Here’s every song featured on The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs soundtrack. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs marked a return to Westerns for fraternal directing duo the Coen Brothers after their previous genre entries No Country For Old Men and True Grit. It’s an anthology movie that features six unconnected vignettes all set in the Wild West and based on a mix of short stories penned by the Coen Brothers themselves and writers Jack London and Stewart Edward White.
As The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is a homage to the singing cowboy subgenre, music is an essential part of the movie. Its soundtrack relies on a mix of traditional Irish and American songs alongside orchestral numbers to set the scene and music features prominently in each segment – especially the film’s titular vignette which stars Tim Blake Nelson as a singing cowboy with a deadly shot.
The majority of the instrumental pieces heard in the anthology were composed and conducted by the Coen Brothers’ long-time collaborator Carter Burwell who has worked on many of their films including Fargo and The Big Lebowski. A couple of songs were also penned by country-folk singer Gillian Welch who also contributed songs to the soundtrack for the Coen Brothers’ 2000 crime-comedy O Brother, Where Art Thou? Read on for a list of every song that’s on the official Ballad Of Buster Scruggs soundtrack.
- The Book
- Cool Water – Tim Blake Nelson
- Carefree Drifter – David Rawlings & Gillian Welch
- Randall Collins
- Near Algodones
- The Wingless Thrush
- Our Revels
- When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings – Willie Watson & Tim Blake Nelson
- Canyon Awake
- How Deep
- Hello, Mr. Pocket!
- Your Share
- Little Joe The Wrangler (Surly Joe) – Tim Blake Nelson
- Goodbye Canyon
- Unmarked Grave
- Wagon Train
- The Oregon Trail
- Seeking Alice
- The Gal Who Got Rattled
- The Unfortunate Lad – Brendan Gleeson
- The Mortal Remains
- The End of Buster Scruggs
Alongside the 23 songs on the official Ballad Of Buster Scruggs soundtrack, a handful of other tunes were featured in the movie that didn’t make it onto the soundtrack. Liam Neeson sang the traditional Irish songs “Weela Weela Wallya” and “The Sash My Father Wore” in the segment titled Meal Ticket while musician/actor Tom Waits – who played the protagonist in All Gold Canyon – performed the American-Irish song “Mother Machree.” Grammy-winning fiddle player Gabe Witcher also contributed a reworking of traditional Italian folk song “La Ricciola.”
The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs was a critical hit when it was released by Netflix in late 2018. It went on to earn several nominations at the Academy Awards, including nods for Best Adapted Screenplay for the Coen Brothers and Best Costume Design for Mary Zophres. The movie’s soundtrack didn’t go unnoticed either, with the song “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.
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