Red Dead Redemption – Soundtrack Special

Rockstar Games puts a lot of time and dedication into their game soundtracks, but I think they’ve outdone themselves with the music behind Red Dead Redemption – specifically, two key players.

The first is a gentleman named José González, who heralds from Sweden via Argentina. His haunting tune Far Away accompanies one of the most memorable moments in RDR, when John Marston first reaches Mexico, riding along a dusty trail along the San Luis River.

As a special treat, González recently dropped into the New York Rockstar offices to play an intimate, acoustic version of his song (on their rooftop, no less!) – and we’ve got the video to share it with you!

(If that finger-pickin’ style sounds familiar, González first shot to fame with his cover of Heartbeats, by The Knife – which featured in the now-famous Sony Bravia “Superball” commercial!)

But González, as wonderful as he is, didn’t contribute the whole soundtrack – that task fell to Bill Elm and Woody Jackson, plus a whole swag of accomplished session musicians. Check out this behind-the-scenes footage to get an idea of the sort of work that goes into creating a dynamic soundtrack like this: the most important thing you learn is that “songs” as we know them don’t work here.

Tucked away in that video is – for me – the second gem of the soundtrack. Harmonica player Tommy Morgan has been described as “probably the first harmonica soloist ever to win a standing ovation from an audience at a symphony concert” – back in 1954!

Morgan’s been a session muso for nearly 60 years, and brings a certain air of authenticity to RDR. In addition to the western movies and tv shows mentioned in the video, he’s played with The Beach Boys, The Monkees The Bangles, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and just about everybody in between. Even cooler than that – he still visits school children every year to teach them about music, professionalism and the hard work needed to be successful.

Sure, it takes more than two people to make something this amazing, but González and Morgan certainly add a certain something to take Red Dead Redemption to new heights. Well done, Rockstar, well done.

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