By Brian Ives
AMC’s Turn is a new drama set during the Revolutionary War that tells the story of America’s first spy ring. An exciting premise, but not one that seems to call for a whole lot of music. Particularly not from modern indie rock artists. But the show, which sticks with the music of the era, uses some of today’s most blog-worthy artists to reinterpret songs from the 1700s. We’ll be speaking with the show’s music supervisor, Thomas Golubic from SuperMusicVision, who also works on The Walking Dead, all season long about the modern twist he’s putting on centuries-old music.
Well, it happened, and this time it really happened. Spoilers ahead, obviously.
A few episodes ago, protagonists and ex-lovers Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell) and Anna Strong (Heather Lind) were tearing at each other’s clothes on Abe’s kitchen table when they were accidentally interrupted by a soldier who was bunking at the Woodhull residence. This week, though, after infiltrating a curiously-named “gentleman’s party” of Redcoats in New York City, they met back at a hotel room where Abe and Anna finally got it on, uninterrupted. It’s a satisfying moment, but one we know won’t last: Abe’s wife and son await at home in Long Island. Anna, meanwhile, believes her husband to be dead, although he isn’t (long story). During this scene, we hear “Jock O’Hazeldean” performed by Snow Patrol‘s Gary Lightbody and Johnny McDaid.
Thomas Golubic spoke to Radio.com about the choice of song and performer: “Our showrunner Craig Silverstein wanted to retain a note of melancholy in their union, as it’s a fleeting one. Both Abe and Anna are married to others despite a lifelong love. The song ‘Jock O’Hazeldean’ tells the tale of a lord convincing a weeping young lady that his son is a worthy suitor. The woman’s heart, however, belongs to another. Despite the lord’s offers of riches and gold, she follows her heart and flees to be with her true love, Jock O’Hazeldean. It was producer Tony Berg’s idea to reach out to Gary Lightbody and Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol to interpret ‘Jock O’Hazeldean.’ It turned out to be a perfect choice. Gary’s soft, heartfelt delivery and Johnny’s plaintive guitar balance beautifully against each other, and with Tony’s tasteful guidance the song is poignant, simple, and sincere.”
Tony Berg, who has produced most of the show’s musical performances (and who has worked with Phantom Planet, Lisa Loeb and Michael Penn, among many others) told Radio.com, “Gary and Johnny are friends from way back. But I was struck by their uncanny ability to take a three hundred-year-old song and and make it sound relevant to a modern audience.”
As Golubic says, the song’s lyrics end with a scene at the church for her wedding: “The lady was not seen/ For she’s over the border and away/ With Jock o’ Hazeldean.” While Abe and Anna are both already married, can those last lines give a clue to the future of their relationship? Perhaps we’ll find out soon: the season has just two episodes left.
Lightbody and McDaid’s “Jock O’Hazeldean” will be available on the forthcoming Turn soundtrack, which will also include, Laura Marling and Jonathan Wilson’s take on ‘Bonny Portmore,’ Jake Bugg’s cover of ‘Turpin Hero,’ Sarah Blasko’s rendition of ‘Spanish Ladies,’ and theme song ‘Hush’ by Joy Williams of the Civil Wars and Matt Berninger of The National. All of these songs are already available on iTunes. You can discuss the show’s music with Golubic: follow him at @SMVCrew and use the #TURNMusic hashtag.