Mason Daring

Sunshine State

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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

Mason Daring, who has written musical scores for the lion's share of John Sayles' movies, rose to the occasion once again for Sayles' 13th directorial effort, Sunshine State, and this disc combines excerpts from Daring's moody score with a handful of tunes from outside sources. Much of Daring's pieces here are pleasing but understated, and while they're written and performed with his usual skill, they don't carry a great deal of musical weight divorced from the context of the film. Stronger are a few bar band-blues pieces co-written by Daring and performed by the ad hoc groups Flash and the Ruins and Skeeter Meeter (Duke Levine on guitar, Michael Rivard on bass, Tom West on keys, Dave Mattacks on drums, and Chris Cote singing some lyrics by Sayles on "Skeeter Pie"), which boast a solid, greasy groove (and who knew a former member of Fairport Convention could cut the funk so convincingly?). Rounding out the set are some Southern-flavored selections from the likes of Lucinda Williams, Kitty Wells, Jim Lauderdale, and Lynyrd Skynyrd (their "Call Me the Breeze" sounds great in this context, and it's a nice tip of the hat to their Florida heritage). Sunshine State is a good collection for fans of the film, but folks who collect Daring's film scores might be a bit disappointed, since his music certainly takes a backseat here to the collected songs.

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