The Coen brothers have always been known for the music heard in their movies. In 2002, the soundtrack for their film O Brother, Where Art Thou? won Album of the Year at the Grammys, and in 2013 they released Inside Llewyn Davis, a film that follows a struggling folk singer who lives in Greenwich Village in the 1960s.
Both film’s soundtracks, along with many others, were produced by T Bone Burnett, and in the case of Inside Llewyn Davis, the film’s soundtrack inspired a live concert performance in celebration of the music from that era. The concert was recorded and made into a movie, called Another Day, Another Time.
As Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers put it, the musicians were trying to “create an experience that could be had around the campfire.” Taking place at the famous Town Hall in New York City that holds about 1,500 people, the performers were able to succeed.
The film features performances from well-known musicians like Jack White, Marcus Mumford, Joan Baez, Patti Smith and the Avett Brothers, while also highlighting some of the talent of present-day folk artists. The Milk Carton Kids, for example, jokingly say that they have no idea who Simon & Garfunkel are, before making Mumford and others in the audience cry as they play “Snake Eyes” from their 2013 album, The Ash & Clay.
“You know that thing where you can’t tell who is singing cause they are so in sync?” asks Mumford. “And those two guitars, they make them sing.”
Though the movie maybe pats itself on the back a little much, as the film takes a very idyllic approach towards looking at the ‘60s and the music that came out of it, it is also the key feature of the film, as the viewer really gets the sense that all the musicians were there for the simple love of the music.
Mumford attributes the atmosphere to T Bone Burnett, who quietly walks around the practice studio and stands behind the curtains during the live performance.
“There is an energy there that I think exists and there is no assholes around as well, which is kind of extraordinary,” he explained.
Some of the songs are recognizable while a lot of them will be new for most viewers, but the reaction to the film has been so strong that Another Day, Another Time now has its own soundtrack as well, which was recently released digitally and on vinyl.
The film will give you a respect for musicians that you may have never heard of or liked before and can be something that you watch intently or simply put on in the background. There are no fancy light shows or choreographed dance moves, but the film does what it set out to do: pay homage to the music of the past while also proving that folk music is alive and well.