Title - 'West of Memphis: Voices for Justice' (Legacy)
Artist - Various
If you are not aware, West of Memphis: Voices for Justice is music from and inspired by 'West of Memphis,' the documentary film written and directed by Academy Award nominated filmmaker, Amy Berg and produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh (the 'Lord of the Rings' triology), Damien Echols and Lorri Davis.
Indeed, it's that incredible film that tells the untold story behind an extraordinary and desperate fight to bring the truth to light; a fight to stop the State of Arkansas from killing innocent men. And to bring to light the plight of the West Memphis 3,
In a very rare show of solidarity, West of Memphis: Voices For Justice contains artists who have made their own choices about which song they felt reflected their personal feelings about the case. And so, and deep down, there's a connection between the music and the man at its focused center, Damien Echols.
Longtime personal supporters, it's Henry Rollins who begins by reading an excerpt from one of Damien Echols' letters from death row. Recited over an incredibly tense, stirring film score from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, 'Damien Echols Death Row Letter Year 9' is a heartbreaking work to hear. He talks about his prison cell, the budget cuts over the food, and the fact they have no actual pens inside. Natalie Maines then brings us 'Mother,' a courageous Pink Floyd cover, before Lucinda Williams' re-recorded from 2006 'Joy' and the supergroup cover-band Camp Freddy's (aka Dave Navarro and co.) brilliant Bowie cover 'The Jean Genie' come along next.
Tonto's Giant Nuts featuring Johnny Depp and Bruce Witkin on 'Little Lion Man' (a Mumford & Sons cover) is something I could listen to over and over, and the excellent Carly Simon cover of 'You're So Vain' by Marilyn Manson has to be heard to be believed. Truly, it is something from the late '90s vibe wise, but it stands tall today.
Neil Young with his Band of Horses with a live version of 'Dumpster World' is next, with a flowing 'DFW' from Citizen Cope (aka Clarence Greenwood) along next. An acoustic Eddie Vedder on the poignant 'Satellite' is then backed by Bill Carter's 'Anything Made of Paper' and The White Buffalo (aka Jake Smith) with a cover of Faster Pussycat's 'House of Pain.'
Bob Dylan brings us 'Ring Them Bells' (from his 1989 Oh Mercy album), before the compelling, darkly-stirring 'West of Memphis Score Suite' from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis makes us sit and quietly listen. Tonto's Giant Nuts featuring Johnny Depp (featuring the original score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis) allows Depp to recall Echols forgetfulness of how to walk on 'Damien Echols Death Row Letter Year 16.' The album comes to a close with the Patti Smith bonus track, 'Wing,' which was recorded at the Live at Voices For Justice Benefit Concert, on August 28th, 2010).
FYI: Digital versions of West of Memphis: Voices For Justice will include the bonus-bonus track 'Road to Nowhere,' an Ozzy Osbourne cover recorded by Bill Carter.