Still from Beck recording. (

This interview with Daniel Hart, composer from Lake Highlands, and his parents Ken and Ellen, who still live in Lake Highlands, came about because of a podcast called S-Town with which all of the Advocate editors were obsessed.

We learned that the musical score for S-Town, produced by Ira Glass, was composed by a Lake Highlands guy—that is, Hart. I quickly discovered that Hart also is the go-to composers for all of director David Lowrey’s movies, including Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon and A Ghost Story.

If you’ve seen A Ghost Story (here’s a review), you know Hart’s music is a cornerstone of the highly praised picture, which stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.

Daniel Hart was generous to offer an interview (over the phone, since he lives in Los Angeles), however he is slow to say much about himself that might sound boastful. For example, it wasn’t until I talked to his dad that I learned Daniel actually taught Best Actor Academy Award title holder Casey Affleck to play piano (enough to get through one little scene, anyway).

There exists a series of videos wherein the incomparable Beck brings Hart and fellow Lake Highlands native Annie Clark of St. Vincent into his studio to remake INXS’ 1987 album Kick.

Next up, Lowrey just wrapped filming The Old Man and the Gun, a crime drama starring Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Elisabeth Moss and Tom Waits (if that’s not a Cast with a capital C, I don’t know what is). Daniel Hart was on set during our early correspondences, and he will, of course, score the film. According to Variety, the movie is among the last for Redford, who says that, at 80, he’s finished acting.  

Read about Daniel Hart in the September Advocate.