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The Music
Academy Award®–nominated composer John Debney ("The Passion of the Christ,” "I Know What You Did Last Summer”) created the original score for the movie. "I wanted to create a theme for the film that captured the simple elegance and nobility of Kevin Costner's character and his journey through the film,” says Debney. "I started the process of writing this score by focusing on the main title sequence. The visuals are rich and vibrant and I strove to create the most simple and elegant theme that I could. What came through was a very Americana theme stated first by solo piano, then strings and woodwinds. "Much of the score was ‘rural' in color, utilizing guitars, dulcimers, accordion and other folk instruments,” Debney continues. "In particular, Kevin's character is represented in a bluesy way, with slide guitar and rhythm section. The character of Molly is much more childlike, utilizing celeste and harp with woodwinds. Molly's character is the moral compass of the film and her music is simple and sincere and a bit wistful.”

According to the composer, Stern guided him through the process, aiming for a country flavor without it becoming a country-western score. "The intent was to give the feeling of rural locale without becoming too ‘southern.'”

The film also features a live band headed by Costner's character. When Bud attends a party thrown by the Democrats, he finds himself center stage — literally. "They're thinking, ‘How do we keep Bud happy?'” says Costner. "And so they give him the stage.” Known in the movie as the Half-Nelsons, the band performs mostly cover versions of Willie Nelson songs along with some original music.

This wasn't a stretch for Costner, who is no stranger to singing, playing or fronting a band. He records, tours and performs regularly with the six other band members of Modern West. In addition to playing guitar and singing lead vocals, he also writes songs with the group. This gave them the perfect opportunity to write some songs inspired by "Swing Vote.” "Songs that Bud could have written,” says Costner. "And out of that, a few songs find their way into the film, whether it's the credit sequence or in the movie itself. I think it adds a little bit extra to the movie that one might not have expected.”

Two of the Modern West songs from the film will be featured on the "Swing Vote” soundtrack: "Backyard” and "Hey Man What About You?” The soundtrack, scheduled for digital release by Hollywood Records on July 29, 2008, also features a variety of musicians, including Willie Nelson, Moby, The Marshall Tucker Band and David Gilmore.


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