In the world of independent filmmaking, where passion and creativity are the driving forces, there’s often a unique story behind the scenes that’s as compelling as the film itself. The Dirty South, a newly released crime/action feature film written and directed by Matthew Yerby and produced by Andrew Vogel and Suzann Toni Petrongolo of VP Independent, is a testament to this spirit. But what truly sets this project apart is the extraordinary soundtrack that accompanies it.
Behind the music is Tyler Forrest and Blake Phillips. Tyler, an artist and songwriter, was the lead composer. While Blake was the film soundtrack’s Executive Producer. Together their leadership & creative collaboration paved the way for a soundtrack that boasts multi-platinum selling artists, three major labels, grammy winning songwriters and worldwide distribution through Universal-Ingrooves and Compound Interest. A feat not often achieved via the independent circuit. Just ask Blake, the E.P. of the soundtrack. “We have superstars on our project. Legends. Find me a better body of work on the independent scene right now. You can’t. Jelly Roll just won Best New Artist at the CMA Awards.”
The story of how this soundtrack came to be is nothing short of remarkable as Tyler and Matthew Yerby, the director, embarked on a journey that led them to a camp outside New Orleans on the serene shores of Lake St. Catherine. There, they transformed their surroundings into a makeshift recording studio, setting the stage for the magic to unfold.
Tyler’s gift for music has been a guiding force throughout his life. “I go where the music takes me,” he says, and this project is a testament to that philosophy. The soundtrack features a blend of original compositions, licensed tracks, and songs performed by local artists, creating a rich tapestry that encapsulates the essence of the southern culture portrayed in the film.
One standout track, “The Dirty South,” performed by the talented Jovin Webb, (American Idol) is a crown jewel in the soundtrack. Remarkably, the song was written months before Tyler was called on board as the composer. It’s one of those rare moments when creativity flows effortlessly. Tyler picked up his guitar, and within a few hours, the demo was complete. The song was destined to be the title track of the film, but finding the right singer was the final piece of the puzzle. That’s when Jovin Webb entered the picture, listened to the song once, and delivered a flawless performance. It was a magical experience for all involved.
The soundtrack isn’t just a showcase of established artists; it also provides a platform for emerging talents to be heard by new audiences. The Dirty South Soundtrack features a mix of renowned names like Dorothy, Brantley Gilbert, Jelly Roll, and Reyli Barba, alongside younger up-and-coming artists like Devan Zorn, Harrison Steele, Kori Lynn, Mus Gillum & Spencer Brunson. This unique blend of talent adds depth and diversity to the musical experience, making it a must-listen for fans of rock, country music and beyond. We spoke with Blake about the process: “The tone of a music album is everything. Nothing should feel forced. We blended mainstream favorites with backwoods flavor, and stylistically kept true to the fabric of the film. Working with musicians who would be additive and not dilutive was a tenet of Tyler and I’s throughout this process. We never wavered from that and I’m pleased with the end result.”
The film itself took five years from script to completion and it recently won the “Best Cinematography” (Jess Dunlap, DP) award at the Chelsea Film Festival in New York City, a testament to the dedication and hard work of the entire team behind The Dirty South.
In the end, The Dirty South Soundtrack is a labor of love, a testament to the power of collaboration, and a celebration of independent filmmaking and music. Tyler Forrest, alongside Blake Phillips and their entire team of artists and songwriters crafted a movie soundtrack that people will connect with and be passionate about. The film hit select theaters on November 10th, and the soundtrack that dropped alongside it is ready to take you on a musical journey through the heartland.
Looking to the future, Tyler Forrest is set to release his debut album, “Motherland,” in 2024. He describes his music as “Neo-Country,” a fusion of his southern country roots with new R&B-inspired sounds. With his unique sound and dedication to the craft, Tyler’s journey in the music industry is just beginning.
Be sure to check out the film and listen to The Dirty South Soundtrack HERE
Image Credits: Josie Concepcion, Tyler Forrest and Blake Phillips