“Who isn’t a fan of nakedness and vampirism?” Elvis Costello jokes when asked to sum up the appeal of True Blood. Hopefully, more rock fans will soon be too. For the third season of HBO’s hit drama, the show’s producers have lined up an impressive roster of artists to contribute to an eclectic soundtrack. Beck, Robbie Robertson, Eels, M. Ward and Bob Dylan are among the fourteen artists who are contributing old and new material; Costello, meanwhile, has re-teamed with Lucinda Williams (whom he collaborated with on her 2008 album Little Honey) for the new track “Kiss Like Your Kiss.” “It’s a love song, but it has an atmospheric, moody quality to it,” says Williams of the tune.
While most soundtracks typically feature previously released material, producers have been ratcheting up their ambitions for soundtracks to movies like the Twilight series, corralling top artists to contribute unreleased material. The upcoming Twilight soundtrack, for instance, features new songs from Muse, the Dead Weather and the Black Keys. (Beck also appears with “Let’s Get Lost,” a collaboration with Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan.) The same ambitions went into the making of the True Blood soundtrack. When Williams was approached to contribute, she turned in a rough acoustic demo of the song to show’s music supervisor Gary Calamar. Calamar worked closely with Williams to shape the song and suggested she collaborate again with Costello as well the show’s in-house composer Nathan Barr, who added cello melodies. Barr believes the final version fits in well with the dark mood of the show. “Cello is central to the scores that I write,” he says. “If there’s not some cello or heavy guitar, it won’t sound like True Blood.”
True Blood hasn’t yet wrapped filming the entire third season, so it’s not clear what scene will feature Williams and Costello’s song. But Williams hopes it will be featured in a racier scene to match the tune’s sultry vibe. “I want it to be a totally hot, steamy, lustful scene between [the show’s main characters] Sookie and Bill,” she says. “That would be perfect — Bill comes back, and they have torrid sex. Yes!”
Since wrapping up her contribution to the soundtrack, Williams is hard at work writing and recording her next album, which is slated for fall release. She says the as-yet-untitled disc will include tracks like “Copenhagen” (about her late-manager Frank Callari’s heart attack) and “Seeing Black,” a tribute to the late singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt. But she finds that she’s often distracted by her love of True Blood. I’m really into it,” she says. “I got to find out what happens next!”