Behind The Story And Music Of Graphic Novel Murder Ballads

by Gary Catig

Previously on our site we have discussed Z2 Comics‘ recently released graphic novel Murder Ballads offering a preview and one of the tracks on the accompanying soundtrack.  Writer Gabe Soria gave an interview with radio station WWOZ in New Orleans to discuss his most recent work and provide a peak into the process of developing the soundtrack.
Murder Ballads is a noir crime graphic novel that takes place predominantly in Shreveport, Louisiana in the late 1990’s. It is the story about the head of a failing record company discovering the musical act that can save his record label.  It tackles the lengths someone will go to save his company and to spread music that he genuinely loves. Soria has described his work as a combination of the story of famed ethnomusicologist and musician Adam Lomax with a Jim Thompson novel.  He sees it as a culmination of his time as a music journalist, his time following bands, and his fascination with music, film, and comics.
Soria also provided some insight on creating the soundtrack with the Black Keys vocalist and longtime friend Dan Auerbach. He would provide basic concepts of songs and Auerbach would take care of the rest. For example, for the track “The Empty Arms“, Soria wanted a song that sounded like an Eddie Hinton song. On the other hand, for the evocative and spooky track “Three Jumpers“, Soria asked for a song that referenced Shakespeare’s Macbeth.  In the graphic novel, one of the members of the musical act spends significant time incarcerated and his only friend is a paperback copy of the play.
Near the end of the interview, Soria plugged a deluxe collector’s edition of Murder Ballads due out in the Fall containing the soundtrack on vinyl and art prints and some promotional appearances in New Orleans.  On Monday, August 21, 2017, Auerbach and vocalist for the soundtrack Robert Finely will be performing at Preservation Hall. On Tuesday, August 22, 2017, Soria and Auerbach will be signing copies at Euclid Records from 5:00 pm until the very last person.
Murder Ballads is published by Z2 Comics and is out right now.  It is written by Gabe Soria with art by Paul Reinwand and Chris Hunt.  Accompanying music is provided by Robert Finley and Dan Auerbach.

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