Nashville Scene writer D. Patrick Rodgers on the local songwriters and musicians featured in the upcoming Gwyenth Paltrow, Tim McGraw flick, Love Don’t Let Me Down.
It’s a Thursday night at Skyline recording studio, just off Eighth Avenue, a recording and rehearsal space much like any other in Music City. A few 12-packs of Coors Lite sit nearby, casually offered to visitors. A crop of young studio players has gathered to practice some songs. They’re cruising through a pop-country number called “Words I Couldn’t Say,” no sweat. It sounds like it could be a Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood tune — the sort of sugar-sweet, radio-ready gem these guys could track in a pass or two on any given day.
But they aren’t playing it live. They’re playing along to a track. All the pristinely pre-recorded parts are issuing forth from the P.A. speakers: drums, steel, bass, guitars, keys, a crystalline female lead vocal. The boys are just miming along.
Skylar Wilson barks out chord changes in the Nashville number system. This is his family’s studio, and, though he’s playing drums on these numbers, he seems to know every chord. He’s typically more of a keyboard guy, but like most everyone else in the room, he can get by pretty well on just about anything he picks up.
So why are they playing along to tracks? They’ve been cast as the backing band for two of Love Don’t Let Me Down’s lead characters, and they’re making sure they have all the changes just right for when they film a performance scene in the morning. This song, penned by Greg Becker, Tammi Kidd and Steve Robson, is to be performed by Chiles Stanton, a somewhat Taylor Swiftian up-and-coming singer played by Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester.