The American Rust soundtrack includes music by Eminem, Steve Earle and Waxahatchee. This info article contains spoilers for Dan Futterman’s Showtime series. Visit the Soundtracks of Television section for more Vague Visages streaming guides.
Based on Philipp Meyer’s 2009 novel, American Rust explores a murder mystery in small town Pennsylvania. Local cop Del Harris (Jeff Daniels) pursues a romance with Grace Poe (Maura Tierney), and then discovers that the woman’s son, Billy (Alex Neustaedter), might’ve killed a former police officer. Composer Marty Beller (In Treatment) scored the first eight episodes, while music supervisor Anthony Roman (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll) selected the mainstream tracks. Here’s every featured song in American Rust season 1.
American Rust Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 1 “The Mill”
- “Untitled” by Eminem: (00:05:00): Billy chills out on his porch. The chaotic lyrics correlate with the character’s intense memories of a sexual encounter with his former girlfriend, Lee (Julia Mayorga). During the American Rust soundtrack song, Lee’s brother Isaac (David Alvarez) shows up and teases Billy about being too broke to afford Spotify.
- “The Galway Girl” by Sharon Shannon, Steve Earle: (00:56:00): In a flashback scene, Virgil (Mark Pellegrino) dances at home for his wife, Grace. He snaps his fingers and rocks out, presumably to celebrate Billy’s freedom after a court hearing. The song fades when Del arrives and offers to cook Grace dinner.
- “The Eye” by Waxahatchee: (01:02:00): Del discovers the body of Pete Novick (Jim True-Frost). He then hides Billy’s letterman jacket before investigators arrive. The American Rust soundtrack song plays over the end credits; the lyrics align with the “heavy weight” carried by Del.
American Rust Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 2 “Happy Returns”
- “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang (00:36:00): The American Rust soundtrack song plays at Katie and Jimbo’s wedding reception. Billy and Lee dance with various party guests, and then with each other. The moment foreshadows a late-episode hook-up.
- “Straight from the Heart” by Bryan Adams (00:37:00): Connie asks Pete Novick Jr. to dance. Grace visits with Pete Sr.’s wife, Pam (Joanne Tucker). The song fades as Pete Jr. has fun, unaware that his father was murdered the night before.
- “Reunited” by Peaches & Herb (00:39:00): Billy and Lee dance while “reunited.” They give each other compliments while grooving to the slow jam. Billy inquires about Lee’s husband, Alejandro.
- “Come Back” by Charlie Rich (00:41:00): Virgil enjoys himself at the wedding party. He flirts with his wife, Grace. Moments later, Virgil punches a man who gets handsy with his girlfriend.
- “Honey Dove” by Lee Fields and the Expressions (00:42:00): Billy and Lee continue to slow dance. Grace interrupts and gives advice to her son. Billy doesn’t seem worried about pursuing a married woman.
- “Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich (00:45:00): Henry sleeps at the wedding reception. Lee takes away several beer bottles, suggesting that her father had passed out from consuming too much alcohol. Billy offer to help take Henry home as the American Rust soundtrack song continues.
American Rust Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 3 “Forgive Us Our Trespasses”
- “Rave Weapon” by Alex Metric (00:26:00): Bobby Jesus (William Apps) visits a bar. The camera looms from behind. Moments later, the grizzled character pockets money left behind by a mysterious individual.
- “Chewing Gum” by Annie (00:28:00): Grace bowls with her co-worker Bethany (Zenzi Williams) and discusses unionizing. The American Rust soundtrack song plays in the background. A man named Chet (Vincenzo Hinckley) introduces himself.
- “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke (00:34:00): Billy works at Buell Diner. The music picks up as Grace drives home. “You Send Me” fades after Tierney’s character nearly hits a deer.
American Rust Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 4 “My Name Is Billy”
- “All the Best” by John Prine (00:51:00): The American Rust soundtrack song closes out the episode. Del takes a pill after learning that he has 12 hours to bring in Billy. The music scores the end credits.
American Rust Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 5 “Jojo Ameri-GO”
- No Featured Songs
American Rust Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 6 “Debt Collection”
- “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke (00:14:00): The American Rust soundtrack music scores a diner sequence. Del speaks with his former colleague Chuck (Danny Mastrogiorgio) and reflects about his former Shadyside girlfriend, Sarah. The song continues as the characters discuss their target, the diner waiter.
- “Cupid” by Sam Cooke (00:18:00): Chuck leaves a diner. Del takes a deep sigh. The music fades as Isaac parts ways with a client.
- “Downtown’s Lights” by Waxahatchee (00:53:00): Grace’s car burns while she’s inside her home with Del. The song plays during the end credits.
American Rust Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 7 “Blue Mountain”
- “American Dream” by Global (00:31:00): The American Rust soundtrack music scores a party sequence. A local high football player heads to the bathroom with his girlfriend. The song fades as the characters discuss “a surprise,” which turns out to be a fatal dose of fentanyl.
American Rust Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 8 “St. Sebastian”
- “Love Me Through” by Port O’Brien (00:10:00): Isaac wakes up at the home of Nate (Tom Pecinka). He listens as the security guard explains what can be used and taken. The American Rust soundtrack song fades as Isaac agrees not to steal anything.
- “The Beast” by The King of France (00:17:00): Isaac eats alone at Nate’s home. The music plays in the background throughout the scene, with the camera zooming in slightly in correlation with the lyric “They call you the beast.”
- “Range Life” by Pavement (00:19:00): Nate arrives home after work. He is surprised that Isaac hasn’t left. Nate reveals that he was attacked six months prior, and tells Isaac that he is currently in Chadron, Nebraska.
- “Alameda” by Elliott Smith (00:27:00): Isaac looks at himself in a mirror. The character laughs upon realizing that he’s clean. Moments later, Isaac kisses Nate as the American Rust soundtrack song continues.
- “Spanish Pipedream” by John Prine (00:44:00): Del chops vegetables at home. He identifies the location of Bobby Jesus while tracking Jackson’s vehicle. Del sings the lyric “Trying to find Jesus / On Your Own.”
American Rust Soundtrack: Every Song in Season 1, Episode 9 “Denmark”
“You Were Right About Everything” by Erin McKeown (00:53:00): Isaac gives his murder weapon to Del. The sheriff tells him to never show it to anybody. The American Rust soundtrack song plays as the season ends.
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.