Major motion picture soundtracks and country music have become such a popular buddy system in recent years that we’re actually going to the movies expecting to hear great country music, in addition to catching a new flick with all the Hollywood bells and whistles. Like a happy Black Dog, this project is waggin’ with great country tunes.
One of the latest projects includes country music’s Decca Records teaming up with Universal Pictures to promote the explosive action thriller Black Dog from director Kevin Hooks. The brand new movie stars Patrick Swayze as ex-con Jack Crews, and country crooner Randy Travis who takes on his biggest acting role yet. Naturally, the Black Dog soundtrack hits stores on April 28th to coincide with the previous evening’s premiere of the film in Nashville, Tennessee.
Movie veteran Swayze plays the character of a professional truck driver who breaks parole when he is duped into driving a semi-truck transporting illegal weapons, while Travis plays a bumbling character who rides shotgun with Swayze.
The traditional singer’s acting career includes roles in more than a dozen major pictures like Francis Ford Coppola’s big-screen treatment of John Grisham’s The Rainmaker; Fire Down Below starring Steven Seagal; Frank & Jesse with Rob Lowe and Bill Paxton; Dead Man’s Revenge with Ben Johnson; and The Legend of O.B. Taggart with Mickey Rooney. His acting credits also include guest starring on such TV hits as Touched By An Angel, Matlock and Aaron Spelling’s mini-series Texas. His Black Dog performance, however, marks his most challenging role yet, as well as a welcoming opportunity to work with friend Swayze.
“It was the most unusual character I’ve played,” explains Travis, “because he’s a little bit nuts at times, sometimes extremely angry, and sometimes he actually cares about what is going on. I worked with a coach on the set just about every day for the first few months, because you know, I had never done a character who had to act so many different ways. It’s the biggest part I have ever done in a movie,” he continues. “Most of the work I have done up until last year had been television work and so we took a couple of really good steps forward, I was able to do a small part in Steven Seagal’s movie and the Rainmaker, so those were really big steps. They were small parts, but still big steps forward. Then I went and read for this part in Black Dog and got it. It makes you feel good to know that you went and read for a part and they give it to you. I’m probably in three quarters of this show.
“I’m a character named Earl who fancies himself a songwriter and he’s terrible,” he laughs. “He also fancies himself a singer and is even worse at that. He’s also at odds with Patrick in the beginning of the show. Patrick’s character is in a bind so he comes down to drive this tractor trailer from Georgia to New York that’s loaded with guns, ammunition, explosives and that sort of thing, but doesn’t know it until we get on into the trip. Then people start trying to hijack the load. That’s what my character does. I’m just there for the money. I thought I would be driving the truck actually until he comes down to replace me. But I’m still there making the run with him. So it’s a movie with a lot of action.”
The music soundtrack for Black Dog promises to be as equally action-packed boasting an impressive array of country artists performing all-new tunes. Featured on the disc are Rhett Akins with the classic “Driving My Life Away;” Lee Ann Womack with “A Man With 18 Wheels;” Big House with “Road House;” Gary Allan with “Highway Junkie;” Chris Knight with “Hammer Goin’ Down;” David Lee Murphy with “We Can’t All Be Angels;” Patty Loveless with “On Down The Line;” Steve Earle with “Nowhere Road;” Jack Ingram with “Drivin’ All Night Long;” Linda Davis with “I Wanna Remember This;” and of course Travis on “My Greatest Fear.” Incidentally, both Travis and Swayze have more than acting in common. The two have actually sang and recorded together before — the song “I Did My Part,” which is featured on Travis’ new You And You Alone album.
“Well, Patrick was an accident, totally,” explains Randy of Swayze’s vocal contribution to the project. “We were working on Black Dog in Wilmington, we’re touring and were making this record at the same time. We recorded music tracks in Nashville and in L.A. and we did the vocals in Las Vegas and in Wilmington. But we were walking by Patrick’s trailer one day near the set where there was a studio sound stage. The studio was about a hundred yards away, so we were going to look at it the day before going to work, and Patrick came out of the studio. As we were leaving, he called out to us and said ,’If you want me to sing some harmonies let me know — that would be great!’ So we got to the studio and said ’You know, we should take him up on that.’ So we did, and he came in and did a really good job on it.”
While the movie opens to the public on Friday, May 1st, a host of the film’s soundtrack artists, including Travis, Akins, Womack, Allan and Murphy, enjoyed Tuesday, April 28th’s Music City premiere, in addition to a post-party at Nashville’s downtown Planet Hollywood. Joining in on the red carpet gala was Black Dog’s top-dog Swayze, who actually drove to the party in a diesel truck featured in the film.