Red Dead Redemption on Top Score

by Emily Reese
June 23, 2011

Listen Top Score: Bill Elm (June 23, 2011)
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Composer and musician Bill Elm (Strobles)
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Let's be clear: I love Red Dead Redemption. Every time I think of the game, I simply think "fun." Leave it to Rockstar Games to publish and develop yet another thoroughly entertaining open-world game, this time with an unorthodox soundtrack to accompany you through the Wild West.

Rockstar turned to Bill Elm and Woody Jackson to create the music for RDR. Elm is the guest for the new episode of Top Score from Classical MPR.

Elm and Jackson hail from the alternative country scene, rooted in past projects like bands Giant Sand and Calexico. Elm currently plays steel guitar, organ and electric guitar with an instrumental band based in Austin called Friends of Dean Martinez (Jackson is a past member).

As a player in an open-world game like RDR, you're allowed to wander around and do whatever you'd like. If you feel like completing a mission, you can do so; but if you feel like hopping the train or riding your horse around aimlessly, you can do that too.

One of the things that keeps the aimless wandering interesting is the soundtrack, complete with a whistler, a fiddle and a harmonica. Jackson and Elm's music can be breathtakingly melodic (like tracks Estancia and Aready Dead), or it can set the stage for duels and showdowns (Triggernometry).

Elm speaks of his adoration of Ennio Morricone, the Italian composer known for scoring Spaghetti Westerns like Once Upon a Time in the West and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, among other films like The Mission, The Untouchables and Cinema Paradiso.

Listen to Bill Elm on the newest episode of Top Score from Classical MPR.


  • INTRO: RDR - "(Theme from) Red Dead Redemption"
  • RDR - "Exodus in America"
  • Friends of Dean Martin - "So Well Remembered"
  • Friends of Dean Martin - "Somewhere Over the Waves"
  • Ennio Morricone - "Once Upon a Time in the West"
  • RDR - "Estancia"
  • RDR - "Gunplay"
  • Friends of Dean Martin - "Lost Horizon"
  • RDR - "Luz y Sombra"
  • RDR - "Already Dead"
  • RDR - "Born Into Trouble"
  • CREDITS: RDR - "Triggernometry"