By Lolis Eric Elie
When David Simon and Eric Overmyer first started talking about a series about New Orleans, they wanted it to revolve around the city's rhythm and blues tradition. Both of them are fans of the music and they dreamed of creating a show that would feature it. Years later, as 'Treme' started to take shape, the failure of the federal levees offered up several story lines that helped add a bit more heft to their original idea. But, as David sometimes says, if you're fast forwarding through the music performances on 'Treme' to get to the plot, you're missing the plot.
The final determination of which songs will be chosen for each episode is a job shared by the executive producers and the writers of the respective episodes. But much of the credit for the quality of the live performances and the selection of the music included in the show goes to Blake Leyh, our music supervisor. He's worked with David and Blown Deadline Productions for years so he understands the producers' musical sensibilities and high standards for authenticity in sound design.
Like so many titles in television, it's hard for outsiders to know what in the world a "music supervisor" does. I put that and other questions to Blake recently.