Appaloosa – Soundtrack Review

Composer and musician Jeff Beal rejoins director/actor Ed Harris to score the latter’s new Western film, Appaloosa. Previously, Beal composed Harris’s feature movie directorial debut, the 2000 “Pollock,” about artist Jackson Pollock.

Over the years, Beal has written music for many TV shows such as Ugly Betty, Monk, Rome, Medium and Carnivale. He also has composed several film scores such as Waiting for Hockney.

Appaloosa takes place in the Old West of 1882 New Mexico. It stars Harris as city marshal Virgil Cole, Viggo Mortensen as Cole’s deputy and partner Everett Hitch, Jeremy Irons as ruthless rancher Randall Bragg, and Renee Zellweger as Allison French.

Cole and Hitch have been employed by the mining community to bring the murderer of the city’s marshal to justice.

Besides composing the movie’s score, and orchestrating and conducting the musicians, Beal also co-wrote the song “You’ll Never Leave my Heart” with Harris. Beal wrote the music, Harris composed the lyrics and sings. Harris also co-wrote the lyrics of “Ain’t Nothin’ Like a Friend” with Donald Rubinstein. The latter wrote the music and did the vocals.

Beal also plays the trumpet, piano and bowed banjo in many of the pieces.

There is a continuing musical theme through many of the tracks but it changes, to keep the listener interested. I liked this CD. Most of the 25 tracks are short and I enjoyed the way the violins, banjo, drums, trumpet were utilized. The music flowed together in continuity, had a country/western feel. 

I liked “Dawn in Appaloosa” – it’s sweet with the light violins; “Ballad of Rio Seco” with the Spanish style solo guitar and “Shootout at Rio Seco” with the drums and Beal’s trumpet.

I think my favorite track is 23, “Riding Off, Appaloosa End Credits” with its lively bringing together of all the themes of the music with a more modern feel. It is sweeping with great fiddling, bass and drums.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.