Cactus Moser Discusses Scoring New Civil War Film, ‘Union Bound’
Cactus Moser is well known within country music, both from his time as the drummer for Highway 101 and now as Wynonna Judd's drummer (and husband!), but he recently tried something completely new: scoring a movie.
Union Bound, now in theaters nationwide, is based on the actual diaries of real-life Civil War soldier Joseph Hoover. The film tells the story of Hoover's journey back to the Union, and how he was helped by freed slaves on the Underground Railroad.
"I was talking to Mike Davis, producer of film; I had done some other work with him," Moser recalls to The Boot, "and when he said this was happening, I said, 'Oh my gosh, I love Civil War history, so I would love to do the music, and you've got to let me be in it.'"
Moser, a self-proclaimed Civil War buff, tells The Boot that he's a big fan of that time in U.S. history, as well as the storyline of the Civil War. He's watched every episode of Ken Burns' documentary mini-series on the war, The Civil War.
Moser crafted Union Bound's instrumental score in his studio. The artist explains that the room is chock full of a variety of instruments, so he was always able to find what he needed when he was inspired.
"I would just get scenes they would send me, and I would watch them and sit there and go, 'How did it speak to me?'" Moser says, later calling it "the most freeing process I've been [involved in] in a in long time."
"Writing songs is a different thing," Moser notes. "[Writing scores] sort of takes the expectation off and lets you make a musical landscape; it captures how you react and what you see and feel."
In addition to writing the score for Union Bound, Moser was also able to exercise his acting skills by taking a small part in the film.
"It was definitely a rush -- a fearful rush -- into this scene, even though it's two paragraphs long," Moser admits. However, the musician had an inherent connection to his role of a soldier who who lost his leg: Moser's leg was amputated in 2012, following a horrible motorcycle accident.
"I said, 'Hey, I know what it feels like, so I'm the perfect guy,'" he recalls. "It was less about getting every single word right but getting the overall feel and living it."
Although Moser's Union Bound castmates include Oliver Stone’s son, Sean Stone, "because of of losing my leg three years before, I knew I was the only guy here who knows exactly what this feels like -- how you breathe, and how it sounds. So I just kept going back to that."
Though many would rightfully feel angry or bitter about losing a limb, Moser's attitude is refreshing: "I've made peace with it," he says. "It's been a blessing."
Union Bound was directed by Harvey Lowry and stars Stone (JFK, Nixon, The Doors), Tank Jones (The Deadliest Gun, Breaking Bad), Randy Wayne (To Save a Life, The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning), Issac C. Singleton (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), Christian Fortune (New Year's Eve) and Drew Seeley (High School Musical). The movie is rated PG-13. For more information on the film and where it's playing, visit the official Union Bound website.
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