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Review: 'Crazy Heart' Showcases Classic Country

Tuesday, 19 Jan 2010 05:10 PM

Various Artists, "Crazy Heart: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (New West)

In the film "Crazy Heart," actor Jeff Bridges plays a hard-drinking country singer struggling to maintain a career long after he's stopped having hits. The soundtrack leans on the bluer side of country music, ignoring modern country's slick surfaces for a compilation of classic country, acoustic blues, and hard-bitten singer-songwriter fare.

Musical director T Bone Burnett cherry-picks hits by the Delmore Brothers, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Louvin Brothers, Buck Owens and Kitty Wells to ground the soundtrack in time-tested standards. He balances it with more recent tunes by Americana singer-songwriters (Ryan Bingham, Billy Joe Shaver, Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams) and a blues legend (Lightnin' Hopkins). Then he works in original songs from the film, most of them co-written by Burnett and the late Stephen Bruton and sung by Bridges or co-stars Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell.

The actors don't have the distinct vocal character of the established singers, but Burnett gives their songs an earthy resonance befitting the film's honky-tonk ambiance. "Crazy Heart" makes a convincing argument that there are certain country music traditions that remain timeless.

The soundtrack comes in a limited-edition, expanded package with 23 songs or a regular 17-song version.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "Crazy Heart" likely will raise the profile of Ryan Bingham, a whiskey-voiced Americana singer from New Mexico, who appears in the film and whose song "I Don't Know" is a highlight of the soundtrack.

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Various Artists, "Crazy Heart: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (New West)In the film "Crazy Heart," actor Jeff Bridges plays a hard-drinking country singer struggling to maintain a career long after he's stopped having hits. The soundtrack leans on the bluer side of...
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2010-10-19
Tuesday, 19 Jan 2010 05:10 PM
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