Runaway Music


iTunes kept me company yesterday as I worked away at my little keyboard. At some point in the afternoon, one song rose above the din. Something I hadn’t heard in a few years.

It was a song called Looking Out a Window, which was written and performed by indie music hero Jason Morphew (of Holding Merle Haggard fame, not to mention my personal favorite, The Duke of Arkansas). The song was one of many composed by Morphew for Runaway, but never used. He was, in fact, hired to score the entire picture at some point.

I was pretty excited when I heard Morphew had signed on. I’d been something of a fan since I’d heard Haggard years before. Arkansas had come out the year before, and I had the CD for awhile. But a pal of mine borrowed it, and it evaporated into the ether.

The songs he created for the movie were, I thought, inspired. Some of them, like Looking Out a Window, were downright great. And the first rough cut of the movie featured Bull in the China Shop of Love (one of the sweetest tracks off Arkansas), which elicited a gleeful belly laugh from me as I sat with producer Bob Gosse in his Pasadena pad and watched the first rough cut of the movie.

After production wrapped, and I stepped away from the Runaway day-to-day, something obviously happened. Suddenly, Morphew’s music was gone. Whaaa-? I had expected more music, not less. I talked to Al Klingenstein, the head of Filbert Steps, and he told me that Morphew was off the project. Something had transpired, it seems, between Morphew and the director. I don’t know. There are several accounts. Look ’em up on the Internet.

The bottom line for me is that, though I love Robert Miller’s haunting score, the movie misses Morphew’s obvious talent and insight. Misses his imprint on it.

But back to yesterday.

I’m listening to the song, and “I wonder whatever happened to Jason Morphew?” pops into my head. Power of the Information Superhighway later, I discover this:


What is this, you ask?

It’s most of the songs I was talking about. The Runaway songs. And, apparently, a lot of the instrumental music he created for the movie.

At first I was shocked. I won’t lie to you; I was knocked off center for a bit. But when I came to, I was flattered and honored. Although Morphew is (and I can’t blame him) not exactly a huge fan of the movie, the script resonated with him at least enough to inspire some this really cool music.

How do I know? For one, he talks about it in various commentary he’s given about his Runaway experience. For another, we’ve exchanged a number of emails over the past 24 hours discussing it.

So…cool. I also got to chat with him a bit and let him know I’m a fan. How often do you get a chance to do that over the pretense of discussing how something you’ve written inspired an artist whom you have great respect for? Not damn often enough, I say.

Anyway, so there ya go. As I told him, he deserved to do something with this music, which he obviously put so much heart and effort and time into. And I am excited to maybe have played a bit part in that.

There’s even a picture of some sort (I haven’t seen it because I downloaded the music on iTunes) of a page of the script on the CD tray label.

Way cool.

btw — you can get your very own copy of Sunday Afternoon here.

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