Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview film, TV, and video game composers about the origins and nuances of their latest works, as well as select commentaries from some of the score’s most important tracks.
Today we’re talking to Hollywood Music in Media Awards-winning composer Dara Taylor, best known for her collaborations with composer Christopher Lennertz on a variety of projects, from the Netflix series Lost in Space to the cult 2020 comedy Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar. But her latest solo project is the biggest yet for the young composer – the George Clooney-directed drama The Tender Bar.
Based on the memoir by J.R. Moehringer, The Tender Bar is a coming-of-age story about a young writer (Daniel Ranieri as a child, Tye Sheridan as a young man) growing up in 1970s Long Island. With an absentee father and little to do, he spends much of his childhood at the bar his Uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck) owns, absorbing the man’s homespun wisdom through the cigarette haze of the past.
It’s a sleepy tale soaked in hazy nostalgia, leading Taylor down a stripped-down approach sufficed with plaintive guitars and pleasant piano. Her sound accentuates the film’s ever-present ’70s soundtrack, weaving through needledrops from Jackson Browne and Steely Dan without clashing with it.
I spoke to Dara about the incredible opportunity this prestige awards-season drama presented her, the challenges of working within an assignment so heavy on source music, and the long, challenging road it takes for a composer to get to this level. Also, check out commentaries for two of the most interesting tracks from her score to The Tender Bar, “Christmas at Sidney’s” and “Home”.
You can find Dara Taylor at her official website here.
The Tender Bar is currently streaming on Prime Video.