Composer known for musical

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2006


Mason Daring, musical director for &uot;Honeydripper,&uot; the John Sayles film being shot currently in Butler County, divides his time between homes in Marblehead, Massachusetts and Santa Monica, California. But he has the gift to put his music into a sort of time machine that travels far beyond those coasts.

Critics say the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning composer has &uot;honed the ability to place a film in a particular time and place by putting together small ensembles of talented musicians.&uot;

Whether it’s the Irish coast featured in &uot;Secret of Roan Inish,&uot; the Tex-Mex border in &uot;Lone Star,&uot; the Louisiana bayou of &uot;Passion Fish,&uot; or one of his many other films, Daring has the ability to capture the flavor, feeling and mood of a place through his music.

His latest project: bringing to life the music of rural Alabama in the mid-20th century, a time when gospel, blues and early rock n’ roll were tapping on one another’s shoulders.

Local choir members from New Beginnings Ministries, Charlie Kennedy, singer-songwriter Rock Killough, and other familiar faces will perform and play small roles in the film, along with nationally acclaimed artists such as guitarist Keb’Mo and blues singer and actress Ruth Brown.

Daring, a former entertainment lawyer, folk singer, Checker Cab driver and commercial director, brings all his gifts together to create music for feature films, TV movies, documentaries, and occasionally, episodic television.

Most film composers start out as pianists with classically trained backgrounds. Daring, an intrepid guitarist and former leader of a couple of rock bands, broke the mold.

He was once part of a popular folk group that performed regularly at Boston’s Bull and Finch Pub, the model for television’s long-running &uot;Cheers.&uot; If you are a fan of PBS’s Frontline or Nova, it’s Daring’s musical compositions that serve as their theme songs.

Daring got his start in composing film scores while working as legal advisor for John Sayles’ first film, &uot;Return of the Secaucus Seven.&uot; When Sayles offered him the chance to serve as both legal and musical advisor on his next film, Daring turned down the legal role but eagerly pursued scoring the film, &uot;Lianna.&uot; He’s worked on every Sayles film since then.