Hear The Last Ride Soundtrack Streaming Free

Some of you might have heard of a new indie film called The Last Ride. It centers on country music legend Hank Williams—specifically, the last few days of his life. Here’s a brief summary of what we know about the circumstances surrounding his death:

On January 1st 1953, Williams was scheduled to perform in Canton, OH. Because of bad weather, he couldn’t fly as planned, and hired a freshman college student to drive him. Hank suffered from chronic back problems, and had injected himself with morphine during the trip from Knoxville, TN and also was drinking alcohol. Hank Williams died of heart failure sometime that night with varying accounts of exactly where and when, though a gas station in Oak Hill, WV is given credit as Hank’s final destination. Hank was 29.

The exact details are shrouded in mystery and have invited all manner of wild speculation. While this film doesn’t claim to be factual, it attempts to offer a redemptive “what if,” exploring the extremely brief and extremely tense relationship between Hank (Henry Thomas, former child star of ET fame) and his young driver (Jesse James). There are two reasons it should be of interest to Southern Gospel fans. First, one of its producers is none other than Benjy Gaither, son of Bill and Gloria. Second, the soundtrack is a rich, eclectic gold-mine of southern gospel, classic country/western, and new songs composed especially for the film. Several are fresh recordings featuring some of your favorite currently active gospel singers, including Doug Anderson, Michael English and Wes Hampton.

Doug Anderson recently tweeted a link to free Facebook streaming of the entire soundtrack, and it’s well worth checking out. Here’s a full track listing with the names of the writers and performing artists. [Update: I realized that my first list was taken from a website that gave the tracks in a different order and included some that didn't make it to the final soundtrack, so I've made some corrections.] Benjy Gaither wrote or co-wrote the score and all the new songs. I’m particularly impressed with the brand new title track, performed by Tony Ramey and co-written by himself, Jeff Silvey and Benjy. It perfectly captures the poignant, ruggedly bittersweet atmosphere of the film. I’m also impressed by the vocal talents of 19-year-old [Correction: 16-year-old!] Nathan Young, featured on several of Benjy’s new songs. He’s a country music newcomer, not that well known yet, but like Scotty McCreery, he’s mature beyond his years and already sounds like a star. Hopefully this soundtrack will give him some more exposure.

1. THE LAST RIDE THEME

Composer: Benjy Gaither

2. “HEY, GOOD LOOKING”
Composer: Hank Williams Performer: Jett Williams

3. “HONKY TONK MAN”

Composer: Benjy Gaither [Thanks to reader Danny for informing me Benjy wrote this one.] Performer: Russ Taff

4. “KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE”
Composer: Ada Blenkhorn and J. Howard Entwisle Performer: Rebecca Frasier

5. “I WILL MARRY YOU”
Composer: Benjy Gaither and Jeff Silvey Performer: Wes Hampton

6. “IT WASN’T GOD WHO MADE HONKYTONK ANGELS”
Composer: JD Miller Performer: Sarah Johns

7. “COLD, COLD HEART”
Composer: Hank Williams Performer: Doug Anderson

8. “SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT”
Composer: Traditional Performer: The Golden Gate Quartet

9. “I’M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY”
Composer: Hank WilliamsPerformer: Michael English

10. “LONGING”
Composer: Jett Williams/Wood Newton Performer: Jett Williams

11. “FOOTPRINTS”
Composer: Benjy Gaither

12. “WINGING MY WAY BACK HOME”
Composer: James B. Coats Performer: The Blackwood Brothers

13. “I CAN’T HELP IT (IF I’M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU)”
Composer: Hank Williams Performer: Jett Williams

14. “ON DOWN THE ROAD”
Composer: Gloria Gaither and Benjy Gaither Performer: Val Story

15. “CHINO”
Composer: Benjy Gaither and Edward Fry Performer: Nathan Young

16. “ILENE”
Composer: Benjy Gaither Performer: Nathan Young

17. “WHAT YA GONNA DO?”
Composer: Benjy Gaither Performer: Nathan Young

18. “TENNESSEE WALTZ”
Composer: Redd Stewart & Pee Wee King Performer: Nathan Young

19. “OH COME ANGEL BAND”
Composer: Jefferson Hascall and W. B. Bradbury Performer: The Isaacs

20. “HANK WILLIAMS BLUES”
Composer: Jett Williams and Wood Newton Performer: Jett Williams

21. “THE NIGHT HANK WILLIAMS CAME TO TOWN”
Composer: Bobby Braddock and Charlie Williams Performer: Johnny Cash

22. “THE LAST RIDE”
Composer: Benjy Gaither, Jeff Silvey and Tony Ramey Performer: Tony Ramey

As for the film itself, I haven’t seen it, but the trailers have intrigued me enough that I’m looking forward to checking it out. According to a parents’ guide I found, it’s not graphic, but since Hank is a broken man, there are some dark, gritty thematic elements mainly revolving around his drug and alcohol addictions. There is also some mild language. So it seems like it’s not particularly trying to aim for the same “Christian movie” niche as films like Facing the Giants or even Soul Surfer. Still, my impression is that it falls on the “soft” side of the PG-13 rating it got. Though modestly budgeted, it appears to be a well-made, well-acted piece of movie-making, if somewhat off-beat. It’s neither biopic nor fable, yet contains elements of both. I get the impression that it may do for the 50s American South something like what Bella (an uplifting and artistically noteworthy film that I highly recommend) did for modern-day New York City—immersing you in the atmosphere so that you feel like a fly on the wall just observing this culture.

The two trailers I’ve seen were very different in tone. The official one is more upbeat, while the first one is a bit more haunting. Although the official teaser is more polished, I think I prefer the first one (note: some language in the trailer).

Critical reception has been good so far, and after winning some awards since its independent release in the fall of last year, it’s finally opening in theaters this summer. What do you think? Are you planning to check it out?

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5 Comments

Filed under Movies, Southern Gospel News

5 responses to “Hear The Last Ride Soundtrack Streaming Free

  1. Danny Thomason

    I agree with you assessment of The Last Ride soundtrack. I am not on overly enthusiastic country/bluegrass/gospel fan, but I AM MESMERIZED BY THIS SOUNDTRACK. By the way, the composer of Honky Tonk Man is Benjy Gaither.

    • Benjy has obviously got “the gift.” I also listened to “Ilene” and “Chino” and thought, “These just have such a classic sound, like they could have been written sixty years ago.” Thanks for commenting.

  2. Harry Thomason

    One correction to a great article – Nathan Young had just turned 16 years old a few days before we shot his scenes! He is a star and so is Benjy Gaither!

    Harry Thomason

  3. Pingback: Movie Review: The Last Ride | Southern Gospel Yankee

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