Soundtrack Review: Trey Anastasio – Hands on a Hardbody (Musical)


Wait, Trey did what?

That’s right, everyone’s favorite red-headed guitarist Trey Anastasio wrote the music for a recent musical, Hands on a Hardbody, based on the 1992 documentary of the same name. The plot of the musical revolves around a contest held in 1960’s Texas in which contestants try to win a truck by keeping their hand on a truck for the longest period. The score of this musical, like Phish in the music industry, is unique to other Broadway musicals. To me this reflects on the musical writing style of Anastasio, which impressively enough got him a Tony nomination for best music (not bad for a first timer).

Unlike most musicals on Broadway, Hands on a Hardbody has a southern feel to it. Most of the songs have a country theme to it, with an influence of blues and rock as well. There is definite variety within the soundtrack, with different musical theme for a song depending on the character singing it. Two other unique rarities in this musical that I attribute to Anastasio, which really separate Hands on a Hardbody from the rest of Broadway, is that a couple songs are actually acapella. Also, three of the songs in the musical, “Alone with Me,” “It’s a Fix,” and “Joy of the Lord,” are reprised again at a later point, instantly reminding me of Tweezer Reprise. Two of the songs, “My Problem Right There,” and “Burn That Bridge,” I already knew quite well, because the Trey Anastasio Band has performed it on their tour in 2011. To have known those two songs for 2 years and hearing them now placed within the context of a musical was probably one of the stranger moments for my song listening history, but in no way is that a bad thing. It’s also worth noting the guitar riff in the opening track, “Human Drama Kind of Thing,” brought me to an urge to groove along as if I was dancing in the rain again at Summer Camp to TAB’s Mr. Completely.

Track Listing:

  1. Human Drama Kind of Thing
  2. If I Had This Truck
  3. If She Don’t Sleep
  4. My Problem Right There
  5. Alone With Me
  6. Burn That Bridge
  7. I’m Gone
  8. Uncontrollable Laughter
  9. Joy of the Lord
  10. Stronger
  11. Hunt With the Big Dogs
  12. Hands on a Hardbody
  13. Born in Laredo
  14. Alone With Me Reprise
  15. It’s a Fix
  16. Used to Be Me
  17. It’s a Fix Reprise
  18. God Answered My Prayers
  19. Joy of the Lord Reprise
  20. Keep Your Hands on It
  21. The Tryers (Bonus Track)