Music from the Film Wish You Were Here

Composed By: Jordan Shapiro

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the independent film Wish You Were Here, Louie Sabatasso is Dean, a young man who has recently completed a stint in rehab.  With nowhere to go and no one he can rely on, he turns to the last person he ever thought he would ask for help – his moderately successful estranged brother Neal (Gary Kohn).  Reluctantly, Neal takes Dean with him on a trip across America to Nebraska in an effort to save his job as a concert promoter.  Along the way, they meet a troubled woman (Arroyn Ambrose) who helps them find the love the two brothers once had for one another while they help her learn trust.  The catch phrase of the film is quite appropriate, “You never know where you belong until you get there.”

                The musical score of Wish You Were Here was created by American composer, musician and producer Jordan Shapiro.  Known for his ability to mix organic music with electronic sound, Shapiro has primarily concentrated on creating film music score, but also performs live music with a number of bands including the SupersuckersWish You Were Here represents Jordan Shapiro’s first full length feature film score.

                One of the main focuses of this film is the cross-country road trip that the trio takes that helps create a bond between them that never before existed.  According to Shapiro, “Everyone was adamant that the score always emanate from an ‘Americana’ feel/foundation.”  To achieve that goal, Shapiro found inspiration in one of his favorite performers: “I have always loved Ry Cooder, and have always aspired to play anything I could with a slide. I play pedal steel guitar, dobro, lap steel and some slide guitar, as well as some keys, acoustic guitar, mandolin, etc.”

                The music found on Americana: Music from the Film Wish You Were Here is an interesting mixture of acoustic guitars, synths, electronic sound and some more exotic instruments.  The music has the feel of a road trip, thanks to the fast-paced acoustic sound.  Things get darker as the film moves forward, perhaps representing Dean’s struggle with overcoming his addiction, Neal’s struggle to understand his brother and Phoenix’s struggles with her violent past.  By the end of the film, the music is more upbeat and a tad more mature thanks to all that the trio have been through in getting to their destination.

                There are a couple of songs on this album, but they aren’t all that enjoyable and aren’t exactly sung well.  Not even worth mentioning.  The real enjoyment of this soundtrack comes from the rather unique music on the album.  Jordan Shapiro’s first full length feature film soundtrack is well-worth taking a listen to.


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