lacks anything in terms of the bells and whistles of big budget films, it makes that up in heart and social conscience. The film-making team put a lot of love and care into the movie. I did the same with the music. I expect that moviegoers will see and hear that.”
What is one obstacle you came across when working on this project that you couldn’t predict and avoid? How did you work through it?
“Well, it’s an independent film. So, the music budget was limited. That meant that I needed to do as much as possible of the playing and recording myself. So, during those stretches where I was a one-man-show, it was tough keeping pace with the post-production team. There was only one way to get through it—head down, push on, long days and working weekends. I suspect it’s usually the same with everyone working on an independent film—you wish for more time, more budget.”
What piece of advice would you give Nashville songwriters/composers trying to branching out into film/tv?
“I don’t really have any advice on how to make it happen. I did not break into film work. It broke in on me. However, there is always something to be said for being ready. Know your idea book and don’t forget about the themes and bits and pieces that you never finished. When reading the script, I remembered a song that I began a decade ago. I played a rough version of the chorus and the one verse I had completed for the film team and there was a strong response and sense that the song was cosmically aligned with not only the film’s narrative, but its emotional tone.”
If someone is unfamiliar with you and your music, what is one word that describes you as a person and why? What is one word that describes your music and why?
“You’ll have to ask my wife and friends to describe me as a person. As for the music in Deadline, it reflects what is now my fairly long journey through many styles of American music. Appalachia, the Delta, the new urban South—traditional sounds and heavy computer beats—they are all there.”
What’s next for you?
“I’ve already begun work on a new cycle of songs. I will be recording them over the next several months with plans for an album in early 2013. I also expect to be performing the music from Deadline and past albums in clubs and concerts beginning February 12th at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville. Alongside the music, however, I am helping develop a fairly new program at Vanderbilt University called Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture. We’re doing some creative and exciting things.”
Nashville Sunday Night presents
2/12 Dave Perkins and Deadline Sound Track Release w/ Shannon LaBrie
Sunday, Feb 12, 2012 8:00 PM CST (6:00 PM Doors)
3rd and Lindsley, Nashville, TN
Local Film Premiere Info: The film will premiere FEB. 15 at the Regal Green Hills 16 as a benefit for FAMILY & CHILDREN SERVICE, a nonprofit organization that provides community outreach programs to improve the lives of children and families. It will continue to premiere in more than 40 cities across the country culminating with a nationwide release on April 13 (MORE premiere information). Steve Talley and Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts star in Deadline, the story of the murder of an African-American youth in rural Alabama that has gone uninvestigated, unsolved and unpunished for almost 20 years. Inspired by a true story, Deadline is adapted from Mark Ethridge’s novel Grievances. Deadline is directed by Curt Hahn and produced by Transcendent and will be released in theaters nationwide in 2012.
WATCH THE TRAILER NOW