Five Hundred Miles - Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, Stark Sands

from the original soundtrack recording Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Most songs never make it far from the place they were written.  However, a rare few travel the world and span generations.  One such song is Five Hundred Miles.

When Hedy West was a little girl living in the north Georgia mountains, her grandmother used to play banjo and sing her folk songs from the region.  Years later, as a young folk singer in Greenwich Village she patched together recollections and fragments of these songs to create this beloved folk classic.

Remembered best by the versions recorded by The Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul, & Mary, this song has been covered by dozens of other artists ranging from Elvis to Nick Cave.  Even Jim Nabors sang it on an episode of Gomer Pyle.

Today, this song has been resurrected by T-Bone Burnett for the Coen Brothers forthcoming film Inside Llewyn Davis.  Here it is performed by cast members Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and Stark Sands.  Classic Folk is not exactly Justin Timberlake's most obvious genre, but his voice sounds great on this record.  I guess it is not too much of a stretch, as he is a Tennessee native.

As with all of T-Bone Burnett's work, the song is beautifully recorded.  The clean guitar playing and sorrowful fiddle track are magnificent.  Equally stunning are the harmonies that deliver the simple and pure melody.

We should all tip our hat to Hedy West's grandmother for playing great American music to a child nearly seventy years ago.

Click Here to listen to the version of Five Hundred Miles from the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack.

Click Here to listen to Hedy West perform the Five Hundred Miles.