It was a cover of a Bob Dylan song that Walk Off the Earth did five years ago. They performed it once, just for kicks. In fact, they pretty much forgot they ever sang it — until someone from Outlander contacted them in July about using it for an episode this season.
In an interview on Outlander Live! Monday on EW Radio, band founder Ryan Marshall and member Sarah Blackwood talked about the initial email from the producers, and what prompted them to record Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” in the first place.
“We got an email in about July. Anytime we get a call from anybody wanting to use our music is super exciting,” recalls Marshall of his five-member band that’s based in Burlington, Ontario. “The fact they wanted to use an old Bob Dylan song … it wasn’t one of our songs, it was a cover that Sarah and I just kind of threw together on the floor. It was pretty cool. And it’s just an acoustic cover, not a lot of bells and whistles. It was one of those tearjerker songs.”
“We were kind of just hanging out and had shot another video that day,” adds Blackwood. “Marshall was like, hey Sarah check out this song. We should cover it. We sat down and started doing some harmonies and we were like, let’s film this and record it.”
Good thing they did. When penning Sunday night’s episode, writer Toni Graphia was thinking about using the Bob Dylan song but the legendary singer-songwriter wasn’t exactly on their speed dial. “He won the Nobel Prize so we were like, oh, we’ll never get that,” executive producer Matthew B. Roberts told EW. “And then we heard this band cover it and kind of fell in love with it. It really sang to us because of Jamie and Claire being separated. That’s why it won out. We very rarely use contemporary songs. In editing, we were trying to figure out the right moment to start it because we don’t do a lot of montages either. But that one really worked out.”
So did Walk Off the Earth, which recently broke the internet with their rendition of “Somebody I Used to Know,” ever hear from Dylan about their cover of his song from 1962? “Oh my god, if I had heard from Bob Dylan I would be telling you right now,” says Marshall.
This isn’t the first time the band’s music has been used on TV. Have a listen:
Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.