Search - Roseanne Cash, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris :: Songcatcher: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture

Songcatcher: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
Roseanne Cash, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris
Songcatcher: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Soundtracks
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

Maybe they should have subtitled this album O Sister, Where Art Thou? Like the music from the Coen brothers' O Brother... movie, Songcatcher celebrates the emotional purity of mountain music, the acoustic balladry of the A...  more »


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Maybe they should have subtitled this album O Sister, Where Art Thou? Like the music from the Coen brothers' O Brother... movie, Songcatcher celebrates the emotional purity of mountain music, the acoustic balladry of the Appalachians--only this soundtrack features an all-female assemblage. Among the luminaries who shine the brightest: Rosanne Cash, who sets the tone with the album-opening "Fair and Tender Ladies"; Julie Miller, whose original "All My Tears" could pass as an old spiritual; Patty Loveless, who returns to her Kentucky roots with "Sounds of Loneliness"; and Gillian Welch, who leads an a cappella rendition of "Wind and Rain." Of the more familiar material, Emmylou Harris seems like she's coasting through the oft-revived "Barbara Allen" while Maria McKee sounds like she's singing for her life on "Wayfarin' Stranger." Yet the emphasis throughout is less on vocal virtuosity than on the stark simplicity of the songs, the album more impressive as an ensemble piece than a showcase for individual singers. --Don McLeese

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Member CD Reviews

Manfred P. from WINDSOR, NJ
Reviewed on 8/25/2013...
excellent selection of music from an earliet time
Nancy G. (Zelda777) from LOUISVILLE, KY
Reviewed on 2/23/2011...
Agreed, everything on this CD is not the same as the movie soundtrack, but you do have the joy of listening again to Emmy Rossum and Iris Dement. As for the rest of the CD, there are some beautiful, delicate, gentle, yet haunting gems on this CD. To me, 5 out of 5 stars!

CD Reviews

Not what you hear in the film, but excellent nonetheless
Catherine S. Vodrey | East Liverpool, Ohio United States | 08/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's always disappointing--jolting, really--when you buy the soundtrack to something and find that it bears no resemblance to what you loved in the film. The most glaring example I can think of is the "When Harry Met Sally" soundtrack, which in the theatres featured gorgeous standards rendered by people like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong--but on the CD, has Harry Connick, Jr. singing the same tunes. I like Harry Connick, Jr., but he's not the reason I wanted the "Harry Met Sally" soundtrack. Such is the case with "Songcatcher," which had lots of great songs sung by the actors in the movie--Emmy Rossum, Pat Carroll, Iris Dement, and more. What you have on the CD is a grouping of some of the same songs, all performed by greater-known lights of country and bluegrass music--people like Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, and Dolly Parton. I'm not complaining--they do a super job, and they know this kind of music, so their renditions are heartfelt and gorgeous to listen to. It's just not the same as the music in the film, so it's a little disconcerting.Iris Dement's upright rendition of "Pretty Saro," on which her wiry, plaintive voice is accompanied only by a fiddle, is particularly fine and just as she sang it in the film. And newcomer Emmy Rossum's warm and vigorous version of the quietly horrifying "Barbara Allen" is gorgeous, but it is just one verse leading into Emmylou Harris doing the same song. Frankly, I prefer Emmy Rossum's less prettified version and wish they'd kept it instead of having it segue into Harris. Rossum was in her early teens when she recorded this, but she has a vocal maturity that leaves you wanting more.Patty Loveless on "Sounds of Loneliness" is a revelation, giving full throat to her mountain-music voice. She soars effortlessly on the upper range and does full, dark justice to the lower register. It's worth listening to over and over again. Maria McKee's quiet and intense version of "Wayfaring Stranger" almost makes you hold your breath as you listen--it's that compelling. One I'd never heard before, "Mary of the Wild Moor," is performed by Sara Evans, whose pristine voice stands in stark contrast to the frightening tale she describes. Perhaps one of the best things on the album is actress Pat Carroll's witty, humorous take on "Single Girl," in which she details all the things better about being single than married--particularly fitting when you consider that she plays a mountain woman who'd had eight or nine children. There's lots of gold to mine here, once you get past the idea that what you hear here is not at all the same as what you heard in the film."
Songcatcher "Soundtrack" Totally Misses the Point!
K. N. Beers | Yellow Springs, Ohio | 08/29/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Like another of the above reviewers, I left the theater after seeing this stunningly moving film and drove directly to the music store to buy the soundtrack CD. I was hoping that the music featured in the film would be presented as it was in the movie, maybe even with extended versions of some of the shorter selections included (as was done on the O Brother soudtrack). It is an understatement to say that I was extremely let down!
The music on this CD is disappointing on two levels. The theme of the movie is that a professor of folklore and traditional music travels from Britain to Appalachia to search out and record the regional music of the area, much of which was brought over from the British Isles, and which because of the relative isolation of the area has been preserved in a condition closer to its "roots" than the music being "collected" in Britain. The professor begins collecting the tunes in a very academic/scientific manner, and she ends up completely captivated by the stark beauty of the music and the soul of the local people. Over the course of the movie she falls in love with the music for its own sake, rather than for any academic value it might have, and she becomes dedicated to trying to preserve and promote the music in its natural state, and to prevent its exploitation.
The music on this CD (except for a few "token" tracks and snippets) is mostly commercial, Nashville-influenced music, recorded in a manner that in no way reflects the spirit of the movie. I am an amateur old-time musician (I have actually played with several of the musicians featured in the movie at old-time music workshops in North Carolina), and I can tell you that any resemblance between the commercial country music recorded on this CD and the traditional music featured in the movie is in name only. I am afraid that either the artists featured on the CD are too far removed from their traditional-music roots, or that any of the original soul of the music is effectively removed by the commercial recording formula.
This CD also disappoints on a second level, in that if you take it purely as a compilation of traditional tunes by contemporary artists, it is not really very satisfying. (It reminds me of all the obligatory Christmas albums halfheartedly recorded bt just about every pop and country artist over the last 15 years.) I get the feeling that the CD was put together just so that there would be a "soundtrack" album available, mainly for those interested in collecting soudtracks, and that those responsible for the recording felt that the music actually included in the film just wouldn't "sell".
If you are one of the folks who, like me, were totally captivated by the music in this movie and its performance by the actors, you will be sorely disappointed by this CD. Don't buy it!"