O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The term “roots music” has been bandied about so much as to be made meaningless. Basically anyone but Moby, Bjork, and Gus Gus could be lumped into the roots camp. The soundtrack to the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother, Where Art Thou? is the real deal. The film takes place in Depression-era Mississippi, and the music reflects that time. Films like Bonnie And Clyde and Paper Moon have traveled this same road, but haven’t delved as deep into the music of the place as this disc, with nearly twenty songs touching on gospel, bluegrass, Negro spirituals, and lullabies. The artists are mostly modern, with songs from The Soggy Bottom Boys, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Gillian Welch. There are some vintage recordings, as well, including Harry McClintock singing “Big Rock Candy Mountain.” The whole thing was produced by T-Bone Burnett, and is easily one of the most enjoyable records I’ve gotten ahold of in quite some time.