Can you be both a Punch Brother and a Son of Mumford? Well, you can if you're Justin Timberlake.
In this behind-the-scenes exclusive from "Inside Llewyn Davis," Timberlake shows that he's not just demonstrating his acting range in the Coen brothers' new film, but also his vocal range. Chris Thile and two of his bandmates were brought in to the studio to record an a cappella version of the traditional Irish folk song "The Auld Triangle." But JT felt something was missing.
Timberlake recalled that he and associate music producer Marcus Mumford were listening to the Punch Brothers rehearse the song in three-part harmony when he was struck by inspiration. Timberlake said, "I looked at him and I said, 'This needs a bass part.'" So Timberlake, who usually sings his pop tunes as a tenor, stepped up to the mic and dropped down to a lower register. Mumford joined in, and suddenly the song had a much richer five-part sound.
And keeping a watchful eye (and ear) on the proceedings were writer/director/producers Joel and Ethan Coen. Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers (who, unlike the Coens, aren't actually related), commented that while filmmakers are usually not involved in creating the music for their movies, the Coens were always present in the studio. Thile said, "They're there. They're on the couch. They're listening during the takes. They're the Coens, and they're tapping their feet and mouthing along and having a good time." He added that their involvement actually improves their performance. "It can become a show, like we're used to as musicians. We can put on a show."
Nominated for three Golden Globes including Best Picture, Comedy or Musical, "Inside Llewyn Davis" expands to nationwide release on Friday.