Link Wray :: Girl From The North Country

This fall, my first feature film, Shangri-La Suite, will be released in theaters. It tells the story of two lovers-on-the-run during the summer of 1974. Their names: Jack Blueblood and Karen Bird. Their aim: to kill Elvis Presley. It stars Emily Browning, Luke Grimes, Avan Jogia and Ron Livingston (as the King). Burt Reynolds narrates. The trailer can be seen above.

My writing partner, Chris Hutton, and I, titled our film Shangri-La Suite because we wanted it to feel like a suite of music; like some warped, violent, teenage dirge. Instead of focusing on the tenets of plot, character and structure, we aimed to explore the feeling, the musicality – the momentum, style and cadence – of our story. We wanted to write a two chord movie; to turn “Sister Ray” or “Great Balls Of Fire” into a ninety minute piece of cult-trash outsider cinema. Whether or not we succeeded in this ambition is up for debate. Regardless, music is at the core of Shangri-La’s DNA.

Justin Gage, the man behind Aquarium Drunkard (and my good friend), served as the project’s music supervisor. Justin has been kind enough to offer me a platform here, leading up to the film’s release, where I can write about some of the artists and tracks that inspired our movie and helped shape its creation.

Link Wray :: Girl From The North Country

For my inaugural entry, I’ve chosen Link Wray’s cover of Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country.” It’s a song that served as a north star reference for us – from the writing of the script, through the pitch process, and into the film’s production. We’d often play the track on set, conjuring its energy during love scenes, shootouts, car chases and sequences without sound.

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