January 22nd, 2011 | Album reviews

Diana Baeza

Danny Darst “Marilyn”
(from the self-released Exit 10 soundtrack)

While much of modern country music is pandering and vulgar in its homage to these country and western motifs, Danny Darst’s new soundtrack to a self-penned play, Exit 10, elevates the genre with a simple, unassuming arrangement: just a voice, a hollow body guitar, an acoustic bass and a pickup kit. Traces of Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings and T Bone Burnett slowly lope through themes of alienation, remembrances of better times and cowboy wisdom. Yet Darst’s voice is unique, and tracks such as “Highway 99,” “Western Flyer” and “Marilyn” are melodious, direct and sincere, like a retuned piano rescued from a honky-tonk or an old pair of boots, spit-shined and polished to once again glimmer under a Texas sky. Darst’s ability to tell a story within the confines of a song are startling—it’s no surprise that he’s the playwright of Exit 10 as well as the composer of the music. Darst has quite the CV, with past works including the music for Russ Meyer’s Supervixens, Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild, as well as an onscreen role in Demme’s Silence of the Lambs. Exit 10 is dedicated to Robert Altman and also boasts Altman’s son Michael’s directorial debut, which should be very interesting considering the years he has observed his father directing some of American cinema’s finest films. If the music and lyrics to Exit 10 are any indication, Darst’s new play and soundtrack will ride into the sunrise of success with an unburdened heart and a satisfied mind.

—Eyad Karkoutly

EXIT 10:

Saturday 1/22/10: 8:00pm
Sunday 1/23/10: 7:00pm

Theater 68
5419 Sunset Blvd Suite D
Hollywood, CA 90027
Box Office: 323-501-0511

“Master storyteller Danny Darst weaves a tale of alter ego, Mike Talburt. Abandoned by his mother on the day his daddy was buried, he travels wherever trucks and trains will take him. With a guitar slung over his shoulder, he follows the path of gypsies and migrants in the post Dust Bowl 1950s. In the ‘60s, he lands a steady job at a truck stop garage at Exit 10 in Auburn, Massachusetts. Strong, handsome and streetwise, he is making good money in spite of a devious co-worker. Side deals with hookers and pimps up the ante so Mike can woo the long-legged Lydia and drive her around in his Lincoln Continental with the top down. When Lydia shimmies close to hold him tight, Mike feels a sense of belonging that’s long escaped him.”