"Where the Shadows Fall" (2015)

Demo Song

Background Information

“Where the Shadows Fall” may have started out as a U2 demo, but it has now become a song for Willie Nelson to sing.

In the December 2015 issue of Q Magazine (cover dated February 2016) there was a preview of upcoming music for 2016, including a one page article on U2. The article mostly drew from other sources and prior interviews with the band. One small bit of new information came in the form of an interview with Adam Clayton where he discusses the new album:

Last year, Bono played Q four new songs in various states of completion, “Instrument Flying” had a sleek, motorik quality. “The Little Things That Give You Away” was vibrantly anthemic; “Much More Better” was a deeply personal acoustic demo about Bono’s recovery from his bike accident; and the tense, heavy “Civilisation” sounded like a surefire album opener. Bono described Larry Mullen’s colossal drum roll in the middle of the song as “my favorite bit on a U2 album in years.” He also previewed an untitled, riff-heavy song related to Songs of Innocence’s “Volcano,” mentioned the titles “Landlady” and “Where the Shadows Fall,” and said that the producers so far included Slaves’ producer Jolyon Thomas and Andy Barlow of electronic duo Lamb. Elsewhere, he has talked about songs called “Red Flag Day” and “Get Out of Your Own Way.”

We reported in early 2016 that it appeared that this was no longer a U2 song. Bono had given the song to Willie Nelson to sing on the soundtrack of the film Waiting for the Miracle to Come. Those involved in the film confirmed that the song would be the only participation Bono would have on the soundtrack, but he was also acting as executive producer for the film with Wim Wenders. The song is set to include Bono backing up Willie Nelson on background vocals. The film has not yet set a release date, and in September 2017 the director would only say that the film would be distrubuted, “Soon.”

In interviews leading up to the Austin Film Festival in October 2018, Lian Lunson, the director of Waiting for the Miracle to Come spoke further about the song and clarified the origins of the song:

“He actually wrote it for the movie. Completely new. He’s also an executive producer of the film, he has been trying to help me make this film for a very long time along with Wim Wenders. He’s a massive Willie Nelson fan as well. I took Willie to Ireland to meet them back in the 90s, and they recorded a song together that Bono wrote for Willie called “Slow Dancing.” And they’d always wanted to do something again, so Bono wrote this song “Where the Shadows Fall” for the movie. Really happy to do it. He’s a massive Willie Nelson fan, we both are. Hed been a huge supporter of what my goal was. To bring Willie Nelson to the big screen, in a really great role, particularily written for him, that was about connections. Bono was very supportive of that, and wrote the song, which is the theme song for the film. He sings on the song as well, he does the chorus of the song. It’s a beautiful, beautiful track. It’s a really different track for Willie to sing as well. When Mickey Rapheal, who was working on the song as well for us, he said it was in a key that Willie hadn’t really sung before. So its quite different, but really beautiful, and sort of delicate, everything i wanted for the film. He sings the song that is the theme for the film that Bono wrote specifically for the story.”

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