This soundtrack needed to be written wholly on acoustic instruments- so I either used piano or the fabulous telecaster copy I bought from the local hock shop. I wanted the refinement of high brow Hollywood and Don’s extensive knowledge or the rough edges of the Australian bush where he and Jeanette spend much of their lives. The subject matter required a simple honest approach –melody driven. I wrote most mornings and evenings religiously for months, with such themes in mind as: early Australian films, Don as a young man, Don and Jeanette fall in love, small town boy goes global etc etc.
Very early on I realized that the grandeur of Don’s achievements would fit nicely with orchestrations-so I visited Andrew Worboys and played him some of the themes.
After handing him the charts for the songs Andrew began sending me files. Astonishing ! His orchestration for Don’s theme is sublime and he is the fastest worker around. He played all the piano –being a phenomenal player and singer and is in high demand as a musical director. No wonder he was used by the Sydney Symphony to conduct Florence and the Machine and is snapped up by Johnathan Biggins of the Wharf Revue fame- not mention writing his own fabulous musical “Showtrain’. How lucky to work with him on this project !
The session musicians I chose were the best in town. Tim Oram –(Sydney Jazz Orchestra) played flute, clarinet and tenor sax, works on Legally Blonde and previously on Chorus Line. His reading abilities are superlative and he knew exactly what to do when requested something esoteric like –‘Ok now Harold Holt drowns’….
Ben Fink- he of the 20 guitars (and his neighbour’s banjo) had the fabulous old sounding instruments for Don’s early days and could play the Rock n Roll required for the 80’s when Don was in Hollywood.
Christian Marsh was a Facebook find. I posted a ‘who knows a chromatic harmonica player ?’and everyone sent back pretty much the same response.
Christian’s credits include playing ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ on ‘Australia’ the Baz Luhrmann film. Lovely player !
Tina (I can play everything) Harris completed the picture playing drums bass and slide guitar. I needed a low- fi recording to mimic a Beatlesque song and she just happened to have a kit set up in her living room. We had a listen to some examples of drum patterns and away she went with me holding my iPhone high up in the air to avoid the modern day sound of big kick drums. Tina also added the Paul McCartney bass lines and some funk bass on the hidden track on the Soundtrack CD. When I realized at the 11th hour that the travel music for Don required a very ‘down home’ masculine slide guitar, Tina was the Man ! Tina has consistently played on many soundtracks for me and there isn’t a better more sensitive player.