Canadian treasure Ryan Gosling is the darling of the ‘Oscars‘ Ryan also won a Golden Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy for his portrayal of a sentimental jazz nerd in La La Land. It’s a fine movie and Gosling is a fine singer in it but this isn’t the actor’s first foray into the musical world. Before he was the Hey Girl feminist meme and one-time internet boyfriend, he played the ukulele and stole all our of hearts for a minute in Blue Valentine. He was also part of the Mickey Mouse Club with 90s heavy hitting pop stars like Justin Timberlake. Yet, Gosling’s greatest musical project to date though was Dead Man’s Bones with fellow Hollywood pal Zach Shields.
Dead Man’s Bones surfaced in October 2009 with a full-length self-titled record and it’s actually good!!! It was among the crop of so-called eclectic, quirky actors who took to the recording studio for a stretch like Zooey Deschanel (She & Him) and Scarlett Johannson (remember her Tom Waits covers album and her record with Pete Yorn?) Gosling’s Dead Man Bones, though, that errs on the side of concept album: it is soulful rock that is mostly, if not entirely, about death in some way.
There’s the confusingly sexy “My Body’s a Zombie For You“, “Werewolf Heart“, “Lose Your Soul“, and closing love song “Flowers Grow Out Of My Grave.” The video for lead single “Name in Stone“, which doesn’t appear on the record, features Gosling and co. playing music in a graveyard somewhere in Los Angeles. There’s even a baby in a skeleton onesie. Dead Man’s Bones really took this bit to their dead hearts: when they toured this album in 2009, at their Toronto show, their opening act was a literal ghost magician. Gosling shares singing duties with Shields and takes to the piano or guitar, generally melting your spooky heart in the process.
One of the other cool bits of this project is that Dead Man’s Bones collaborated with the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir. On the road, they used local children’s choirs who were fully integrated into the show; donning ghostly looking attire and face paint, hiding in the shadows sometimes, and singing alongside Gosling and Shields.
Anyway, when Gosling is nominated for an Oscar for his role in La La Land as a thinly veiled mansplaining yet sweet, wide-eyed and nice music nerd, let’s all remember his pseudo goth turn on this ghoulish record that will absolutely soundtrack your next Halloween party.
“Dead Hearts” https://youtu.be/HPtcZrDxGsY