O Brother, Where Art Thou? – Soundtrack Album from the Film

The MARK’S VINTAGE VINYL page features something from Mark’s collection of recordings from over the years. Most of it is on vinyl – hence the name – though there will be a few entries from his CDs (remember those?).

O Brother, Where Art Thou? – Soundtrack Album from the Film

  • Soundtrack for the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, released in 2000.
  • The film was set in rural Mississippi during the depression, and the music for the film was inspired by the time period, incorporating country, gospel, bluegrass, blues and folk music. While the music feels and sounds vintage, most of the tracks were written and recorded for the film.
  • T-Bone Burnett was brought into the project to produce the album. Burnett had already released eight albums of his own, an eclectic mix of rock, country and folk music. His work as a producer dated back to the late 60s, working with a diverse group of artists like Delbert McClinton, Elvis Costello, Los Lobos, Roy Orbison, Bruce Cockburn, Spinal Tap, The Wallflowers, and many more. He also had produced the soundtracks to several films, including Great Balls of Fire and The Big Lebowski (another Coen cult classic). Burnett worked with over a dozen artists to compile a soundtrack of 19 tracks, most of which are used in the film.
  • The performers included some of the legends of bluegrass and Americana music, including Alison Krauss, Norman Blake, John Hartford, Ralph Stanley and Gillian Welch. The signature song on the compilation is a traditional folk song published in 1913 titled Man of Constant Sorrow. In the 60s, the song was covered by several artists, including Bob Dylan, Judy Collins and Peter, Paul and Mary. The soundtrack has four versions of the song.
  • The soundtrack won two Grammy awards in 2001, including Album of the Year. Additionally, The Soggy Bottom Boys (Dan Tyminski, Harley Allen and Pat Enright) won a Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for their performance of Man of Constant Sorrow.
  • The soundtrack album reached #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and it was certified 8x platinum.
  • I picked up the CD several years after its release, when the kids were older and I started to reconnect with music again. I was a big John Hartford fan, and when Hartford passed away in 2001, I rekindled my interest in his music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. He played his fiddle on two instrumentals on the album, including an instrumental version of Man of Constant Sorrow. 
  • The music was such an integral part of the film – so much so, that they recorded the music before filming the movie itself. Here’s a scene from the film with George Clooney (actually Dan Tyminski’s vocal) singing Man of Constant Sorrow. Enjoy!

 

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