It is amazing to hear what John Williams is capable of when given the opportunity to create something different. Rosewood has given him such an opportunity. This is about as atypical a Williams score as you are going to get, of course what is typical about it is that it's very good indeed. Starting with bass guitar and then building to a lovely chromatic horn theme, backed by warm strings. It's not one you're likely to remember after hearing it, but you will remember that it was very good indeed. The tone then moves to a piano interlude backed with short bursts of a guitar figure. Harmonicas join in later to add to the bluegrass feel of the piece. The second track is one of a few original gospel numbers. These range from the solemn and worshipful such as in Look Down Lord to the more upbeat in The Freedom Train. I feel that these break up the music, but in a good way and not especially intrusive. For the darkest elements of the story, Williams combines slurring fiddles, ferocious string chords with guitar backing as well as a couple of bizarre noises to produce a very distinct musical feeling. This is best highlighted in The Hounds of Sumner.
Many of the other orchestral tracks are creepy, although not especially dissonant. The main Rosewood theme as well as the gospel track themes are used to tie everything together very well. There are many warmer tracks that make use of variations of the main theme, sometime played on solo guitar or the original solo horn. I suppose this is a score for Williams fans more than the casual listener. It certainly pays off if you persist and give it a good number of listens before making judgement. I admit that it won't be to everyone's liking, it wasn't mine to start with, but now I enjoy it a great deal. John Williams is a composer who never seems to run out of ideas.